The genesis of this volume lies in several workshops and conferences that took place over the past decade. The first, “Locating Law in Buddhist Societies,” was held in June 2004 by the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy of the University at Buffalo Law School. Organized by Rebecca French and David Engel, the workshop brought together scholars from a range of disciplines whose work focused on different areas of Asia. The attendees included José Cabezón, Leslie Gunawardena, Andrew Huxley, Brian McKnight, Mark A. Nathan, Frank Reynolds, and Winifred Sullivan. In addition to the participants, we would like to extend our gratitude to Lynn Mather, Director of the Baldy Center at the time, who generously supported the workshop, and to the staff who helped make it a success.
At the conclusion of the workshop, plans were made to follow up with a more formal conference organized around some of the themes identified in the discussions that had taken place. The result was an international conference in March 2006 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, organized by Rebecca Redwood French where scholars from around the globe presented papers and engaged in discussions on Buddhism and Law related to several topics: how to think about Buddhist law, modern Buddhist nationalism and law, textualism, theft, and religious institutions and the state. Among those who attended were several scholars who had participated in the previous workshop and many who were new to the project, including Timothy Brook, José Cabezón, Bernard Faure, Leslie Gunawardena, Andrew Huxley, James Ketelaar, Petra Kieffer-Pülz, Justin McDaniel, Ryuji Okudaira, Frank Reynolds, Peter Skilling, Winifred Sullivan, Vesna A. Wallace, and Richard W. Whitecross. Some of the papers in this volume resulted from drafts prepared for the Bellagio conference. We thank all those who participated and the Rockefeller Foundation and the Baldy Center for funding the conference.