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Media Advisory

"Buddhism and the Media"

02 February 2005

ATTENTION: Writers covering religion, culture, television and movie

Contact: By Janet Gilmore, Media Relations
(510) 642-5685 jangilmore@berkeley.edu

"Speaking for the Buddha? Buddhism and the Media," a conference at the University of California, Berkeley, that will bring together filmmakers, writers, prominent scholars, journalists and professionals from the television, movie and publishing industries to discuss the media's role in the contemporary views of Buddhism.

Panelists will explore how what it means to be Buddhist in America today is determined not only by learned monastics but also by publishers, film producers, marketers and entertainers. Panels will address "Print Media," Motion Pictures, "Authority and Transmission," and the ways in which "Buddhism Sells." Participants will discuss how scriptures are transformed into best-sellers, monks into media icons, and disciples into consumers.

The conference is organized by UC Berkeley's Institute of East Asian Studies and the campus's newly established Center for Buddhist Studies.

Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 8 and 9, 1:30 to 6 p.m.

Barrows Hall, Lipman Room, 7th floor

Among the two dozen panelists will be Donald Lopez, a University of Michigan professor whose recent books include "Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West" (1998), "The Story of Buddhism" (2002), and "Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism" (2005); Orville Schell, dean of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and author of "Virtual Tibet: Searching for Shangri-La from the Himalayas to Hollywood" (2001); John L. Solomon, head of Disney Television Animation's Shorts Program; and Georges Dreyfus, the first Westerner to obtain the title of Geshe Lharampa, the highest degree conferred within the traditional Tibetan monastic system. He wrote "The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk" (2003).