University of Oxford Lecture Series in Buddhist Studies 2022-2023


Lecture Room 1 at 5pm 

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 

Pusey Lane 

Oxford, OX1 2LE 

All Welcome 

All enquiries: [email protected] 

Michaelmas Term 2022 

Monday 7 November 2022 

Ligeia Lugli, The Mangalam Research Centre, Berkeley, California. 

Modelling the Dharma: advances in Buddhist Sanskrit Corpus linguistics and Natural Language Processing 

This talk introduces a new corpus of Buddhist Sanskrit literature that is being developed at the Mangalam Research Centre (Berkeley, California). After presenting the corpus and some of the problems that it poses, the talk will outline the motivations that led to its creation and the methodological avenues that it opens up. It will briefly report on the experimentations with different Word Embedding Models for Buddhist Sanskrit that are currently underway at the Mangalam Research Centre. It then offers some practical examples of how the corpus can be used for Buddhist studies.  

Ligeia Lugli holds a PhD in Study of Religions from SOAS, where she worked on the Mahāyāna discourse on language. Since 2016 she is Head of Lexicography at the Mangalam Research Centre (Berkeley, California), where she directs the Buddhist Translators Workbench, a project aimed at creating digital resources for the study of the Buddhist Sanskrit vocabulary. She is currently also leading a project on Buddhist Sanskrit Natural Language Processing, in collaboration with researchers from the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. At the same time, she is working on the development of a Buddhist Sanskrit corpus, with funding from the Khyentse Foundation, and a programme of education in digital lexicography at the State University of São Paulo, with funding from Brazil’s Ministry of Education. 

Monday 28 November 2022 

Andrew Skilton, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Oxford 

The Prohibition of Anal Surgery in the Vinaya 

This talk unpacks the prohibition on anal surgery in the bhesajjakhanda/bhaiṣajyavastu section of the Vinaya, revealing a detailed familiarity with the dangers of such surgery, the risks of sexual misinterpretation and the importance of focusing in on technical terminology when translating Buddhist texts.  

Andrew Skilton conducts research on Mahāyāna and Vinaya literature in Sanskrit and Pali, which he teaches in the faculty. He is interested in the interpretation of texts. He has held posts in Cardiff, King’s College, London, and the Bodleian Library.