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The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies Extends Pioneering Global Network of Scholars and Institutions

By Press Office
Buddhistdoor Global | 2016-05-31 |
Rupert Gethin, professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. From tais.ac.jpRupert Gethin, professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. From tais.ac.jp

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation announced on 30 May the selection of 27 scholars and institutions for grants under The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies, an innovative worldwide award scheme.

Grantees are competitively chosen and come from leading universities and institutions around the globe. Their studies cover diverse areas of Buddhist enquiry and academic fields. Scholars selected to join the program’s third cohort are based at Ghent (Belgium), Hamburg (Germany), Munich (Germany), Leiden (Netherlands), Oxford (UK), Harvard (US), Berkeley (US), Princeton (US), and the Swiss National Foundation for Scientific Research, among others. Two institutions will also receive grants in the new category of seed funding to establish professorships in Buddhist Studies.

Such academic and geographical diversity is in line with the program’s mission to foster a significant interdisciplinary global network of researchers and educators. The aim of the network is to expand understanding of and deepen insights into Buddhism in contemporary scholarship and society.

Launched in 2014 and offered annually, the program was conceived by the foundation and is administered by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). It is open to scholars and institutions all over the world. Grantees for 2015–16 were selected from 186 worldwide applications through rigorous peer reviews organized by ACLS. Five categories of awards were supported:

- The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

- The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

- The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

- The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Collaborative Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

- The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation New Professorships in Buddhist Studies


“Our Foundation believes that Buddhism has an important part to play in addressing today’s challenges,” said foundation chairman Mr. Robert Y. C. Ho. “We are delighted to support Buddhist teaching and scholarship, in collaboration with ACLS, and highly encouraged by the broad range of excellent applicants for the program. Now in its third year, the grant scheme is making real progress towards realising my family’s vision of developing a global, non-sectarian Buddhist learning network.”

ACLS president Dr. Pauline Yu commented: “The third year of awards has seen an expansion in the range of topics, geographies of research, and home countries of award recipients. We also note with pride the development of a truly international network of foundation-supported fellows. The network was visible in 2015, when the foundation sponsored a three-day symposium for dissertation fellows at the University of British Columbia. The cross-fertilisation of ideas at the meeting benefited both fellows and senior scholars who attended.”

To continue to strengthen networking among fellows, ACLS is organizing The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies Dissertation Fellows’ Symposium at Stanford University from 7–9 September 2016. This second symposium is centered on an intensive workshop to discuss fellows’ works in progress, together with roundtables and open discussions led by senior scholars on current trends in Buddhist Studies. Participants will include 2015 dissertation fellows of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies and academic advisers to the program, along with scholars from the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford University.

List of 2015–16 Grantees

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

- Kyle Peter Bond
(Religion, Princeton University) Asceticism, Visions, and Dreams in Early Medieval Japan

- Charles George Carstens (Religion [Buddhism], Harvard University) Mapping Power: Ordering the Cosmos through the Coronation Ceremonies of Konbaung Burma

- Catherine Dalton (Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley) Excavating the Roots of Buddhist Tantra: Buddhajñanapada's Vision of a Tantric Buddhist World

- Justin W. Henry (History of Religions, University of Chicago) Distant Shores of Dharma: Religious Historiography in Sri Lanka from the Fourteenth Century

- Alexander O. Hsu (History of Religions, University of Chicago) Practices of Scriptural Economy: Compiling and Copying a 7th C Chinese Buddhist Anthology

- Jeffrey Theodore Kotyk (Asian Studies, Leiden University) Buddhist Astrology and Star Worship in the Tang Dynasty

- Kwi Jeong Lee (Religious Studies, Princeton University) Remaking the Image: Discourses of Buddhist Icon Worship in Medieval China (ca. 300-850 CE)

- William Aidan McGrath (Religious Studies, University of Virginia) The Buddhist Narration of Medicine: The Drangti Corpus in Tibetan Medical and Religious History

- Dagmar Schwerk (Tibetan Studies, University of Hamburg) A Timely Message from the Cave: The Mahamudra Doctrine in the Intellectual Agenda of the Sixty-Ninth rJe mKhan-po dGe-’dun-rin-chen (1926-1997)

- David Kerman Tomlinson (Philosophy of Religions, University of Chicago) A Buddhist Critique of Intentionality: Enlightenment and the Nature of Consciousness in Late Indian Buddhist Philosophy

- Sangseraima Ujeed (Oriental Studies: Tibetan Buddhism, University of Oxford) Mapping the Lineages of Tibetan Buddhism: A Study of the "Thob yig gsal ba'i me long" (The Clear Mirror of the Records of Teachings Received) of the Monk Scholar Za-ya Pandita Blo-bzang 'phrin-las (1642-1715)

- Trent Thomas Walker (Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley) Buddhism Unfolded: Sung Leporello Liturgies from Middle to Modern Cambodia

- Sophia Van Zyle Warshall (South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley) Translating the Buddha: Indonesian Reliquaries and the Vimala Usnisa Dharani


