Presentations by Dr. Thomas Tam at the Asian American / Asian Research Institute – City University of New York:
Introduction to Nagarjuna’s Middle View of Buddhism
June 6, 2003
Nagarjuna is generally recognized as the founding father of Mahajuna Buddhism. Based on his work “Mulamadhyamika Karika,” the discussion will focus on the original contribution of the Buddha, and Nagarjuna’s elaboration of the middle way, and the relationship between Pratityasmautpada (inter-relatedness of everything) and Sunyata (emptiness).
Reminiscences: A Collection of Movies
December 12, 2003
This collection of reminiscences recalls the innocence of youth, and its exuberant outbursts, from a demonstration against tourist buses in Chinatown to some interesting experimentation of personal cinema.
Chi (5 min. silent) – Contemplation of patterns on a “go” board. Something along the line of “History is a pattern of interpretations, the point is to change it…”
Tourist Buses, Go Home! (11 min. silent) – One of the first youth demonstrations in Chinatown that include demonstrators who have now become “famous”.
Open Your Mouth and Move Your Lips (3 min. silent) – Experimental work on strips of self-portraits from a Times Square photo booth.
Introduction to Yogacara Buddhism: Asanga, Vasubandhu and Hsuan-Tsang
June 4, 2004
Hsuan Tsang, the famous Chinese monk from the Tang dynasty, traveled from China to India to learn Yogacara Buddhism. He crossed deserts, mountains, rivers and spent eighteen years before his triumphant return to his country and began the daunting task of translating the sutras and commentaries that he brought back. One of the most important exposition, “Vijnaptimatratasiddhi-Trimsika”, was written by Vasubandhu who, together with his brother, Asanga, established and developed the teachings of Yogacara Buddhism.