Sorensen, Legitimation and Innovation in Chöd (2013)

Michelle Janet Sorensen. ‘Making the Old New Again and Again: Legitimation and Innovation in the Tibetan Buddhist Chöd Tradition’. PhD diss., Columbia Univ., 2013. [URL / PDF]

(Texts translated: Shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa zab mo gcod kyi man ngag gi gzhung bka’ tshoms chen mo; Shes rab khyi pha rol tu phyin pa’i man ngag yang tshoms zhus lan ma bzhugs pa; Shes rab kyi pha rol tu phyin pa’i man ngag nying tshoms chos kyi rtsa ba.)

Tanaka, ‘Art of Thangka 6’ (2012)

田中公明 『チベット仏敎絵画集成 : タンカの芸術 ハンビッツ文化財団蔵』 第6卷 臨川書店; ハンビッツ文化財団 15,750円

Tanaka, Kimiaki (ed.), Rolf W. Giebel (tr.) Art of Thangka: From the Hahn Kwang-ho Collection. Volume 6. Kyoto/Seoul: Rinsen Book Co. & The Hahn Cultural Foundation, 2012. 266 pp. ISBN-13: 978-4653041245 [ /]

An illustrated Kum nye manuscript (p.238).

Book of the Year: ‘Hardships and Downfall of Buddhism’

Giovanni Verardi (appendices by Federica Barba). Hardships and Downfall of Buddhism in India. Nalanda-Sriwijaya Series 4. Delhi/Singapore: Manohar & Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2011. 523 pp.

Not a very catchy title, but I doubt that something more direct (say, The Hindu Extermination of Buddhism) would have been very appealing to Singapore’s Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, the book’s publisher.

This book is an extraordinary achievement, all the more so for it relying only indirectly, for the most part, on scriptural and epigraphic sources. Verardi’s contribution is based on something at least as useful: first-hand observation of the key sites and remains, clearly articulated in terms of long-term patterns. It is by far one of the most important contributions to the study of Buddhism in India published in a long time — though I don’t agree with everything in it, by any means. (Given the chance, I will expand on that later.) The omission of any discussion of the Theravādins’ catastrophic role, painstakingly explained in Peter Schalk’s 2002 Buddhism among Tamils volumes, has to be regarded as particularly puzzling — at least until one sees Peter Skilling’s name in the acknowledgements. But let me be clear: Verardi, who has pursued his line of inquiry for over three decades, has succeeded in making sense out of a slew of data in a way that is unlikely to be bettered for some time.

Meinert, ‘Buddha in der Jurte’, forthcoming (2011)

Meinert (2011), Buddha in der JurteCarmen Meinert (ed.) with contributions from Andrey Terentyev. Buddha in der Jurte: Buddhistische Kunst aus der Mongolei (Buddha in the Yurt: Buddhist Art from Mongolia). Hirmer Verlag, forthcoming (October 2011). “~750” pp., ~550 Illus. ISBN: 978-3-7774-4231-0.

Official Description
As Buddhist art reached 17th Century Mongolia, it became an established element in the life of believers. These volumes show a representative selection of exquisite objects from a singular private collection and reflect the range of influences from Tibet to the Manchurian Qing dynasty.

[Multi-volume set; to be published in English/Russian and German/Mongolian]

Fiordalis, ‘Miracles in South Asian Buddhist Lit’ (2008)

David V. Fiordalis. Miracles and Superhuman Powers in South Asian Buddhist Literature. PhD diss., University of Michigan, 2008. 232 pp. [HDL / PDF]


Scholars have long been aware of the presence of marvelous events in Buddhist literature. While it is now more fashionable to speak about them, some still hesitate to use the word miracle in reference to Buddhism. Paying attention to how Buddhists defined their own terms, this dissertation argues that the concept of the miracle is appropriate to use in translating specific Buddhist terminology. The present study examines the narrative and scholastic language Buddhists used to denote and classify various types of miracles and superhuman powers. […] Continue reading “Fiordalis, ‘Miracles in South Asian Buddhist Lit’ (2008)”

Dziwenka, ‘Last Light of Indian Buddhism’ (2010)

Ronald James Dziwenka. ‘The Last Light of Indian Buddhism’ — The Monk Zhikong in 14th Century China and Korea. PhD diss., University of Arizona, 2010. 406 pp. UMI Number: 3412160. [Thanks to A. M.]


Zhikong's route from Magadha to Korea (Map 1).
This dissertation investigates the northeast Indian Buddhist Monk, Dhyānabhadra (Zhikong 指空, Jigong 지공, Śūnyadisaya, ca. 1289–1364 C.E.). He began his more than a decade of study in the Nālandā Mahāvihāra education system late in the 13th century, and then at the age of nineteen began a journey to the east and a life that would lead to him being known as “the last light of Indian Buddhism” in East Asia. This study is inspired by two goals. One is to retrace the formation,
dissemination and reception of his thought and soteriological paradigm of practice from his native state of Magadha, then Sri Lanka, and then throughout India, Yuan China and Goryeo Korea. The other is [to] explicate the main elements and concepts of his thought and present them to the academic community.

McKeown, ‘From Bodhgayā to Lhasa to Beijing’ (2010)

Arthur McKeown. From Bodhgayā to Lhasa to Beijing: The Life and Times of Śāriputra (c.1335–1426), Last Abbot of Bodhgayā. PhD diss., Harvard University, 2010. 570 pp.

According to a note kindly sent by Dr. McKeown, whom I first met in Kathmandu a couple of years ago, the dissertation “includes the transcription and translation of all three biographies of Śāriputra, as well as transcription and translation of the three siddha biographies (Virūpakṣa, Goraknātha, Golenātha) he dictated to Jñānaśrī.”