Buddhist Studies

Specialization Coordinator:  M. David Eckel

The specialization in Buddhist Studies is intended to train students for innovative research in Religious Studies and for teaching in a variety of subject areas in religion and the liberal arts. Linguistic competence in at least one of the classical languages of Buddhist study (Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Chinese, or Japanese) is essential, but it should be understood as one part of a larger process of intellectual engagement with Buddhism and the study of religion. Students work with the guidance of David Eckel (Indian Buddhism), April Hughes (Chinese Buddhism), and other faculty in Religious Studies and related fields.

We stress historical, textual, and ethnographic skills, theoretical understanding of the study of religion, sensitivity to the relationship of Buddhism with other cultural and philosophical traditions in Asia, and an awareness of Buddhist visual and material culture. Students of Buddhist Studies will also benefit from resources available in Boston University’s Center for the Study of Asia, the Pardee School of Global Studies, the departments of Anthropology, World Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, History of Art & Architecture and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.

Ideally, students who enter this specialization will have a Masters degree or the equivalent in a relevant field and at least two years of study in a classical Buddhist language related to the student’s intended area of research.

Religion Department Faculty:

  • David Eckel (Buddhist philosophy in India and Tibet, its narrative and ethical traditions, philosophical theory and religious practice)
  • April Hughes (medieval Chinese religion)

Affiliated Faculty:  Wiebke Denecke (Department of World Languages and Literatures), Eugenio Menegon (Department of History), and Robert Weller (Department of Anthropology)