Faculty & Staff

The strength of the Buddhist Studies program comes from a combination of diverse and highly qualified faculty, and a very low student-faculty ratio. A combination of Western and Eastern instructors is utilized in order to ensure a continuity of American educational patterns, as well as access to the indigenous philosophies in their genuine form. Western faculty are responsible for the organization and evaluation of coursework, while the Asian teachers present perspectives of the traditions being studied. This variety of intellectual and cultural viewpoints creates a stimulating milieu in which genuine inquiry occurs.
Buddhist Studies in India

Program Director

Dr. Arthur McKeown received a BA magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College.  He received an MA and PhD from Harvard University, where his dissertation was titled, From Bodhgaya to Lhasa to Beijing: The Life and Times of Sariputra (c.1335-1426), Last Abbot of Bodhgaya Dr. McKeown has received a Fulbright Fellowship, Reischauer Center Fellowship, as well as the Harvard Certificate of Distinction in Teaching.  He has research experience in South Asia and Tibet, and has presented papers at meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the International Association of Buddhist Studies.  Dr. McKeown has experience teaching Tibetan Language and Buddhist Studies as an Instructor and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. He served on the faculty with the Buddhist Studies in India program from 2010 to 2014 and was the Assistant Program Director in 2015 before becoming Program Director in Fall 2016.

Consulting Director

C. Robert Pryor earned a BS from the University of Michigan, and an MAT from Antioch University. He studied Anthropology and South Asian religions at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Robert designed the Buddhist Studies in India program, and served as director from 1979 to 2015. He was a consultant for the BBC documentary, In the Footsteps of the Buddha, and collaborated on the book Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra Robert is very active at the Yellow Springs Dharma Center which he helped to found in 1993. His interests include: South Asian cultures, pilgrimage, the history of Indian Buddhism, meditation and Buddhism in the West.  Robert is Consulting Director for Buddhist Studies in India and Distinguished Visiting Professor in Asian Studies at Carleton College. 

Course Instructors

PHIL 318: Buddhist Philosophy
Dr. Stephen Jenkins, Professor of Religion at Humboldt State University, received his doctorate from Harvard in 1999. He has taught for study abroad programs in India, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Japan. His research is focused on Buddhist concepts of compassion, their philosophical grounding, and ethical implications. His recent publications include: “Pure Land Practices in India,” in The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Practice, Edited Paula Arai, forthcoming; “Debate, Magic, and Massacre: The High Stakes and Ethical Dynamics of Battling Slanderers of the Dharma in Indian Narrative and Ethical Theory,” Journal of Religion and Violence, 2016; “Waking into Compassion: the Three Ālambana of Karuṇā,” in Moonpaths, Cowherds, Jenkins etc., New York: Oxford, 2015.

SOAN 322: Contemporary Buddhist Culture
Jing Wang
received an MA in Cultural Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University in 2012. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Case Western Reserve, where she has been awarded the CWRU Eva L. Pancoast Memorial Fellowship, Arts & Sciences Dissertation Fellowship, as well as Wadsworth International Fellowship of the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Jing Wang is broadly interested in understanding globalization and the transformation of contemporary Tibetan society. She recently finished her two-year dissertation fieldwork in Central Tibet where she studied the intersection between matrilocal marriage and aging experience of elderly Tibetans. She focuses especially on how Buddhist ideas in practice shape the local psychological orientations, which in turn shapes both marital choices and aging experiences. Jing Wang has delivered papers at the conferences of the American Anthropological Association and the International Association of Tibetan Studies. 

ASST 319: History of South Asian Buddhism
Dr. Rebecca Grapevine
received a PhD in History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where her dissertation was titled, Family Matters: Citizenship and Religion in India, 1939-72 She received her MA in history from the University of Michigan and her BA, summa cum laude, in History from Washington University where she was Phi Beta Kappa.  She is the recipient of several fellowships including Foreign Languages and Area Studies, American Institute of Indian Studies, and a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship.  Dr. Grapevine has experience teaching as a graduate student at the University of Michigan, and she has lived in India for extended periods.  During the fall semester of 2015 and 2016, she taught with the Carleton-Antioch Buddhist Studies in India Program in Bodh Gaya. 

LCST 101: Tibetan Language
Punya Prasad Parajuli
received a BA in Physics, an MA in Anthropology, and an MA in Nepalese History, Culture and Archeology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.  He has also received an MA in Buddhist Studies from Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, India.  Punya is actively involved in translating Tibetan and Sanskrit texts into Nepali. He has been a Tibetan language instructor at the Center for Nepalese and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University and a Sanskrit language teacher at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling and Shechen Monasteries in Kathmandu.  Punya taught Tibetan language with the Buddhist Studies program in 2006, 2009, and 2011 - 2015.  He has also been a Tibetan language and culture instructor as well as a research guide for Cornell University students studying Buddhist Culture in Nepal.

