Jonathan Alan Silk

1960 –
Buddhist studies

Curriculum vitae

1960born in Los Angeles, California
1983 BA East Asian studies, Oberlin College, Ohio
1984-1986 FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) fellowships in Japanese (2)
1986-1988 FLAS fellowships in Sanskrit (3)
1988 MA Buddhist studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1989–1990Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
1991–1992Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai Fellowship for the Study of Buddhism in Japan
1992–1993Ryūkoku University Numata Fellowship
1993–1994 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (Religion and Ethics)
1994 PhD Buddhist Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1994-1995assistant professor of Religious Studies, Grinnell College
1995-1998assistant professor, Department of Comparative Religion, Western Michigan University
1998-2002assistant professor, Department of Religious Studies, Yale University
2002-2011assistant professor, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA, later associate and Emeritus Associate Professor
July 2007-professor in the study of Buddhism, Leiden University
2010-2015VICI award from the NWO (Dutch National Science Foundation) for project: “Buddhism and Social Justice.”

Special activities and positions

  • Founding Editor-in-chief, Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism
  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Indo-Iranian Journal, 2008-.
  • Editorial board member, Gonda Indological Studies.
  • English consultant for the Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies, 1990-.
  • Editorial Board Member, University of Hawaii Press Pure Land Buddhist Studies series.

