Education and professional experience
Prof. Wang Leiquan was born in Shanghai in 1952. He received his BA (1981) and MA (1984) in Philosophy from Fudan University and has been a faculty member there since 1984. Currently he is a professor and a doctoral advisor in the School of Philosophy.
His past administrative positions include: chairman of the Department of Religious Studies, vice chairman of the Department of Philosophy and director of the Institute of Religious Studies at Fudan University. He is also a member of the council of Chinese Association for the Study of Religions and a past vice president of Shanghai Association for Study of Religions.
Main academic thoughts
Professor Wang’s main research areas are Buddhist philosophy and Principles of Religious Studies. Prof. Wang has also had a longstanding deep concern about the development of Buddhism in China. His sober understanding of the challenges faced by Chinese Buddhism has led him to propose active suggestions to promote the future of Buddhism in China.
In a 1995 article, he analyzed six conflicting attitudes held by the government and the theoretical community towards religion in China at that time:
1) viewing religion as the opiate of masses
2) treating religion as a special ideological zone
3) guiding religion to coordinate with and adapt to the needs of society
4) treating religion as a culture
5) believing religion to be compatible with socialism, and
6) considering religion to be a balancing factor to the secular world.(1995)
Because of this ambiguity in official attitudes, true Buddhists hesitated to declare and practice their faith confidently; and people with real religious needs were skeptical about the monastic community, which in turn had led to rampant abnormal growth of underground religious forces and crooked practices.(1995)
More optimistically, Prof. Wang then pointed out that four factors had set the stage for the rejuvenation of Buddhism in China:
1) secularism had become an irreversible global trend
2) Buddhism has many advantages in the fair competition among religions, both within China and around the world
3) the reform of the Chinese economic system and development of a market economy laid the social foundation for the development of Buddhism, and
4) a scholarly community on Buddhist studies had started to form in China. (1995)
In 1992, Prof. Wang proposed a model of Buddhist education, in which Buddhism exerts its influence in three increasingly expanded spheres: the inner core, the believers; a broad middle sphere, the society; and an external sphere, the culture. These three spheres call for three different standards: religious, political, and academic, and establish three major tasks for the Buddhist community: strengthening self-construction, coordinating relationships with government and society, and enriching academics and culture. (1992, 2009b)
In a series of later articles, he urged that Buddhism respond to the challenges of secularization, adjust its role in the three spheres -- the believers, the society and the culture (1995) -- among which he considered the sphere of the believers, together with the related standard of religion and the task of strengthening self-construction of Buddhism to be of the foremost importance. This priority should never be misplaced, lest the religious identity of Buddhism be weakened and lead to its marginalization.(2006)
In 2001, Prof. Wang examined several challenges faced by existing Buddhist education:
1) the lack of clear understanding of the nature and functions of Buddhism as a religion
2) the lack of strong community spirit, and hence the inability to build a large scale Buddhist education system
3) the limitation of the scope of Buddhist education to the monastic community only, and the lack of societal based Buddhist education. (2001)
He further proposed that a sound and all-around Buddhist education system should center firmly on the religious education at Buddhist colleges, then build a broad and solid social foundation with lay Buddhist organization and education, and be further supported academically by teaching and research on religious studies at secular universities and research institutions. (2006) He advocated that the fundamental goal of Buddhist education is to cultivate virtuous monastics who can pass on the light of Buddhist wisdom, promote the teachings of Buddha and benefit sentient beings, thus building a strong and united Buddhist community. Only with this foundation, could other functions and secondary roles of Buddhism be fulfilled, such as the cultivation of more well-trained Buddhist community leaders, charity organizers, academic researchers and educators.(2001)
