Morten Schlütter (he, him, his)

Professor Morton Schlutter
Departmental Executive Officer (Chair)
Associate Professor, Chinese Religion and Buddhist Studies
International Programs
PhD, Yale University, 1998
316 Gilmore Hall
Office Hours: 
Mon 11:15am-2:15pm or by Zoom appt:
Curriculum Vitae: 

Dr. Schlütter joined the Department of Religious Studies in 2003.

His research interests center broadly on Chinese Buddhism (especially Chan [Jpn.: Zen] Buddhism) and Chinese religions, and he has worked on a number of different topics and periods, employing a range of methodologies. What unites his work is an overall interest in trying to understand different aspects of Chinese religion in the broader context of their political, social and economic settings. Much of Dr. Schlütter’s work has focused on Buddhism in the Song dynasty (960-1279), and in 2008 he published a book on crucial developments within Chan Buddhism which came to dominate Chinese monastic Buddhism by the tenth century. He is also working on a long-term project concerned with how Buddhist monastic communities in Southern-Song China (1127-1279) interacted with secular elite society, and has written essays on meditation and Buddhism in the modern world.

Currently, Dr. Schlütter is working on a book manuscript on the Platform Sūtra, a key scripture of the Chan school attributed to the so-called Sixth Patriarch, Huineng (638–713). The Platform Sūtra is unique among Chinese Buddhist texts in that several significantly different versions of it are extant, spanning the early formation of Chan in the eighth century to its mature form in the thirteenth century. Dr. Schlütter is using the different versions of the Platform Sūtra as a window through which a number of crucial changes and developments within Chan Buddhism can be observed, providing a new perspective on its evolution.

Research Interests: 
Chinese Religions, Buddhist Studies
Selected Publications: 

(For a complete list, please see Dr. Schlütter's CV.)

  • Readings of the Platform Sūtra. Co-edited with Stephen F. Teiser. Readings of Buddhist Literature series. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.
  • How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China. Monograph of the Kuroda Institute Studies in East Asian Buddhism 22. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008 (Indian edition: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2009; Second printing in paperback, University of Hawai’i Press, 2010)
  • “Buddhism in the Digital World,” in Mario Poceski, ed., Blackwell Companion to East and Inner Asian Buddhism. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • “Transmission and Enlightenment in Chan Buddhism Seen Through the Platform Sūtra.” Chung-hwa Buddhist Journal, No. 21 (2007): 379-410.
  • “Vinaya Monasteries, Public Abbacies, and State Control of Buddhism under the Northern Song (960-1127).” In Going Forth: Visions of Buddhist Vinaya, edited byWilliam Bodiford. Honolulu: Hawai’i University Press, 2005, 136-160.
  • “The Record of Hongzhi and the Recorded Sayings Literature of Song-Dynasty Chan.” In The Zen Canon, edited by Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 181-205.
  •  “‘Before the Empty Eon’ versus ‘A Dog has no Buddha-nature’: Kung-an Use in the Ts'ao-tung Tradition and Ta-hui's Kung-an Introspection Ch’an.” In The Kōan: Texts and Contexts in Zen Buddhism, edited by Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000,168-199.
Courses Taught: 

Dr. Schlütter regularly teaches courses on Buddhism and Chinese Religions. Many are cross-listed with the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures.

  • RELS:1404 / 032:006/039:006 Introduction to Buddhism  Course Video
  • RELS:1404 Living Religions of the East
  • RELS:5200 Varieties of Religion in a Contemporary World
  • 032:005/039:005 Asian Religious Classics
  • 032:010/039:007 Chinese Religions
  • 032:188/039:170 Zen Buddhism
  • 032:237/039:237 Seminar: East Asian Religion
  • 032:202 Asian Religious Traditions
  • 032:208 Asian Religions Colloquium
  • 032:231 Seminar: Religion and Society
  • 032:265 Readings in Asian Religions
Awards, Honors and Grants: 
  • Dean's Scholar, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The University of Iowa, 2008-10.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 2000-01.
  • Society for the Promotion of Buddhist Studies, Tokyo, Japan, 1993-95.