LCST 101 and 103: Hindi Language
Dr. Gaurav Agarwal
received a BA in Hindi Literature, History and Political Science; an MA, MPhil, and a PhD in Hindi Literature from the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur.  He leads the youth section in the Rajasthan chapter of “Sahitya Parishad” and is a regular participant in poetry seminars.  Dr. Agarwal was a member of the core organizing team for the second World Council of Elders of Ancient Traditions and Culture’s International Summit held in Jaipur.  He is Head of Department and teaches Hindi at Poddar International College, Jaipur; and has also been an instructor in the Hindi Language Programs organized by the American Institute of Indian Studies for American university students in Jaipur.  Dr. Agarwal has taught Hindi language with the Buddhist Studies program since 2010.

RELG 359: Buddhist Meditation Traditions
Seminars for this course are led by Dr. Arthur McKeown, Program Director.  

Meditation Instructors

Vipassana
Ācariya U Hla Myint was born and educated in Myanmar (Burma).  He became a novice monk at the age of ten and a fully ordained bhikkhu at twenty.  He has 22 years of monastic training and a PhD in Buddhist Studies and Pali language. A former assistant meditation instructor at Mahasi Meditation Center in Burma, he remained a close disciple, translator, and teaching assistant of the late Sayadaw U Pandita. He has translated numerous Burmese dhamma books and dhamma discourses and has authored Meditation Lectures, Conditional Relations in Daily Life (from the Abhidhamma) and Pali Language Lessons for English Readers. After his years as a monk, U Hla Myint became a householder, and now has a wife and two children. U Hla Myint divides his time between his home in Pyin Oo Lwin near Mandalay in the Shan Hills, Sayadaw U Pandita's Panditarama Meditation Center near Yangon, and San Jose.

Zen
Ekai Korematsu Osho
was born and raised in Japan, but began his formal Zen practice while a university student in California where he was affiliated with the San Francisco Zen Center.  In 1979 he returned to Japan for formal monastic training at Eiheiji the principal Soto Zen monastery.  Returning to America in 1983 he founded Kojin-an which later became the Oakland Zen Center.  At the request of his teacher Narasaki Roshi he returned to Japan in 1987 to become the director of an International Zen monastery, Shogoji, in Kyushu.  From 1994 to 1996 he was again at Eiheiji, and was also the Practice Director at Zuigakuin Temple in Yamanashi Prefecture.  At present he lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he is the founder and spiritual director of Jikishoan Zen Buddhist Community.  

Vajrayana
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
is the abbot of Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling Monastery and the founder of Rangjung Yeshe Institute, a college for Buddhist Studies in Boudhanath, Nepal.  Born in Tibet and educated at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim under the guidance of H.H. Karmapa XVI, he is the holder of Drikung Kagyu and Nyingma lineages.  Rinpoche is a scholar and master of both Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice.  He has taught meditation and philosophy to many Western students, while also super­vising a large shedra or traditional monastic training center in Nepal.  He regularly teaches in Europe and North America where he has meditation centers in Denmark, Germany, and California.  Rinpoche is the author of several books including The Union of Dzogchen and Mahamudra, Indisputable Truth and Present Fresh Wakefulness.

Staff

Teaching Assistant and Dorm Advisor
Lowell Woodin
received a BA in Philosophy from Williams College. While a student at Williams, he participated in the 2010 Antioch Buddhist Studies program in Bodh Gaya. Lowell has taught English and American culture in Vietnam. More recently, he worked at the Oberoi International School in Mumbai for four years. He taught language and literature to grades 6 and 7 as well as coached the swim and track team. He has continued his meditation practice since 2010 and even brought it into his middle school classrooms. During his spare time, he loves to exercise, either jogging, running or cycling, and he has competed in several long distance running events. 

Vihar Manager
Erica Ruiz Vargas
received her BA in Physics and Mathematics from the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, Mexico, and her MA in Mathematics from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.  She has taught mathematics at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, Mexico as well as shamatha meditation at the Tibetan Buddhist Center: Casa Tibet in Morelia.  Erica is a practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism who helped to organize events and was in charge of the bookstore at Casa Tibet, Morelia.  She was also a participant in the Shamatha Project: a longitudinal study investigating meditative quiescence, loving-kindness, and human flourishing.  Erica now lives in South Asia in order to dedicate her time to the study and practice of Vajrayana Buddhism.