“The Transmission of the Characteristicless”
Yu-Sheng Tsou received his M.A. in Sinology from LMU for a study of the esoteric prajñā-text “Prajñāpāramitā-naya Sūtra” (Adhyardhaśatikā). In this research he focuses on the paradoxical situation of the ritual practice of Chinese and Japanese esoteric Buddhism in the context of prajñā thoughts, namely, which side of the distinction produced by ritual does a practitioner observe, either the world in this ritual or the ritual in the world?
Following the observation of this paradox, Tsou’s current PhD dissertation project focuses on the Chinese and Japanese Buddhist sources from the 8th and 11th centuries, observing further the functional isomorphism between ritual and art in the program of esoteric Buddhist ritual; on the one hand, in terms of epistemology: that is, this dissertation treats ritual as the justification for and the method of the knowledge of the characteristicless in the context of prajñā practice; on the other hand, in the sense of Niklas Luhmann’s theory of religion and art: that is, it observes the strategies by which ritual communicates the characteristicless and transmits information about it by the self-formation of ritual itself.