This post was contributed by Matthew Hayes, Librarian for Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies in the International and Area Studies Department of Duke University Libraries.
Duke University Libraries is pleased to announce the receipt of a large-scale gift from Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies Paul Groner. Dr. Groner received his PhD from Yale University, where he trained under Stanley Weinstein, and spent the majority of his career teaching at the University of Virginia. His research has largely focused on the Japanese Tendai school of Buddhism, which rose to prominence during the 10th century and encourages combinatory practice based on the Lotus Sutra, one of the preeminent scriptures in East Asian Buddhism. Dr. Groner has written prolifically even beyond this focus and has also conducted significant studies on disciplinary precepts and ordination, the status of nuns in medieval Japan, and later Buddhist educational systems in Japan. Dr. Groner’s donation to Duke Libraries reflects not only his rigor exercised across a career of scholarship, but also his ongoing support of the future of scholarship in Buddhist Studies and East Asian Studies.
Part I of Dr. Groner’s donation was physically received in March 2022 and consisted of nearly 1,200 English volumes, 600 Japanese volumes, and more than 100 Chinese volumes. Among the contents of this donation are biographical works focused on the lives and works of major figures across the Tendai, Zen, and Shingon schools of Japanese Buddhism, especially during the early medieval period. There are commentarial and expository works focused on concepts important to the study of East Asian Buddhism, such as emptiness, non-self, the nature of the mind, and disciplinary ethics. Likewise, while regional coverage of Dr. Groner’s donation is generally confined to East Asia, there are dozens of works related to religion in South and Southeast Asia. Part II of this donation will arrive in two years, once Dr. Groner has completed the last of his projects. This second portion will be similar in scale, though will contain far more Japanese volumes than in Part I and will focus more acutely on early medieval Japanese Tendai Buddhism.
Taken together, both portions of this donation fill a significant chronological and sectarian gap in Duke’s current holdings and will help to elevate Duke Libraries as a major repository of East Asian Buddhist materials in the American Southeast. On behalf of Duke University Libraries, we look forward to future scholars benefitting from Dr. Groner’s generous bibliographic support of East Asian Buddhist Studies, and the study of East Asian religion more generally, for decades to come.