European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies – St Ottilien Conference 2015

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Conference St. Ottilien 2015

Buddhist-Christian Relations in Asia


11th Conference of the European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies

25th-29th June 2015 in  the Achabbey of St. Ottilien, near Munich, Germany.


Please find travel instructions and registration form at the bottom of this page.


Letter of welcome from the President

Call for Papers




Thursday, 25th June

Evening Buddhist-Christian Encounter in Asia (John D’Arcy May)

Friday, 26th June

Morning (1) Buddhist-Christian Relations in Sri Lanka

Historical Overview, Context, Challenges (Elizabeth Harris)

A Christian Perspective (Duleep de Chickera)

A Buddhist Perspective (Asanga Tilakaratne)


Afternoon (2) Buddhist-Christian Relations in Myanmar

Historical Overview, Context, Challenges (Samuel Ngun Ling)

A Christian Perspective (Saw Hlaing Bwa)

A Buddhist Perspective (Hla Myint)

Evening Workshops/Open Presentations. Parallel Sessions (I)

Saturday, 27th June

Morning (3) Buddhist-Christian Relations in Thailand

Historical Overview, Context, Challenges (Suwanna Satha-Anand)

A Christian Perspective (Bantoon Boon Itt)

A Buddhist Perspective (Vira Somboon)


Afternoon Cultural Tour

Sunday, 28th June

Morning (4) Buddhist-Christian Relations in Japan

Historical Overview, Context, Challenges (Martin Repp)

A Christian Perspective (Maria di Giorgi)

A Buddhist Perspective (Yasutomo Nishi)


Afternoon (5) Buddhist-Christian Relations in Korea

Historical Overview, Context, Challenges (Donald Baker)

A Christian Perspective (Kim Sung Hae)

A Buddhist Perspective (Jinwol Sunim)

Evening Workshops/Open Presentations. Parallel Sessions (II)

Monday, 29th June

Morning (6) Buddhist-Christian Relations in China

Historical Overview, Context, Challenges (Yuen-tai So)

A Christian Perspective (Pan Chiu Lai)

A Buddhist Perspective (Xue Yu)

Concluding Plenary



List of Speakers

(list of speakers is a work-in-progress)


John D’Arcy May

Prof Dr John D’Arcy May, born in Melbourne, Australia, has now returned to live there. He has honorary affiliations with the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, where he was Associate Professor of Interfaith Dialogue (1987-2007) and Director (1987-1990 and 2005; he is now Fellow emeritus of Trinity College); the University of Divinity, Melbourne; Australian Catholic University, Melbourne; and Monash University, Melbourne. He is a past president of ENBCS.

 Elizabeth Harris

Prof Dr Elizabeth Harris, President of ENBCS, is an Associate Professor in the Comparative Study of Religion within the Department of Theology, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University in England.

Prior to working at Liverpool Hope, she was the Executive Secretary for Inter Faith Relations for the Methodist Church in Britain, whilst also teaching within the Graduate Institute of Theology and Religion of the University of Birmingham and, as a Visiting Lecturer, at the University of Lund. Previous to this, she was a Research Fellow at Westminster College, Oxford. She spent over seven years in Sri Lanka studying Buddhism and completed her Doctorate in Buddhist Studies there in 1993. For two years during this period, she was Research Assistant to Dr Aloysius Pieris s.j. She has published in a wide number of areas but has a particular interest in Theravāda Buddhism, Buddhist-Christian encounter and Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Her publications include: Buddhism for a Violent World: A Christian Reflection (London: Epworth, 2010); Theravāda Buddhism and the British Encounter: Religious, missionary and colonial experience in nineteenth century Sri Lanka, (London & New York: Routledge, 2006); What Buddhists Believe  (Oxford: Oneworld, 1998); Ananda Metteyya: The First British Emissary of Buddhism (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1998); Violence and Disruption in Society: A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1994)


Duleep de Chickera



Asanga Tilakaratne

Prof Dr Asanga Tilakaratne graduated from Peradeniya University, Sri Lanka, specializing in Buddhist Philosophy. He has a Masters degree in Western philosophy and a PhD in comparative philosophy from University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has published more than one hundred papers, both in Sinhala and English, and has authored or edited several books on Buddhist philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of religion, practical ethics, contemporary social and political issues, Buddhist epistemology and logic, and inter-religious understanding. Currently he is Professor of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.


