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Buddhist concepts of time and space the focus of public lecture by leading scholar


The concepts of time and space, seen through the lens of Buddhism, will be the focus of a free public lecture delivered by a leading international scholar of Buddhism on Friday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. in Room AA-160 at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC).

Time and Space: A Buddhist Perspective, will be discussed by Professor Yakupitiyage Karunadasa, the 2009 Tung Lin Kok Yuen Chinese Characters  Visiting Professor. According to Karunadasa, “most early Indian philosophical systems recognize the objective reality of both time and space. However, in this regard, Buddhism takes an entirely different position: Time and space are not two absolute realities, but two conceptual constructs with no corresponding objective counterparts. Time is always determined by events. Space is defined as the absence of matter.”

These ideas will be explored further in the lecture. Karunadasa is the first to hold the position of Tung Lin Kok Yuen  Chinese Characters  Visiting Professor at UTSC. He has been on campus for the past six weeks teaching a senior undergraduate religion course on Theraveda Buddhism, one of two major branches of Buddhism with many adherents in Southeast Asia, along with an estimated 100 million followers worldwide.

Karunadasa is visiting from the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka and the University of Hong Kong. He has served as Director of the International Buddhist University in Thailand and as a visiting professor or guest lecturer at universities worldwide. They include: Otani University in Kyoto, Japan, the University of London in the U.K., Penang College of the Buddhist in Malaysia, and the Universities of Colombo and Pali in Sri Lanka. He has worked as Assistant Editor of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Kelaniya and as a member of the Editorial Board of the Sri Lankan Journal of Buddhist Studies, as well as contributing to many publications. He is a recipient of the Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship. He earned his PhD in Indian Philosophy from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

“Our campus community is privileged to have Professor Karunadasa with us,” said Professor William Bowen, Chair of the Humanities Department at the University of Toronto Scarborough. “He is a leading scholar of Buddhism, and we are delighted that he is here to deliver the upcoming public lecture, in addition to sharing his research with our students in a course he has been teaching at UTSC. The Tung Lin Kok Yuen  Chinese Characters  Visiting Professorship is an important part of our response to the growing interest worldwide in Buddhist thought and culture. It also enhances our innovative new program in Global Asia Studies, which places Asia within a dynamic, global context."

The lecture and professorship have been made possible through a gift of $4 million from Tung Lin Kok Yuen  Chinese Characters   Hong Kong, a non-profit organization focused on raising awareness and inspiring public interest in Buddhism. The gift, which was announced in 2006 as the largest gift in campus history, supports visiting professorships, lectures, conferences, films, and other activities related to the study of Buddhism. For more information on TLKY, visit

For questions about the event, please contact Arts & Events Programming at (416 ) 208-4769 or

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