Education and work experience
Professor Li Li’an was born in Xi’an Shaanxi Province in April 1961, and earned a doctorate degree at Northwest University in 1990. Currently, he is a trustee of China Society for the Study of Religion, vice chairman of Xi’an Traditional Culture Research Institute, advisor of Shaanxi Province Buddhist Society, chief advisor of Hong Kong Chinese Esoteric Buddhist Society, and chief editor of Chinese Buddhism Culture Year Book (academic series). He is a professor (since 2001), a PhD supervisor (since 2004) and director of Buddhism Research Institute at Northwest University. Also, he has attended academic exchanges in the USA, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Main academic thoughts
Professor Li Li’an is engaged in research and teaching in religions, especially Buddhist history and thoughts. In 1998, he developed a theory of religious methodology and used this theory to study the cultural and the ideological meaning of Chinese Buddhism. According to his theory, religion has internal and external forms, each with three elements. The three elements of the internal form are: the doctrine system, cultivation towards enlightenment/ salvation system, and the mental structure of the followers. The external form consists of the followers, monasteriesand activities. Identification of religiousnary forms is the logical starting point of Professor Li’s research.
In an article he wrote in 2000, Professor Liclarified religious methodology describing the internal form as the narrow sense of religion, while the combination of the internal and external forms represent religion in a broad, modern way. He stated that religion can be defined as a social phenomenon developed from beliefs superior to the physical world. Professor Li pointed out the logical expression of religious forms.
Professor Li interprets and analyzes “Guanyin Belief (Culture)” of Chinese Han Buddhism from its theory, practice and culture. Its internal structure has three dimensions with thefocus on didactic theory, while its external structure has six forms with the emphasis on spiritual practice. In general, the “Guanyin Faith (Culture)” has varieties of forms, which are closely associated with each other.
Professor Li has demonstrated the value religion methodology with his profound research. His study clarifies the Guanyin belief, by following the theme of Prajna paramita in Mahayana Buddhism. He attributes Guanyin ideology to three areas, the causal stage, the stage of realization and the world- saving belief. Prof Li emphasizes that the spiritual culture of religion is always the foundation of the external material form. While illustrating religious form using the logical approach, the spirituality of Buddhism and the practice of the Humanistic Buddhism in daily life are complementary and in harmony with each other. According to him, metaphysical beliefs can provide guidance to followers when they practice, as witnessed in modern China. The core of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism is transformation of the mind featured by not being affected by daily emotions.
For more than 20 years, Professor Li Li’an has been dedicated to researching religion based on history and logic. He has provided direction to the development of religion in China, and has indicated that some aspects of religion could contribute to the development of the Socialist Harmonious Society. For example, religious followers tend to have pious, steady beliefs and act positively. They feel close to the doctrines of the Socialist Harmonious Society and they should be respected and provided with appropriate guidance.
Authored eight articles which were published on Philosophy Research, World Religion Research, and China Philosophical History.
Authored over 130 of articles, totaling 1 million words, which were published on Religion in China, Humanity Magazine, Religion and Philosophy, and Academic Journal of Shandong University.
Authored over 10 books with a total of more than two million words including The Origin and Dissemination of Guanyin Ideology, Research on Ancient Indian Avalokitesvara Beliefs, Views of Bodhisattva, A Preliminary Study of Wisdom Perfection in the Diamond Sutra and Buddha.
Edited Statement of Terma series, among which 25 volumes with about 10 millions words have been published, including: Five Statements about Maitreya, A Brief Overview of the Stages of Path Being Bodhinyana”, Path Leading to the Moon Light (5 volumes), Yogacarabhumi-sastra (4 volumes), General Treatise on New Avatamsaka Sutra (4 volumes), The Mirror of Orthodoxy (4 volumes), and Eight Commentaries of Tiantai School (4 volumes).
