Current Research Project: Dr.Hiroko Kawanami Awarded Robert H. N. Ho Research Grant

Dr Hiroko Kawanami was recently awarded the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Collaborative Research Grant in Buddhist Studies(2014-16) in conjunction with American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).
Her research project is titled: “Communal Jurisdiction of Non-ordained Female Renunciants in the Southern Buddhist Tradition: Myanmar-Burma, Thailand, and Sri Lanka”.
The Foundation received 132 applications globally in four categories, and through rigorous peer review, 23 applicants/projects were selected. This was their inaugural international competition and two were selected from the UK.!/press/74

Current Research Project: Building Buddhism in England

Dr Emma Tomalin and Caroline Starkey (University of Leeds, Centre for Religion and Public Life) are working on an English Heritage funded research project about Buddhist buildings in contemporary England. These buildings are currently under-researched, yet provide a fascinating lens through which to view the development of Buddhist communities on these shores.

The project runs from September 2013 to September 2014, and we will use both interviews and site visits, alongside an online survey, to gather our data. Our interest is in both the fabric of the buildings and the built landscape of Buddhism in England, and also the significance of the buildings to various communities. The results of our research will be compiled into a report for English Heritage, and also an academic journal article for publication.

We regularly blog about our research at – and here you can find out about each of our research sites, see our photographs, and keep informed about the online survey when it is launched.

You can also contact [email protected] or [email protected] for more information

Current Research Project: The Little Book of Buddhist Humour

John Negru (Karma Yonten Gyatso), publisher of Sumeru Books, and Charles Prebish are collecting a series of anecdotal stories for inclusion in a book that they are editing called “The Little Book of Buddhist Humor.” In difficult times, they feel that the Buddhist world has the opportunity to contribute to and inject some happy, Buddhist-inspired humor into our everyday lives.

As such, they are inviting any of you who have clever, funny, silly, and laughable stories that you have experienced in your personal and/or professional work and practice in Buddhism to submit these short episodes to us for possible inclusion. Charles and John are looking for stories from Buddhist teachers, scholars and sangha members. Maybe something really funny happened to you at a Buddhist center, or something humorous occurred while attending a professional conference, or a personal communication involving Buddhism brought a silly smile to your face. They well collect the best of those stories submitted and publish them in their book.

Please make sure the stories are no more than three pages long, remain in good taste, and represent anecdotes that you are comfortable sharing. They may be submitted to either Charles ([email protected]) or John ([email protected]), and should be submitted by May 14th 2014.

Both Charles and John truly hope to make this a FUN project that will bring smiles to people worldwide, and they would be so grateful for any stories you may provide that will help them achieve our goal.


Current Research Project: The Story of Story in Early South Asia: Character and Genre across Hindu, Buddhist and Jain Narrative Traditions

University of Edinburgh; Cardiff University
AHRC Funded Project, 2013-2015

The Story of Story in Early South Asia: Character and Genre across Hindu, Buddhist and Jain Narrative Traditions

In this research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Dr Naomi Appleton (University of Edinburgh) and Dr James Hegarty (Cardiff University) take up characters, lineages and genres that are shared across Hindu, Buddhist and Jain narrative traditions, and use these shared narrative elements to explore links between these religions in and around the first millennium CE. The research aims to explore the role of story in the shaping of religious ideology in early South Asia, showing how Hindus, Buddhists and Jains used story to present and contest their ideas of self and other, and past, present and future. It will also consider how certain generic characters, such as the king or the sage, suggest points of contact between these religions. The project runs from January 2013 to the end of 2015. More information can be found on their website.

Authorship, Originality and Innovation in Tibetan Scriptural Revelations: a Case Study from the Dudjom Corpus.

University of Oxford, Faculty of Oriental Studies
AHRC funded project, 2010-2014

Authorship, originality and innovation in Tibetan Scriptural Revelations: A case study from the Dudjom Corpus.

This project explores the complex, multilateral processes involved in the initial production and subsequent literary expansion of revealed Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, processes which can extend over several generations.

Typically, each distinct revelatory tradition is associated with a specific charismatic lama, a prophesied and destined being who is considered to recall particular scriptural teachings from a previous existence, when he (or more rarely, she) received it directly, face to face with an enlightened being. Nevertheless such revealed texts often incorporate much already familiar textual material, and can also become enlarged over time, as later scholarly and visionary lamas contribute to them. In some cases, later lamas are recognised as rebirths of the earlier revealer, so that their re-working of the revelation may be seen as a religious duty.

Our research is based on a case study of lamas from the extensive and still vibrant Dudjom revelatory tradition, from which a number of rather different patterns are emerging. Modifications may in some cases represent an attempt to universalise a single specific revelation, combining it with liturgical practices and also other texts which are currently more widely known. Elsewhere, a later addition may derive from a revelation of an earlier generation or period, which is thereby re-introduced into the current tradition.

It is clear that these complex, rules-bound, communal methods of on-going scriptural revelation bear significant resemblance to methods once more widely found in Mahāyāna cultures. We are exploring the range of patterns in evidence, and asking what they indicate about Tibetan understandings of on-going scriptural composition.

For more information please see the project’s website.