Universiteit Leiden

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Yu Bai

PhD candidate/external

Y. Bai
+31 71 527 6362

Yu Bai is a PhD candidate funded by the European Research Council under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan A. Silk and Dr. Antonello Palumbo.

More information about Yu Bai

Fields of interest

  • Mahāyāna Buddhism
  • Nestorian Christianity
  • Chinese Buddhism
  • Buddhist Literature
  • Philology
  • History of Medieval China


Brought up in a family where Buddhism and Chinese folk religion coexist, Yu Bai (Ch. 白宇) used to have strong opinions about Buddhism and instead developed an interest in Christian theology. However, during his undergraduate studies, he became fascinated by Buddhism and was determined to study it further.

Yu completed his MA in Heidelberg under the guidance of Prof. Michael Radich and received training in Tibetan Studies in Hamburg with Prof. Dorji Wangchuk. His MA thesis focused on a medieval Jingjiao (
景教, Chinese Nestorian) text and investigated the interaction between a Buddhist translator and a Jingjiao figure in late 8th to early 9th century China.

In his PhD dissertation, Yu intends to probe into the relationship between the emperors and Buddhist texts in the first half of the Tang dynasty, and the interaction between Buddhism and the state in general. He is currently examining and translating a corpus of nine Buddhist prefaces composed in the name of the emperor from the founding of the Tang dynasty (618) until the beginning of the reign of Xuanzong
玄宗 (r. 712-756).

Curriculum vitae

9.2022-present: Visiting Assistant in Research, Yale University, United States

12.2018-present: PhD Candidate, Leiden University, The Netherlands

2017: Visiting Student, Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, Hamburg University, Germany

2016-2018: MA Transcultural Studies (with a focus on Buddhist Studies), passed with distinction (“sehr gut”), Heidelberg University, Germany

2012-2016: BA (Hons.) English Language and Literature, Hong Kong Baptist University, China

PhD candidate/external

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS India en Tibet
  • Bai Y. (2023), On the Jingjiao Text Zhixuan anle jing: Its Date and Use of Imagery, Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies 71(1): . 'Refereed' artikel in tijdschrift
  • No relevant ancillary activities
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