Matthew Hayes


Department: Asian Languages & Cultures

Keywords: Japan, Buddhist Studies

Matthew Hayes specializes in premodern Japanese Buddhist history and culture. His dissertation, titled “Faith, Devotion, and the Transmission of Religious Knowledge: Ritual Learning and Kōshiki Performance in Early Modern Japan,” destabilizes dominant tendencies to treat lay and clerical liturgical experiences as disconnected. His research shows how these social groups comingled during performances of a ceremonial lecture (kōshiki) within the esoteric Shingon school, and how these performances reinforced religious, institutional, and pedagogical imperatives within this school. He is advancing his dissertation research by further exploring heuristic connections between kōshiki use in Japan and the use of sūtra lecture texts (jiangjing wen) in late-Ming and early-Qing China. In his first book, he intends to clarify the extent to which Japanese Buddhists were part of a broader effort to leverage the heuristic features of lecture-type rituals in early modern East Asia. In addition to his research, Matthew has also worked in library and archives spaces where he has helped to organize the Toganoo Collection for the UCLA East Asian Library and the Buddhist Churches of America Collection for UCLA Special Collections. He is currently an instructor at UCLA and at Occidental College, where he teaches courses on Buddhist history, Zen narrative, and Japanese ritual.