Zhao You was a PhD candidate in Buddhist Studies at Peking University and visited Oxford for the academic year 2013-14 as a recognized student.
Before enrolling in this PhD programme, Zhao You majored in Philosophy and earned her BA from Peking University in 2010. Once interested in phenomenology, towards the end of her undergraduate studies she became more attracted to and convinced by Buddhist philosophy, especially its epistemological perspectives.
Later on, her practical concerns in the religious life that Chinese Buddhists are involved in, and all those tangible forms of religious objects including images that used to or continue to influence the lay communities, brought her to the question of lay Buddhist identity constructed by different types of narratives. Her dissertation will thus focus on Vimalakirti as a traditional ideal personality, interpreted and reinterpreted in the history of Chinese Buddhism.