June 14, 2024

Hirshberg Publishes Article, Presents at International Conference

Dan Hirshberg, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies, published an article titled “Maintaining the Path to Nirvana” in the peer-reviewed Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association. The manual but meditative labor of garden maintenance has been a daily practice in Japanese Buddhist monasteries for a millennium. Hirshberg’s article aligns the seemingly mundane practice of garden care with instructions in classical Buddhism’s Four Seals of Existence: impermanence, suffering, selflessness, and nirvana.

In addition to this publication, Hirshberg also presented a paper on the installation of UMW’s new Zen garden at the International Meeting of the North American Japanese Garden Association in Portland, OR. Offered for the Advocacy & Outreach panel and titled “Instructions on Interdependence: Garden Installation on a Public Campus,” it surveyed the bureaucratic, financial, contractual, and practical machinations required for the successful completion of our project. The conference drew its audience from twelve countries and featured scholars, professionals, curators, and artists from Japan, the United States, and Canada especially.