Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies update

The website for the OCBS has recently been revamped.

The site’s Research Section includes a paper (Alexander Wynne, ‘How old is the Suttapitaka?‘, 2003) which seeks to show that the Pali canon is an accurate and “final” (sic) redaction of Buddhism prior to the 1st century CE. There is also an extensive CV of Richard Gombrich, whose work, it is proudly noted (on p.34), has helped Thai scholars to attack the Buddhist Dhammakaya movement.

The centre’s notice on academic posts proposes four lectureships in Buddhism, three dealing with “Pali Buddhist Studies, Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhist Studies, and East Asian Buddhist Studies”. No post is proposed for the study of Indian Buddhism.

Although “the OCBS covers the whole range of Buddhist Studies” (‘Policy‘), the material available at present is limited to Pali studies, and seems intent on advancing the fundamentalist view of the Pali canon as original, Buddha-spoken Buddhism.

(For a succinct verdict on the fruitfulness of this exercise, one need turn only to J. W. de Jong, ‘The Buddha and His Teachings’, in Jonathan Silk ed., Wisdom, Compassion, and the Search for Understanding, University of Hawai`i Press: 2000, p.174–5:

“We will never be able to know the contents of the teachings of the Buddha himself.”)

Tachikawa, ‘The sacred and the profane’

立川武蔵(著者)『聖なるもの俗なるもの、ブッディスト・セオロジー(1)』 講談社 2006. 1,575円 ISBN:4-06-258357-7

(Tachikawa, Musashi. *The sacred and the profane: Buddhist Theology I. Tokyo: Kodansha, 10 March 2006. 203 pp.)

第1章 ブッディスト・セオロジー(仏教の神学)
第2章 宗教行為と時間
第3章 「聖なる」空間と時間
第4章 「聖なるもの」と「俗なるもの」
第5章 宗教における現状認識
第6章 宗教と社会
第7章 葬送儀礼における時間
第8章 死者の文化的意味
第9章 龍樹の救済論
第10章 タントリズムの構造

“Is it possible for religions to have a pluralistic coexistence [多元的共存]?
Announcing Buddhist Theology, a challenging lecture series!

Getting down to business: what is the purpose of religion — Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism? Although the articulation of an afterlife [異なる世界] is a starting point, to be sustainable [伝達可能] beyond that requires the construction of a syncretic belief-system [整合的な知の体系], made possible by conforming to a theological methodology. Enquiring after ‘the Sacred’, a leading academic in Buddhist Studies begins his ambitious lectures!”

[my rough translation of blurb.]

Prof. Tachikawa, incidentally, is one of the first scholars to have seriously studied Newar tantric Buddhism and its art.


It’s here – a place for exploring late Indian Buddhism, as represented in literature, art and living practice. Discussion will be mostly in English, with recourse to Sanskrit, Newari and other languages. Mainly for specialists, but all sentient beings welcome.