Jeffrey Liu (劉瑋) is originally from Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He is a PhD candidate in Chinese Buddhism at the University of Arizona. He received his B.A. in International Business from Yuan Ze University, and his M.A. in Buddhist Studies from Fo Guang University (Thesis: "A Study of Hanshan Deqing's Fahua Tongyi"). He is also getting a PGIST certificate (Geographic Information System Technology) at the University of Arizona. Jeffrey is now a junior fellow for the Center for Buddhist Studies.
His dissertation project, titled "Mapping Buddhist Temples in Ming Dynasty Hangzhou: A Regional Study of the Buddhist Monastic Gazetteer Wulin Fanzhi," concerns Buddhism in Ming dynasty (1368-1644) Hangzhou 杭州 from a regional approach by examining all Hangzhou Buddhist temples collectively. Specifically, to investigate how Buddhism interacted with its contemporary society by looking into how Buddhist temples are documented in gazetteers (fangzhi 方志, i.e., a textual record of a region). Relying on exploring the genre of Buddhist monastic gazetteers (sizhi 寺志), this research demonstrates that the Wulin Fanzhi enhances our understanding of Hangzhou Buddhism and society in three ways: 1) historiographically, analyzing the reception of the WF in its contemporary readership can provide important historiographical insights into how Buddhist temples were viewed and understood in Hangzhou during the Ming dynasty; 2) socially, examining the perception of Buddhist temples by society can shed light on the social roles and functions that these institutions played in the local community; and 3) politically, exploring how the political landscapes in Hangzhou changed from the Southern Song to the Ming dynasty can help us understand how the spatial distribution of Buddhist temples was influenced by political factors. In addition to traditional methodologies in the humanities, this dissertation applies methods in the digital humanities to study the Wulin Fanzhi, a text of such diverse and rich content that it is inevitable to miss or omit information if read in a traditional way. Therefore, by building and analyzing the WF as a database and perform data analysis or GIS mapping, scholars can make the most of this text—without risking possible negligence of detail in Hangzhou Buddhist studies.
Liu, Jeffrey, and Ziling Wan. 2022. "The Making of a Sacred Landscape: Visualizing Hangzhou Buddhist Culture via Geoparsing a Local Gazetteer the Xianchun Lin’an zhi 咸淳臨安志" Religions 13, no. 8: 711. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13080711