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Dr. CHEN Lang

PhD (Yale)

Assistant Professor

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: (852) 3400 8956

Fax: (852) 2334 3747


Room HJ612, Stanley Ho Building,

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,

Hung Hom, Hong Kong


Biographical Sketch

Dr. Lang CHEN received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University. Her research interests focus on the religious ideas, praxis, and pursuits of urban, educated Chinese from the late imperial period on. She is currently working on two projects. The first and main project, which forms the basis of her book manuscript, examines Buddhism in the late Ming period (16-17 century), especially the lay and clerical networks centering on the leading Tiantai monk Youxi Chuandeng (1554-1628). Trying to uncover the often-neglected history of late-Ming Tiantai Buddhism, Dr. Chen explores whether it represented an urban, middle-class kind of Buddhism, which emphasized inclusiveness, communicability, and accessibility of the Dharma, initiated from within. The second project focuses on the life and religiosity of Shi Tiesheng (1951-2010), a contemporary urban writer with a disability. While Shi’s religiosity shows great continuity with that of the late-Ming literati, he added Christianity, existentialism, and other sources to his spiritual repertoire.


Specialization and Research Interests

  • Chinese Buddhism (especially Tiantai Buddhism in the Late Imperial Period)
  • Chinese Religions
  • Chinese religions and modernity
  • Religion and Literature
  • Religion and Disability


Current Positions

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Chinese Culture, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Administrative Duties

  • Chair of Departmental Teaching and Learning Committee, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Coordinator for “Read and Red: Pillars of PolyU” Lecture Series, Faculty of Humanities, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Positions Held

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (7/2015 – 1/2017)
  • Instructor, Religion Department, Wesleyan University, CT, USA (Spring of 2013)


Academic Qualifications


  • Ph.D. in Religious Studies, Yale University (2015)
  • M.Phil. in Religious Studies, Yale University (2011)
  • M.T.S. Harvard Divinity School (2006)
  • B.A. in Chinese Literature, Peking University (2003)

Language Certificates

  • Sanskrit, American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Pune, India (summer of 2009)
  • Japanese, Middlebury College (summer of 2008)


Major Scholarships/fellowships/Grants

  • 2018-2020, “Mahāyāna Antinomianism in Sixteenth-Seventeenth Century China: From a Tiantai Perspective,” Early Career Scheme Grant from Hong Kong Research Grant Council
  • 2017-2019, Co-leader of “Students as Teaching Partners: Developing Pedagogical Materials and Activities in Chinese Storytelling and Writing with Community Engagement,” Teaching and Learning Grant from University Grants Committee of Hong Kong
  • 2017-2019, “Teaching Religions to Hong Kong College Students,” Scholarship on Teaching and Learning from Department of Chinese Culture, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • 2013-2014, Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation
  • 2012-2013, Dissertation Fellowship, The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies



Accepted Publications

  1. “Mad but not Chan: Tu Long (1543-1605) and Tiantai Buddhism,” Fo Guang Journal of Buddhist Studies, 07/2019 (forthcoming).
  2. Chapter 1 “The Changing Notion of Happiness: A History of Xingfu” in The Chinese Pursuit of Happiness: Meaning and Morality in Everyday Life, edited by Becky Yang Hsu and Richard Madsen, University of California Press (in press).
  3. “The Return of the Buddha: Shi Tiesheng’s Literature and ‘Religion’” 佛陀的归来:史铁生的文学与“宗教”, Contemporary Writers’ Review (当代作家评论), 2018, no.1, pp.67-78.
  4. “The Middle Way of Emptiness: on the Buddha’s Sermon Excusing Ajātaśatru’s Patricide in the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra,” 中道之空:论“涅槃经”中佛陀对弑父罪行的辩解, Buddhist Studies (佛学研究), 2015, no.24, pp. 228-241.

Selected Conference Presentations

  1. “Preaching Through Demons: Tu Long and Tiantai Buddhism,” AAS Annual Meeting in Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, July 2019 (scheduled).
  2. “Youxi Chuandeng (1554-1628)’s Treatise on the Good and Evil Nature and the Chinese Hermeneutics of Buddhist Antinomianism,” Fo Guang University, Taiwan, June 2018.
  3. “Disability, Religion, and Class in Shi Tiesheng's Works: A Post-Socialist Perspective,” AAR Annual Meeting, Boston, November 2017.
  4. “The Return of the Buddha: Shi Tiesheng’s Syncretic Religions,” “Literature and Philosophy” Conference, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, June 2017.
  5. “Unruly Emptiness: A Study on Mahayana Repentance,” The 8th Cross-strait Four Regions and International Conference on the Study of Buddhism, Hong Kong, June 2016.
  6. “An Expanding Repertoire: Transformation of the Term ‘Happiness’ (xingfu) in Modern China,” AAS Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, March 2014.
  7. “Between Tradition and Modernity: Guanzong Monastery's Reconstruction of the Tiantai Orthodoxy 1928-1937,” Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Taiwan, June 2011.

Invited lectures

  1. “An Elixir or Poison? Antinomianism in Mahayana Buddhism and its Reception in China,” Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Taiwan, June 2016.
  2. “The Concept of Xingfu: Its Emergence and Implications,” Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Taiwan, June 2016.
  3. “Happiness in Traditional Chinese Culture and its Modern Transformation,” East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, January 2016.


Research Postgraduates Co-Supervised

  1. An Saiping (Ph.D. candidate, 2017-)
  2. Chan King-Yeung (Ph.D. student, 2017-)


Consultancy and Service to the Profession

  1. Reviewer of manuscripts for Asian Major and Interreligious Relations
  2. Member of the editorial board for the Interreligious Relations, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (to be launched in April 2019).
  3. Network Editor for H-Asia (https://networks.h-net.org/h-asia, 2015-2016)