* Reference listed at the Selected Journal Articles Section
Selected journal articles
Wang Leiquan. 1985. Looking at Chinese Buddhism’s Today and Tomorrow from Monastic Education. Fudan University Journal of Modern Philosophy (the inaugural issue)
---. 1991.Tribulation across the Centuries -- the Current Status and Future Trend of Contemporary Chinese Buddhism. Nectar, the Journal of Jiuhuashan Buddhist College (the inaugural issue)
---. 1992. A Brief Discussion on Buddhist Education Spheres. Nectar, the Journal of Jiuhuashan Buddhist College 1992:5
---. 1995. Challenges and Opportunities of Buddhism during the Transition into Market Economy.Buddhist Studies
---. 1998. The Concern at the Turn of the Century — Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Building School with Monastic Properties. Buddhist Culture 1998:1
---. 1999. Examining Buddhism in Taiwan with the Third Eye. Buddhist Culture 1999:1
---. 2002. The 21st Century Orientated Chinese Buddhism. Studies of World Religion 2002:2
---. 2001. A Brief Discussion on Stepping Out of the Predicament Faced by Chinese Buddhist Education.The Voice of Dharma 2001:11
---. 2005.4.The Meandering Course of Religious Studies in China after 1949. Contemporary Religious Studies 2005:4
---. 2006. The Purposes, Approaches and Prospects of Buddhist Education-Examples in the Vimalakirti sutra. Buddhist Studies
---. 2009a.The Present, Future and Bottleneck of “Humanistic Buddhism” across the Taiwan Strait. Contemporary Religious Studies 2009:3
---. 2009b. The Socialization and Organization of Buddhism in the New Age.The Voice of Dharma 2009: 12
---. 2013. The Approaches for Chinese Buddhism to Step Out of the Confinement of Monastic Walls and Entering the Mainstream. The Voice of Dharma 2013:1
Authored or Edited Books
Wang Leiquan, ed. Index of Religious Articles in Mainland China. Taiwan: Dongchu Press, 1995.
Wang Leiquan. An Annotation and Modern Chinese Rendering of Maha Zhiguan, the Great Calming and Contemplation by Tiantai Zhiyi. Taiwan: Buddha’s Light Publisher, 1997.
Wang Leiquan, Liu Zhongyu, Ge Zhuang. Chinese Social Sciences in the 20th Century • Religious Studies. Shanghai: Shanghai People’s Publishing House, 2005.
Translation Works (From English to Chinese):
Masao, Abe. Zen and Western Thought. Trans. Wang Leiquan et al. Shanghai:Shanghai Translation Publishing House, 1989. Taiwan: Laurel Book Company Ltd, 1992.
Fromm, Erich, D. T. Suzuki, and Richard De Martino. Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis. Trans. Wang Leiquan and Feng Chuan. Guiyang: Guizhou People's Publishing House, 1989; Taiwan: Yuan-Liou Publisher, 1994.
Bodri, William. Socrates as a Great Zhan Master- Socrates and the Enlightenment Path.Trans. Wang Leiquan et al. Taiwan: Laoku Publisher, 1998.
Welch, Holmes H.The Buddhist Revival in China, Series: Harvard East Asian Series (Book 33).Trans. Wang Leiquan et al. Shanghai: Shanghai Ancient Book Publishing House, 2006.
Selected Conferences Paper Presentations
Wang Leiquan. (1989, December)Climbing out of the Chinese Buddhism’s Low Point. Paper presented at the international conference commemorating the centennial of Taixu’s birth, Hong Kong.
---. (2003, November)The Spirit and Philosophies of Great Eastern and Western Thinkers. Paper presented at the symposium on Dialogue between the Buddha and Jesus, Xi’an.
---. (2010, October)An Analysis of “Affliction is Bodhi (enlightenment)”— Based on the Sixth Patriarch's Platform Sutra. Paper presented at the 1st Chang’an International Buddhist Symposium, Xi’an.
---. (2011, September)The Wisdom of Chan and the Realms of Life. Paper presented at the China-Japan Forum on Chan, Shanghai.
---. (2013, December)The Humanistic Buddhist Thought and the Path for it to Enter Mainstream. Paper presented at the international workshop on the 20th Century and Contemporary Chinese Buddhism, Shanghai.
---. (2014, December)The Special Transmission outside the Scriptures and Proficiency in both the Wordless Insight and the Scriptures. Paper presented at the symposium on Buddhism and Contemporary Chinese Culture