Q: What are you writing your thesis about?
CC: My dissertation considers a female Buddhist deity — Devi Vimalaprabhā (“Pure Radiance,” Ch. Jingguang, Jpn. Jōkō) — in the context of Mahāyāna Buddhism in medieval East Asia. More precisely, it intends to trace the provenance of the cult centered on this divinity back to Central Asia and follow its later development in China and Japan, with a particular focus on the intermediary role that Tang (618-907 CE) China played within this transmission.
Q: Why did you choose your area of focus?
CC: My interests and coursework lie in the philosophies and religions of East Asia — more precisely, the “Three Teachings” (Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism). Tracing the cult of Vimalaprabhā in Khotan, China, and Japan, this project will particularly deepen my understanding of Buddhist history in the Central and East Asian regions. Careerwise, I seek to embark on graduate studies on Esoteric Buddhism after graduating from NYU. As this investigation involves ritual practices centered on apotropaic spells and magical exorcism -- core elements of esoteric Buddhist traditions in medieval Asia -- it lays a foundation for my future research. Thus, I hope this project can mark an important step towards pursuing this path.
Q: What was your favorite part about NYU East Asian Studies?
CC: The Japanese Language Table, and all the Japanese-language courses I have taken in the past three years!