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

- Jens Wilhelm Borgland
(independent scholar, Buddhist Studies) A First Edition, Translation and Study of the Sanskrit Text of the Naihsargika Section of Gunaprabha's Vinayasutravrttyabhidhanasvavyakhyana – His Auto-commentary on the Vinayasutra

- Vincent Breugem (independent scholar, Japanese Buddhism) Darumashu: Japan's Forgotten Zen School

- Claire R. Maes (lecturer, Indian Languages and Cultures, Ghent University) Dialogues With(in) the Pali Vinaya. A Research into the Dynamics and Dialectics of the Pali Vinaya’s Ascetic Other, with a Special Focus on the Jain Ascetic Other


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

- Benjamin Brose
(assistant professor, Chinese Buddhism, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) Embodying Xuanzang: A Medieval Monk in the Modern Imagination

- Erik W. Davis (associate professor, Religious Studies, Macalester College) Past Lives, Present Tense: Past-Life Memories in Contemporary Cambodian Society       

- Rupert Gethin (professor, Buddhist Studies, University of Bristol) Mapping the Buddha's Mind: A Study of Buddhist Systematic Thought in the Abhidharma of the Theravada, Sarvastivada, and Yogacara Schools

- Jowita Kramer (senior fellow, Indology, University of Munich) Sthiramati as a Commentator of Mahayana Sutras: A Comparative Investigation of the Aksayamatinirdesatika and the Kasyapaparivartatika

- Lei Kuan Rongdao Lai (assistant professor, Religion, University of Southern California) Transnational Lineage Networks in Modern Chinese Buddhism

- Samuel René Thévoz (fellow, French Literature, Swiss National Foundation for Scientific Research) The Modern Lives of the Buddha. Theater and Global Buddhism

- Stuart H. Young (assistant professor, Religious Studies, Bucknell University) The Fabric of Monasticism: Buddhism and Silk Culture in Premodern China


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Collaborative Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

- Jared R.
Lindahl (visiting assistant professor, Humanities [Research], Brown University), Daniel Stuart (assistant professor, South Asian Literatures and Cultures, Buddhist Studies, University of South Carolina), and Willoughby Britton (assistant professor, Clinical Neuroscience, Brown University) Liberating the Impurities from the Body: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Somatic Experiences among American and Indian Meditators in the Goenka Vipassana Tradition

- Richard P. Taupier (affiliated scholar, Central Asian History and Literature, University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Sukhbaatar Nadmid (professor, Western Mongolian history and historiography, Mongolian University of Education) Zaya Pandita and Buddhism among the Western Oirat Mongols


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation New Professorships in Buddhist Studies

Two awards were made in this new category for seed funding for new professorial appointments in Buddhist Studies. Criteria for selection include an institutional commitment to establish a tenure-track position (or the equivalent in systems without tenure) and innovative curricular design to introduce Buddhist Studies into new disciplinary contexts.

- Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York is planning a professorship to augment its existing interdisciplinary Asian Studies program and to anchor the newly created Religious Studies Department. The position will respond to the growing interest in Buddhist Studies among undergraduates at Skidmore College, enabling them to pursue MA and PhD degrees in the field.

- The Department of Philosophy at the University of New Mexico is seeking to strengthen its concentration in Asian philosophy with the appointment of a professor of Buddhism. The university plans to introduce the study of Buddhism into a new disciplinary context, training graduate students in Buddhist philosophy.

Applications for 2016–17 will open in July. Further information is available at www.acls.org/programs/buddhist-studies/


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation

Established in Hong Kong in 2005, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that seeks to foster and support Chinese arts and culture, and to promote a deeper understanding of Buddhist teachings and their application in everyday life. In pursuit of that mission, the foundation engages in strategic, long-term projects in Hong Kong and around the world to support efforts that make traditional Chinese arts accessible and relevant to contemporary audiences. It also supports the creation of new works that bring innovative perspectives to the history of Chinese art and improve the quality and accessibility of scholarship on Chinese art. Guided by a belief that the insights of Buddhism have a vital role to play in approaching the challenges facing contemporary society, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation has committed resources to expanding the understanding, interpretation, and application of Buddhism.

The foundation’s Buddhist art and studies programs include the Buddhist Ministry Initiative at Harvard Divinity School; a center and an endowed professorship in Buddhist Studies at Stanford University; a Buddhist Studies program at the University of Toronto; an endowed chair and program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society at the University of British Columbia; the Centre for Buddhist Art and Conservation at The Courtauld Institute of Art; the Galleries of Buddhist Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum; and exhibitions of Chinese and Buddhist art around the world.

To learn more about The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation and its activities, visit www.rhfamilyfoundation.org.


The American Council of Learned Societies

The American Council of Learned Societies is a federation of 74 scholarly societies devoted to the promotion of the humanities and related social sciences. In 2015–16, ACLS is on track to award approximately US$18.1 million in fellowships and grants.

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