The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

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The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Christopherxx » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:52 pm

Hi there,

I am looking for the big figures in the academic Mahayana scholarship.

For example in Theravada we have writers like Ajahn Thanissaro, Ven. Bodhi, Ven. Analayo.

There are also the meditational masters that talk from very scriptural aspects like Mahasi, Pa Auk, Goenka, Ayya Khema, Ajahn Brahm, Bhante henepola gunaratana, U pandita.

And then we have the dharma talks usually from lay individuals or monks but very orthodox and incredible like Gil Fronsdal, Ajahn Amaro, etc.

There seems to be nothing on that level at the Mahayana side? This is not meant as an attack I just wish I knew some high level writing and indepth study with Mahayana sutras, Zen meditation and koan work, etc. So please if someone knows I would love to hear. Moderators I am looking at you ;)
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Greg » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:06 am

Paul Harrison of Stamford University does a lot of work with early Mahāyāna sūtras and śāstras. David Seyfort Ruegg, Ernst Steinkellner, Jan Nattier, Lewis Lancaster, Jonathan Silk, Mark Siderits, Eli Franco, John Keenan, Jeffrey Hopkins, Karl Brunnholzl, Johannes Bronkhorst, Richard Hayes, Georges Dreyfus, John Dunne, Tom Tillemans, Dan Lusthaus, William Waldron, Lambert Schmithausen, Florin Deleanu, Paul Griffiths, David Loy, Jan Westerhoff, Jay Garfield, Joseph Walser, Graham Priest, Sonam Thakchoe, Matthew Kapstein, Kurtis Schaeffer, Jose Cabezon, Sarah McClintock, David Lopez. There are more scholars just in the Tibetan Buddhist world than you could list, really.
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:09 pm

a few more to add: Paul L. Swanson, Peter Hershock, Paul Groner



David Loy's an interesting writer, but perhaps not an academic in the conventional sense.
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Greg » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:59 pm

Jikan wrote:
David Loy's an interesting writer, but perhaps not an academic in the conventional sense.


No? He has a PhD in philosophy and has held several professorships. Not as prestigious as the rest though, perhaps -- I don't know anything about Bunkyo University.
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Christopherxx » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:05 pm

Awesome replies :)

I hate to be greedy haha but are there any big places to check into dharma talks at that level.

It seems most dharma talks are on the Theravada side like Dhammaseed and Audio Dharma out of IMC.

I have listened to some SFZC dharma talks which I enjoyed. But just was wondering if there was a big vault somewhere and who are some people I should listen to (Kinda like Gil Fronsal type guys that are super knowledgeable on both the theory and practice) :)
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:40 pm

I suggest seeking out audio teachings by realized masters. Highly recommended:

http://www.kunzang.org/resources-free-audio-btr.html


City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has an audio archive that will be useful to you. So does the Kwan Um School of Zen. You can find those with a little google-fu.
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Christopherxx » Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:16 am

Jikan: Thanks a bundle :)

Are there any masters/teachers you would recommend to listen to apart from what you listed?
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby rory » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:11 am

Here's Dan Lusthaus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXHC9N5Z1oI

Also Living Yogacara: An Introduction to Consciousness-Only Buddhism by Tagawa Shun'ei and A. Charles Muller (Jun 9, 2009)
Shun'ei Tagawa is the head of the Japanese Hosso sect and abbot of Kofukuji in Nara, Charles Muller is a professor in Japan.

Also Ryuichi Abe (ordained in Shingon, but don't think he's a practicing priest), Robert Sharf (ordained in Hosso), Jaqueline Stone - princeton prof and Nichiren practitioner.
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Greg » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:03 pm

Here is Paul Harrison talking about the Diamond Sutra.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0j_fAi9RFU
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby devadatta » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:15 am

Greg wrote:Paul Harrison of Stamford University does a lot of work with early Mahāyāna sūtras and śāstras. David Seyfort Ruegg, Ernst Steinkellner, Jan Nattier, Lewis Lancaster, Jonathan Silk, Mark Siderits, Eli Franco, John Keenan, Jeffrey Hopkins, Karl Brunnholzl, Johannes Bronkhorst, Richard Hayes, Georges Dreyfus, John Dunne, Tom Tillemans, Dan Lusthaus, William Waldron, Lambert Schmithausen, Florin Deleanu, Paul Griffiths, David Loy, Jan Westerhoff, Jay Garfield, Joseph Walser, Graham Priest, Sonam Thakchoe, Matthew Kapstein, Kurtis Schaeffer, Jose Cabezon, Sarah McClintock, David Lopez. There are more scholars just in the Tibetan Buddhist world than you could list, really.

