Albert Welter
(520) 621-5480
Learning Services Building 104
Office Hours
Spring 2024: Mondays, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm; Thursdays, 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Welter, Albert
Professor of East Asian Studies

Albert Welter’s research focuses on the study of Chinese Buddhism, particularly on the transition from the late Tang (9th century) to the Song dynasty (10th-13th centuries), and he has published in the area of Japanese Buddhism as well. Professor Welter also encompasses a broader interest in Chinese administrative policies toward Buddhism, including Chinese notions of secularism and their impact on religious beliefs and practices. His work also covers Buddhist interactions with Neo-Confucianism and literati culture. His is currently involved in the Hangzhou Region Buddhist Culture Project, supported by the Khyentse Foundation, in conjunction with Zhejiang University, the Hangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, and the Hangzhou Buddhist Academy. His monograph, A Tale of Two Stūpas: Histories of Hangzhou relic veneration through two of its most enduring monuments, is currently in press (Oxford). Another volume, The Future of China’s Past: Reflections on the Meaning of China’s Rise is under review. He has also received funding from the American Council of Learned Societies (with the support of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation) for an international conference, Creating the World of Chan/ Sŏn /Zen: Chinese Chan Buddhism and its Spread throughout East Asia.” Before coming to the University of Arizona, Dr. Welter was based in Canada, where his research projects were regularly supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Significant & Recent publications include:

A Tale of Two Stūpas: Histories of Hangzhou relic veneration through two of its most enduring monuments (Oxford, 2022). 

The Future of China’s Past: Reflections on the Meaning of China’s Rise (SUNY 2023).

Approaches to Chan, Sŏn, and Zen Studies: Chinese Chan Buddhism and It’s Spread throughout East Asia. Co-edited with Steven Heine and Jin Y. Park. (SUNY 2022).

The Role of Hangzhou in the Spread of East Asian Buddhism. Guest Editor, Special Issue of the International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture, Volume 32, Number 1 (2022).

“Zen Master as Construction Entrepreneur and Preserver of Dharma: Eisai’s experience of Song Dynasty Chan in the Hangzhou Region.” In Jean-Noël Robert, Ishii Seijun, and Chao Zhang, eds. Song-Dynasty Chan: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on an East Asian Buddhist Tradition. Paris: Editions Collège de France, Bibliothèque de l'Institut des hautes études japonaises.

“Literati Chan at the Song Dynasty Court: The Role of Yang Yi in the Creation Chan Identity.” Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies. 

“Marking Buddhist Sacred Space: The Aśoka Stūpa Cult in Wuyue and at the Court of Song Emperor Taizong.” In Jiang Wu, ed.,The Formation of Regional Religious Systems (RRS) in Greater China. Leiden: Brill.

“Confucian Secularism in Theoretical and Historical Perspective,” in Leerom Medovoi and Elizabeth Bentley, Eds., Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging (Duke, 2021. 69-84. 

The “Resurrection” of Yongming Yanshou in Ming Dynasty China: The Yongming Stūpa at Jingci Monastery.” International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture Vol. 30, No. 1 (2020): 13-38.

The Role of Legalism and Militarism in the Making of Modern China,” The Cross Cultural Thinkers (跨文化思想家)No. 2 (June, 2020): 96-110.

“Yulu Formation in Chinese Chan: The Records of Qingyuan Xingsi and Nanyue Huairang.” Journal of Chan Buddhism 1 (Brill, 2019): 77-145.

The Administration of Buddhism in China: A Study and Translation of Zanning and his Topical Compendium of the Buddhist Order in China (Cambria, 2018); The Administration of Buddhism in China;

Religion, Culture and the Public Sphere in China and Japan, co-edited with Jeffrey Newmark (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

“Confucian Monks and Buddhist Junzi: Zanning’s Da Song sent shilüe and the politics of Buddhist accommodation at the Song court.” In Thomas Jülch, Ed., The Middle Kingdom and the Dharma Wheel: Aspects of the Relationships between the Buddhist Saṃgha and the State in Chinese History. Leiden: Brill, 2016: 222-277.

Yongming Yanshou’s Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu (Oxford, 2011).

The Linji lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy (Oxford, 2008).

Monks, Rulers, and Literati: The Political Ascendancy of Chan Buddhism (Oxford, 2006).



Currently Teaching

CHN 383 – The Future of China's Past: Finding the Way in Chinese Philosophy and its Modern Influences

What is a good life? How does one make ethical choices? How do we create a just society? Two thousand years ago, amidst warfare and chaos, Chinese philosophers debated over the "Dao": the right Way to approach these critical questions. Contemporary China, officially Communist, has revived these traditional teachings as mark of China's unique identity in the modern world. Does China have perspectives to offer fresh insights on the human condition and its remedies?

CHN 483 – Confucianism: The Classical Period

CHN 583 – Confucianism: The Classical Period