Public Lectures

Identity at the Beginning and End of Life

Mark L. Blum (Professor, University of California, Berkeley)

Medical and genetic research is producing technologies that offer the hope unlike anything we have seen before, but it is also producing a new ethical debate about traditional questions and new questions that have not arisen before. What can Buddhism contribute to this debate? Is there a Buddhist way of thinking about bioethical issues such as suicide, abortion, brain-death, euthanasia, genetic engineering, end-of-life decisions, etc.?

  • Date: Saturday, October 7, 2017
  • Time: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
  • Lecturer: Dr. Mark L. Blum (Professor, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Place: Higashi Honganji Los Angeles Betsuin
  • Address: 505 East Third Street, Los Angeles, California 90013 [Google Maps]
  • Fee: None
  • Contact: 213-621-4064 (Phone/Fax) or

[Lecturer’s Biography]

Mark L. Blum is professor of Buddhist Studies and Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair in Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and is on the editorial boards of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and The Eastern Buddhist. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he received his PhD in Buddhist Studies at U.C. Berkeley in 1990. His research focuses primarily on medieval Japanese Buddhism but has published on all periods of Buddhism in Japan from its initial transmission in the 6th century to the modern period. He also works on topics common to East Asian Buddhism as a whole, including a history of nenbutsu called Think Buddha, Say Buddha: A History of Nianfo/Nenbutsu (Oxford U. Press), and two translations of influential texts from the Chinese canon, the Nirvāṇa Sūtra (vol. 1 of which won the 2015 Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Translation Work) and the Guanjing shu of Shandao. In addition, he works on themes in Buddhist modernization, having co-edited Cultivating Spirituality: A Seishinshugi Anthology (SUNY) and is currently co-editing both Adding Flesh to Bones: Kiyozawa Manshi’s Seishinshugi in Modern Japanese Buddhist Thought (Hawai’i) and the Selected Works of D.T. Suzuki: Buddhist Studies (California). He is also leading a joint research project on Edo period, modern, and postmodern interpretations of the Tannishō and translating the Japanese-language works of Hōnen (Wago tōroku).