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Suffering from Illness and Fear of Death: Digital Humanities Research on Illness Narratives in Eminent Monk Biographies from Historical Perspective

Basic information
Project identifier AS-ASCDC-108-203
Conducted by Inst. of Chinese Literature and Philosophy
Director
Overview

The project intends to make a breakthrough into past research on illness, which has focused on the reasons, types and medical history according to time periods, by introducing the tree model relations of the illness narrative. It will use the Digital Humanities Research Platform of Academia Sinica and apply the programming language Python, matching the Regular Expression (regex), and performing markup with TEI and MARKUS to analyze the texts, thus creating a tree model to explore the information in the texts. It will then use Maximum Matching Algorithm, MM to compare authority words and lexicographical files. The project will extract the illness related texts in five Buddhist monk biography collections —— Liang Gaoseng zhuan, Xu gaoseng zhuan, Song gaoseng zhuan, Ming gaoseng zhuan and Xu bu gaoseng zhuan with a total of 2752 biographies in order to explain the illness narrative, in which they are faced with illness and death. It also aims to do statistics according to different time periods, categories and network analysis of the illness interaction in analyzing the different reactions, attitudes and methods in the expression of the illness narrative, matching the distribution of the word-frequency co-occurrence of illness, which facilitates further the statistics, the organization, the calculation and the display. This will result in the interpretation of the meaning of illness in the lives of the monks, and the change in time and space in different time periods, to reveal the righteous and humane aspects of Chinese Buddhist illness narratives, manifesting the influence, fusion and transformation of Buddhism.

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