MemberScott Mitchell

Scott Mitchell is the Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs and holds the Yoshitaka Tamai Professorial Chair at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, CA, and co-host of the DharmaRealm podcast. He teaches and writes about Buddhism in the West, Buddhist modernism, Pure Land Buddhism, and Buddhism and media.

MemberErik Hammerstrom

I teach about religion in China and East Asia, with a focus on Buddhism. In my research I specialize in the intellectual and institutional history of Chinese Buddhism during the modern period. I have studied Buddhist responses to elements of modernity, such as the discourses surrounding both religion and modern science; and I am currently writing a “biography” of Huáyán 華嚴 school of Chinese Buddhism in the early twentieth century. As an extension of my work on Chinese Buddhism, I helped establish the Database of Modern Chinese Buddhism.

MemberMatthew McMullen

Currently, I am a post-doc research fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, Japan, where I assist with editing for the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies. I also serve as a network editor for H-Buddhism and an associate editor for the Digital Dictionary of Buddhism. I completed a PhD in Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley in 2016 and have spent time at Columbia University, Waseda University, University of Virginia, Taisho University, and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. My research primarily focuses on Japanese esoteric Buddhism, but my interests extend to Buddhist thought and practice in general.

MemberMartino Dibeltulo Concu

Martino Dibeltulo Concu is a historian of Buddhism who holds a Ph.D. in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies from the University of Michigan. His area of expertise is the history and historiography of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist relations. His current projects include a study of the modern incorporation of China into the global flow of European ideas about the Buddha and a monograph on how the study of Buddhist Tantra has influenced Enlightenment legacies and global thought during the modern age.

MemberBryan Lowe

I specialize in East Asian religions with a focus on Buddhism in ancient Japan (seventh through ninth centuries). In the most general terms, my research challenges elite-centered narratives that have dominated scholarship on Japanese Buddhism and religious studies more broadly. In contrast, I study Buddhism as it was lived and practiced by individuals and communities from diverse backgrounds. My research and teaching are interdisciplinary; I engage scholarship in history, art history, literature, political science, and book history to explore issues related to ritual studies, material culture, and religion and the state. My award-winning first book, Ritualized Writing: Buddhist Practice and Scriptural Cultures in Ancient Japan, examines the ritual practice of transcribing Buddhist scriptures (sutras). It questions the standard historical narratives of Japanese Buddhism, which have focused exclusively on the ways the state regulated and utilized religion for ideological purposes in the eighth century. Instead, I highlight the activities of individuals from a range of social classes and geographic regions in Japan to show that Buddhist practice was not limited to the throne and fulfilled a variety of social, political, and spiritual roles beyond ideological justification of imperial rule. The book introduces and translates a large number of previously unstudied archival sources in manuscript form, including scriptorium documents and colophons. It argues for a practice-based approach to ritual and reassesses scripture as a category constructed in part through ritual practices. My second book asks how Buddhism spread in ancient Japan. It offers one answer through a case study of provincial preaching. It highlights two features: mobility and the message. I argue that the construction of roads not only allowed preachers to travel to the provinces far earlier than previously thought but also that mass mobility created new ritual demands that Buddhism could meet. I pay close attention to the ways that preachers mobilized their messages by crafting doctrines in response to the needs of their village audiences and employing lively homiletic strategies to make their points. In addition to these book projects, I have published in English and Japanese on a variety of other topics including the  nature and structure of East Asian Buddhist canons, nineteenth- and twentieth- century debates over the state’s position relative to religion, sutras produced in China, and the religious practices of scribes and patrons. I teach undergraduate and graduate students in courses on Japanese religions, mythology, Zen, Buddhism and literature, and theory and method. I completed my undergraduate studies at Middlebury College in Vermont with a double major in Japanese and Religion. After graduating, I spent two years in Japan as a Coordinator for International Relations on the JET program in Nagano prefecture. I did my graduate work at Princeton University and was a research fellow at Otani University in Kyoto from 2010-2011. I have also had extended stays in other parts of Japan including Yokohama, Nagoya, and Himeji. I have received generous support for my research from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright IIE, ACLS/Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, Japan Foundation, Vanderbilt University Research Scholars Grant, the International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies (Tokyo), and others. My first book was awarded the John Whitney Hall Prize from he Association of Asian Studies. My 2012 dissertation won the  Stanley Weinstein Prize awarded to the best Ph.D. dissertation on East Asian Buddhism written in North America during the two previous years. I also edit an online  Guide to Shōsōin Research, where I blog about the Shōsōin. Interviews about my first book can be found in the Authorial Intentions podcast by Chris Benda and on the New Books Network with Luke Thompson.

MemberMatthew Hayes

I am a current Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA and specialize in Buddhist Studies. Broadly, my research focuses on early modern Japanese Buddhist ritual practice, the transmission of doctrinal knowledge, editorial practices, print culture, and issues of audience, performativity, and learning. Narrowly, my current project explores Kakuban’s (1095–1143) Shari kuyō shiki and its early modern liturgical, pedagogical, and editorial outgrowths at the Shingon temple Chishakuin of Kyoto. I am also copy-editor at the Journal of Global Buddhism and Indexer (Japanese) for Index Buddhicus, an online scholarly index forthcoming from Brill. I regularly teach introductory courses on Buddhism at UCLA.