Samuel Ngun Ling

Saw Hlaing Bwa


Hla Myint

Prof Dr Hla Myint BE (Civil Eng.), MA (Buddha Dhamma), PhD (BDh)
is a Professor in the Faculty of Paṭipatti at the International Theravāda Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon, Myanmar. Between 1976 and 1998 he attended and contributed to several training programmes and workshops abroad on technical and vocational education, including in Singapore, Philippines and RO Korea. He has also attended the Second Buddhist-Christian Colloquium in India, and international Buddhist conferences in Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia and Thailand.


Suwanna Satha-Anand

Prof Suwanna Satha-Anand teaches philosophy at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Her teaching and research interests cover the fields of Buddhist Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Confucian Ethics and Religion and contemporary issues.

Her major publications are Key Terms in Thai Thoughts (1992, 1994, 1999); Faith and Reason: A Philosophical Dialogue on Religion (2002, 2007); (Editor and contributor), New Essays in Eastern Philosophy (2004); (Editor) Truths in the Humanities (2006); (Editor and contributor) Emotions and Ethics (2011); The Analects of Confucius (The first philosophical translation into Thai, 2008, 2011); Emotion and the Good Life in Confucius’s Philosophy (2014). She is currently working on Thai Buddhism, a part of The Theravada Civilizations Project.

She served as President of the Philosophy and Religion Society of Thailand (2007-2009), and currently serves as Director of the Humanities Research Forum Program, Thailand Research Fund. She is also the Associate Director of the Buddhist Studies Center, Chulalongkorn University. In August 2013, at the 23rd World Congress of Philosophy in Athens, she was the first woman philosopher from Thailand to be selected a member of the steering committee of the Federation of International Philosophical Societies.

Bantoon Boon Itt


Revd Dr Bantoon Boon-Itt is the Senior Pastor of 4th Church Suebsampantawong, Bangkok, Thailand. His PhD was ‘A Study of the Dialogue between Christianity and Theravāda Buddhism in Thailand as represented by Buddhist and Christian Writings from Thailand in the period 1950–2000′ (2007, United Kingdom: St John’s College, Nottingham, validated by The Open University). He is also a part-time lecturer at: Bangkok Institute of Theology, Christian University; Bangkok Bible College and Seminary; and McGilvary College of Divinity, Payap University, Thailand.


Vira Somboon


Martin Repp

Prof Dr Martin Repp is assigned by the Church of Hesse and Nassau (Germany) as representative for dialogue with Asian religions and he is a lecturer for religious studies at Heidelberg University. He had studied theology and philosophy of religion at the universities of Marburg, Münster and Jerusalem. In his doctoral thesis he treated Paul Tillich’s concept of God (Marburg University 1984) and in his post-doctoral treatise (Habilitation) he investigated the Japanese Buddhist monk Hōnen’s work and structures of religious reforms in comparison with Luther’s reformation (Heidelberg University 2001). Between 1988 and 2009 he worked full-time, and later volunteered, at the NCC Center for the Study of Japanese Religions in Kyoto as Associate Director, Editor of its journal Japanese Religions, and Coordinator of the Interreligious Studies in Japan Program (ISJP). In 2004-2009 he taught as Professor for Comparative Religious Studies at Ryukoku University (Kyoto). His research focuses on Japanese Buddhism, Japanese new religions, structures of religious innovation processes, and intra- and inter-religious communications.

His writings and editing include: Die Transzendierung des Theismus in der Religionsphilosophie Paul Tillichs (1986); Aum Shinrikyō – Ein Kapitel krimineller Religionsgeschichte (1997); Das religiöse Denken Hōnens – Eine Untersuchung zu Strukturen religiöser Erneuerung (2005); Mondō to ronsō no bukkyō. Shūkyō-teki komyunikēshon no shatei (Didactic conversations and disputations in Buddhism – Investigating the scope of religious communications. Ed., together with Yoshiyuki Inoue; 2011); Mutō Kazuo, Christianity and the Notion of Nothingness – Contributions to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue from the Kyoto School (Ed., transl. by Jan van Bragt; 2012).


