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Korean Buddhist Award Goes to World-Renowned
Professor Lewis R. Lancaster
On May 6, 2014 (Buddhist Era 2558) the Most Venerable Jaseung, president of Jogye Order, presented awards for distinction in Buddhism and directly honored the recipients for their contributions to the religion. The event took place at the Buddha’s birthday celebration ceremony at Jogyesa temple in Seoul. Professor Lewis R. Lancaster was the first non-Korean recipient ever to be awarded this accolade.
Professor Lancaster (born October 27, 1932) is a professor emeritus at the University of California Berkeley. The professor has consistently demonstrated his profound understanding of and connection to Korean Buddhism. He is world-renowned as a scholar and facilitator who has worked towards the computerization of the Tripitaka (Sanskrit word for "three baskets", complete collection of Eighty Thousand Buddhist Sutras, Laws, and Treatises).
He also founded the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative to use computer-based technology to map the spread of Buddhism from the distant past to the present.
As co-chairman of the committee to republish the texts, the professor highlighted relevant historical and cultural elements of the Tripitaka Koreana. He also contributed to helping spread the Tripitaka Koreana to Buddhists around the world by translating the Tripitaka list into Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese and Korean. The professor was even nominated to receive the 11th Manhae Award, one of the highest Buddhist awards in Korea, due to his outstanding accomplishments.
Professor Lancaster has furthermore published articles and texts in English such as “Introduction of Buddhism to Korea,” “Assimilation of Buddhism in Korea,” “Buddhism in Goryeo: A Royal Religion,” “Buddhism in the Early Joseon: Suppression and Transformation,” and “The Korean Buddhist Canon: A Descriptive Catalogue.”
The professor has played an essential role in establishing a relationship between the Korean Religious Committee and the American Religious Association. While serving as director of the Center for Korean studies, he established Buddhist doctoral courses at UC Berkeley, thus rendering a great service to Korean Buddhism.
This year’s Buddhist Award is the 11th since its foundation in 2004. The accolade is awarded to those Buddhists who help Korean Buddhism become more prominent internationally, as well as to those who propagate the Dharma teachings and work towards the development of the religious order.