"Blunders, Wonders, and Dreams: Feasting the Buddhist Divine in Medieval China"
Commensality holds a pivotal role in many religions, including Buddhism. It delineates the contours of monasticism and demarcates the distinctions between monastic and lay communities. The vinayas regulate food-sharing practices with rules and legal precedents and offer a glimpse into the religious landscape in early India. As Chinese Buddhism began to take shape from the second century onward, there was a pressing need to reframe and adapt Buddhist commensality to fit the Chinese religious contexts. This reshaping is evident in the different forms of zhai observed in medieval China.
YI (ALLAN) DING is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at DePaul University, Chicago. His research interests include Buddhist rituals, Chan Buddhism, and Sino-Tibetan Buddhism. He currently works on a book manuscript that focuses on various forms of Buddhist feasts and observances in medieval China.