Maria di Giorgi

Dr Maria Di Giorgi Maria was born in Italy. She graduated in Cultural Anthropology from the Milano Catholic University following field-research in D.R. of Congo. She joined the Xaverian Missionary Sisters in 1976. Her Doctorate in Theology is from the Gregorian University in Rome. She is stationed in Japan since 1985 and is currently Vice-Director of Shinmeizan Interreligious Dialogue Center (Kumamoto). Also, she is Consultor to the Committee on Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Japan and Lecturer at the Gregorian University.

Yasutomo Nishi

Dr Yasutomo Nishi is a researcher at the Chuo Academic Research Institute of Rissho Kosei-kai, Tokyo, Japan.
He holds a Doctorate of Buddhism and specializes in  the study of Early Mahāyāna Buddhism, especially the Saddharmapuṇḍarīika, The Lotus Sutra.
He currently works on a series of publications titled ‘Philosophica Asiatica’ in collaboration with The Pali Text Society, Bristol, UK, and the Forum of Research Institutes Associated with Religious Organizations.
His publications include ‘Interpretation of “Ten Suchness” and its Transition’ (2007); Index to Saddharmapuṇḍarīika Pada index and Reverse Pada Index (2013).




Donald Baker

Prof Dr Don Baker is professor of Korean civilization in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He earned his doctorate in Korean history at the University of Washington in 1983 and has been teaching at UBC since 1987. Among his publications are Korean Spirituality (University of Hawaii Press, 2008), a survey of the diversity of Korea’s religious culture. In 2013 he was asked to be chair of the International Advisory Committee for the English Translation of the Annals of the Chosǒn Dynasty.


Kim Sung Hae

President of Hansei University, in Gunpo, South Korea


Jinwol Sunim

Ven. Jinwol Young Ho Lee, a Korean Buddhist monk and Seon (Zen) Master, is the Chair of the Department of Buddhist Studies at Dongguk University in Gyeongju, Korea. Born in Korea in 1950, he started the monastic life in 1968. He graduated from Hain Sangha College in 1974. He completed an MA in Religion at University of Hawaii in 1990, and a PhD in Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1998. He has been working as the Secretary General of URI Asia (United Religions Initiative) since 2010. He was elected as a Vice-President of World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) in 2012. His many publications in English include: Ch’oŭi Ŭisun: A Liberal Sŏn Master and an Engaged Artist in Late Chosŏn Korea.


Yuen-tai So

Dr So Yuen-Tai holds a PhD and an MPhil from the Department of Religion, Chinese University of Hong Kong. He also holds an MCS from the Alliance Bible Seminary, Hong Kong, and an MPhil and BSc from the Department of Computer Science, Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is currently a Lecturer at the Bible Seminary of Hong Kong, and Honorary Research Associate of the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Additionally, he is Consultant Pastor, CNEC Chai Wan Church, Hong Kong.

 Pan Chiu Lai

Prof Dr LAI Pan-chiu is professor in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He authored Mahayana Christian Theology (in Chinese, 2011), and a number of books as well as articles in the areas of inter-religious dialogue and Christian theology, especially Chinese Christian theology.


Xue Yu



By Car:

Find your route/directions with google maps.


By Plane:

The nearest airport is Munich (MUC).

You can use the S-Bahn (S1 or S8) from Munich Airport (Flughafen) to the main station or Hauptbahnhof of Munich city.

Change train to S-Bahn (S4) for Geltendorf.

A conference shuttle service will be in place to bring you from Geltendorf to the monastery of St. Ottilien.


By Train:

From the main station or Hauptbahnhof of Munich (as above), take the S-Bahn (S4) for Geltendorf. From Geltendorf a conference shuttle service will bring you to the monastery of St. Ottilien.

In addition, there is a small train-station in St. Ottilien itself.

Find your way and book your ticket for train-travel here.



Rates include conference fee and catering and hosting:

EUR 370 regular

EUR 270 reduced (students)

Registration includes:

  • conference fee
  • hosting
  • food (also vegitarian/vegan options etc.)
  • cultural tour on June 27th afternoon.


Please make sure to apply for your visa in time.

Please note: We cannot send invitation letters for visa application.

After registration and payment you will

  • receive a letter/email of confirmation
  • please use this letter/email for visa-application
  • receive further information and updates on the conference shortly before the event.

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