1. Biography of Master ZhenDi, Taiwan Fo Kwang Publishing House, April 1997.
2. Biography of Master ShiQin, Taiwan Fo Kwang Foundation for Buddhist Culture & Education Press , May 1998.
3. A Preliminary Study of Wisdom Perfection in the Diamond Sutra, http://www.china84000.com/goto/cn/taiwan/", Taiwan Fo Kwang Foundation for Buddhist Culture & Education Press, April 2001 (1).
4. Loving-kindness, Compassion, sympathetic joy and Equanimity — Views of Bodhisattva, China Religious Culture Publisher, May 2009.
5. Research on Ancient Indian Avalokitesvara Beliefs, Shaanxi People’s Education Press, May 2006
1. Religion Structure and Active Roles in Western China, China Religion, 2010 (5).
2. The Historical Evolution and Debates of Avalokitesvara Name in Chang’an, Record of the First Changan Buddhist International Symposium, Shaanxi Normal University General Publishing House Co., Ltd., August 2010.
3. Core Theoretical Issues Faced by Contemporary Humanistic Buddhism, Current Situation and Future Expectation of Humanistic Buddhism: Record of Cross-strait Academic Symposium, Taiwan Fo Kwang Foundation for Buddhist Culture & Education Press, August 2009.
4. Theory of Tripitaka Master Hsuan-Tsang's Investigation on Ancient Indian Avalokitesvara Efficacy Beliefs, Record of the Third International Academic Seminar of Hsuan-Tsang, Sichuan Publishing Group Lexicographical Publishing House, January 2008.
5. The Origin of Ancient Indian Avalokitesvara Beliefs, Avalokitesvara and Modern Society: Chinese Record of the fifth China International Buddhist Conference, Taiwan Dharma Drum Culture Press, 2007 (4).
6.How and in Which Respects Religion Promotes the Construction of a Harmonious Society, China Religion, 2006 (11).
7. The First Ideology of Ancient Indian Avalokitesvara Beliefs, Studies in World Religions, 2006 (3).
8. Chinese Avalokitesvara Beliefs,Journal of Shandong University, 2006 (4).
9. Buddhist Transcendence and Integration with Human Life,Philosophical Researches, 2005 (7).
10. A Rare Living Fossil of Civilian Religion — Research and Investigation of Civilian Religion in Daxing Mountain, Studies in World Religions, 2003 (3).
11. Analysis on Basic Structure of China Avalokitesvara Culture, Philosophical Researches, 2000 (4).
12. Several Characteristics of Contemporary Religions Adapting to Socialist Society, Studies in World Religions, 2000 (1).
13. Chan’s Development during the Late Ming and Early Qing Dynasty, History of Chinese Philosophy, 1999 (3).
14. Further Discussion about Creation Time of the Diamond Sutra, History Periodicals of Northwestern University (Episode2), and Record for International Academic Seminar between Northwestern University and University of Salzburg in Austria on the Theme of Silk Road, SanQin Publishing House, August 1999.
15. Revision of the Diamond Sutra Translated by Hsuan-Tsang upon Kumarajiva’s, Research collections of Hsuan-Tsang (The 2nd International Academic Symposium on Hsuan-Tsang), Shaanxi Normal University Publishing House, 1999.
16. Ideology of Contemporary Religion in China and its Development,Studies in World Religions, 1998 (3).
17. Composition and Main Features of Avalokitesvara Thoughts, Religion Philosophy January 1997 (Vol. 3, 1)
18. A Brief Analysis on Hsuan-Tsang’s Translation of Diamond Sutra, Research collections of Hsuan-Tsang (The 1st International Academic Symposium on Hsuan-Tsang), Ancient Book of Zhongzhou Publishing House, December 1995.
1st Changan Buddhist International Symposium, August 2010
2nd International Academic Symposium on Hsuan-Tsang, March 1999
International Academic Seminar between Northwestern University and University of Salzburg in Austria on the Theme of Silk Road, August, 1999
1st International Academic Symposium on Hsuan-Tsang, December 1995