And then there's the Japanese ...
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Greg » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:59 pm

devadatta wrote:
Greg wrote:Paul Harrison of Stamford University does a lot of work with early Mahāyāna sūtras and śāstras. David Seyfort Ruegg, Ernst Steinkellner, Jan Nattier, Lewis Lancaster, Jonathan Silk, Mark Siderits, Eli Franco, John Keenan, Jeffrey Hopkins, Karl Brunnholzl, Johannes Bronkhorst, Richard Hayes, Georges Dreyfus, John Dunne, Tom Tillemans, Dan Lusthaus, William Waldron, Lambert Schmithausen, Florin Deleanu, Paul Griffiths, David Loy, Jan Westerhoff, Jay Garfield, Joseph Walser, Graham Priest, Sonam Thakchoe, Matthew Kapstein, Kurtis Schaeffer, Jose Cabezon, Sarah McClintock, David Lopez. There are more scholars just in the Tibetan Buddhist world than you could list, really.

And then there's the Japanese ...


Certainly. I wish they were more accessible to non-Japanese readers. . .
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby kirtu » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:27 pm

Robert Thurman and Cyrus Sterns as well, both Tibetan Buddhism (Sterns essentially focuses on the Sakya tradition). There is also a professor who translates for HH Dagchen Rinpoche whose name I can't recall at the moment.

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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:17 pm

Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Professor at the University of Vienna, certainly deserves to be mentioned here:

http://www.amazon.com/Direct-Path-Buddha-Within-Ratnagotravibhaga/dp/0861715284/
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby PorkChop » Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:08 pm

Maybe not all Zen (but at least a few were), but at the very least they academics with background in Mahayana and available literature on the topic:

  • Alfred Bloom - Ph.D. from Harvard, Professor Emeritus at the University of Hawaii.
  • Mark Blum - Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Professor and Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair in Japanese Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UCal Berkeley.
  • Hisao Inagaki - Ph.D. from University of London, Professor Emeritus, Ryukoku University.
  • Jeff Wilson - Ph.D. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Associate Professor, Religious Studies and East Asian Studies, University of Waterloo.
  • Taitetsu Unno - Ph.D. from Tokyo University, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Smith College (retired 1998).
  • Glenn T Webb - Ph.D. University of Chicago, former director of the Institute for the Study of Asian Cultures (ISAC) at Pepperdine University, though retired still currently a professor with Bukkyo University.
  • William R. LaFleur - Ph.D. from University of Chicago Divinity School, E. Dale Saunders Professor in Japanese Studies Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania (deceased).
  • DT Suzuki - probably just easier to read his biography
  • Hiroyuki Itsuki - bestselling, award winning, Japanese author
  • Scott Mitchell - Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Studies of Religion/Buddhist Studies, Graduate Theological Union. Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Institute of Buddhist Studies. Editorial Board, Pacific World.
  • Takamaro Shigaraki - former president of Ryukoku University
  • Kenryo Kanamatsu - A Fulbright scholar at Cornell University and the University of Chicago, he received his doctorate and became a Professor at Otani University. (deceased)
  • Robert F Rhodes - Dean of the Faculty of Letters, Otani University.
  • Georgios Halkias - DPhil in Oriental Studies (Tibetan and Himalayan Studies) in 2006 at the University of Oxford, Visiting Associate Researcher at Oxford University
  • Masahiro Shimoda - Professor in Indian philosophy and Buddhist studies at the University of Tokyo.

Probably a lot more I could list, I left out those without an academic bent, but that should be a pretty good start. Those that are deceased still have a large amount of literature available on Mahayana Buddhism. A few of the others have entertaining youtube clips to watch and at least one has an awesome podcast.
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby saraswati » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:26 pm

The Berzin Archives are great. Alexander Berzin is quite a scholar, and the website has huge amount of information on Mahayana, as well as Vajrayana. A lot of material in Russian too.

www.berzinarchives.com
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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby White Lotus » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:52 am

Edward Conze; brilliant translations of almost all the Prajnaparamita sutras.

Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, was professor Buddhism of Otani University and of great renown in almost every Japanese temple.

both now gone beyond, however their works are many and remain a true inspiration. Real classics.

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Re: The Big Figures of Academic Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Hieros Gamos » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:10 pm

Greg wrote:
Jikan wrote:
David Loy's an interesting writer, but perhaps not an academic in the conventional sense.


No? He has a PhD in philosophy and has held several professorships. Not as prestigious as the rest though, perhaps -- I don't know anything about Bunkyo University.

His "Nonduality" book was a fantastic apologetics of Mahayana against Advaita.
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