Publications, 2007- present

1994 The origins and early history of the Mahāratnakūṭa tradition of Mahāyāna Buddhism, with a s tudy of the Ratnarāśisūtra and related materials . – Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Michigan.
2006 Review of: Helmut Eimer and David Germano (eds), The many canons of Tibetan Buddhism: PIATS 2000: Tibetan studies: proceedings of the ninth seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000, Leiden 2002 (Brill’s Tibetan Studies Library 2,10). JAOS 125,2: 341-342.
2007 “Garlanding as sexual invitation: Indian Buddhist evidence.” IIJ 50: 5-10.
“Good and evil in Indian Buddhism: the five sins of immediate retribution.” JIP 35,3: 253-286.
“Bauddhavacana: notes on Buddhist vocabulary.” Sōka Daigaku Kokusai Bukkyōgaku Kōtō Kenkyūjo Nenpō 創価大学国際仏教学高等研究所年報 / Annual Report of The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University 10: 171-179.
“Bodhisattva” and “Mahāyāna Buddhism.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, published online. Stable URLs:
2008 Riven by lust: incest and schism in Indian Buddhist legend and historiography, Honolulu. – Reissued Delhi, 2009.
Managing monks: administrators and administrative roles in Indian Buddhist monasticism, New York. – Also published in Oxford Scholarship Online, 2011: DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326840.001.0001
Lies, slander and the study of Buddhism, Leiden. – Inaugural lecture delivered 1 April, 2008, at Leiden University.
“The story of Dharmaruci: in the Divyāvadāna and Kṣemendra’s Bodhisattvāvadānakalpalatā.” IIJ 51: 137-185.
“Maternity homes and abandoned children in Buddhist India.” JAOS 127,3: 297-314.
“Putative Persian perversities: Buddhist condemnations of Zoroastrian close-kin marriage in context.” BSOAS 71,3: 433-464.
“The Indian Buddhist Mahādeva in Tibetan sources.” Indo Tetsugaku Bukkyōgaku Kenkyū インド哲学仏教学研究 / Studies in Indian Philosophy and Buddhism 15: 27-55.
“Forbidden women: a peculiar Buddhist reference.” In: Peter Zieme (ed.), Aspects of research into Central Asian Buddhism: in memorium Kōgi Kudara, Turnhout (Silk Road Studies 16), pp. 371-378.
“Incestuous ancestries: on the family origins of Gautama Siddhārtha, interpretations of Genesis 20.12, and the status of scripture in Buddhism.” History of Religions 47,4: 253-281.
“The Jifayue sheku tuoluoni jing—translation, non-translation, both or neither?” JIABS 30,1-2 [2010]: 369-420.
“In memoriam Erik Zürcher (13 Sept. 1928 – 7 Feb. 2008).” JIABS 30,1-2 [2010]: 3-22.
“*Parikarṣati reconsidered.” Sōka Daigaku Kokusai Bukkyōgaku Kōtō Kenkyūjo Nenpō 創価大学国際仏教学高等研究所年報 / Annual Report of The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University 11: 61-69.
“Kyōsei and Yogācāra Buddhism: a look at Vasubandhu’s Viṁśikā.” Kyōsei Shisō Kenkyū Nempō 共生思想研究年報 2008: 35-39.
Review of: Yasuhiro Sueki, Bibliographical sources for Buddhist studies: from the viewpoint of Buddhist philology, 2nd edition revised and enlarged, Tokyo 2008. IIJ 51: 195-203.
2009 “A small problem of tense and person: Dhammapada 306 and its parallels.” JPTS 30: 161-176.
“Remarks on the Kāśyapaparivarta commentary.” In: Martin Straube, Roland Steiner, Jayandra Soni, Michael Hahn und Mitsuyo Demoto (eds), Pāsādikadānaṃ: Festschrift für Bhikkhu Pāsādika (Indica et Tibetica 52), Marburg, pp. 381-397.
Review of: Catherine Ludvik, Sarasvatī: riverine Goddess of knowledge: from the manu­script-carrying Vīṇā-player to the weapon-wielding defender of the Dharma (Brill’s Indological Library 27), Leiden-Boston, Mass. 2007; and of: Recontextualizing the praises of a Goddess: from the Harivaṁśa to Yijing’s Chinese translation of the Sutra of Golden Light (Italian School of East Asian Studies Occasional Papers 10), Kyoto 2006. AS/EA 63,4: 991-996.
2010 “Test sailing the ship of the teachings: hesitant notes on Kāśyapaparivarta §153-154.” In: Eli Franco and Monika Zin (eds), From Turfan to Ajanta: Festschrift for Dieter Schlingloff on the occasion of his eighteeth birthday, Lumbini, vol. 2, pp. 897-924.
“Bouddhisme.” In: Oliver Pétré-Grenouilleau (ed.), Dictionnaire des esclavages, Paris: Larousse, pp. 123-125.
“Imag(in)ing the Buddhist brain: editorial introduction.” With Lorenza S. Colzato. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 45/3: 591-595. [Largely written by Silk.]
Review of: Stephen C. Berkwitz, Juliane Schober, Claudia Brown (eds), Buddhist manuscript cultures: knowledge, ritual, and art (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism 52), London 2009. IIJ 53: 285-296.
Review of: Anton Schiefner, Hartmut Walravens (Hrsg.), Übersetzungen aus dem tibetischen Kanjur: Beiträge zur Buddhismus¬kunde und zur zentralasiatischen Märchenforschung (Sinologica Coloniensia 25), Wiesbaden 2007. IIJ 53,1: 65-70.
2011 Review of: Stephen C. Berkwitz, South Asian Buddhism: a survey, London 2009. IIJ 54: 275-285.
2012 “Kern and the study of Indian Buddhism: with a speculative note on the Ceylonese Dhammarucikas.” JPTS 31: 125-154.
“A missed opportunity.” History of Religions 51,3: 262-272. – Review article on K. Buffetrille and D. S. Lopez, Introduction to the History of Indian Buddhism, by E. Burnouf (University of Chicago Press, 2010)
Review of: Jin-il Chung, A survey of the Sanskrit fragments corresponding to the Chinese Saṁyuktāgama [Zōagonkyō sōtō bonbun danpen ichiran] (雜阿含經相當梵文斷片一覽). Tōkyō: Sankibō Busshorin 山喜房佛書林, 2008. IIJ 55: 92-96.
2013 “Review article: Buddhist sūtras in Sanskrit from the Potala.” IIJ 56,1: 61-87.
“The proof is in the pudding: what is involved in editing and translating a Mahayana sutra?” IIJ 56,2: 157-178.
Review of: Anālayo, The genesis of the Bodhisattva ideal, Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2010. IIJ 56,2: 193-199.
& E. Zürcher E. (eds), Buddhism in China: collected papers of Erik Zürcher, Leiden: Brill.
& P.C. Bisschop, “Editorial.” IIJ 56,1: 1-2.
2014 “Taking the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa seriously.” Sōka Daigaku Kokusai Bukkyōgaku Kōtō Kenkyūjo Nenpō 創価大学国際仏教学高等研究所年報/ Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University 17: 157-188. pdf
“Keeping up with the Joneses: from William Jones to John James Jones.” Sōka Daigaku Kokusai Bukkyōgaku Kōtō Kenkyūjo Nenpō 創価大学国際仏教学高等研究所年報/Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University 17: 427-441. pdf
2015 Buddhist Cosmic Unity: an edition, translation and study of the “Anūnatvāpūrṇatvanirdeśaparivarta”, Hamburg: Hamburg University Press (Hamburg Buddhist Studies 4).
“Out of the East: Tibetan scripture translations from Chinese.” Journal of Tibetology 9: 29-36.
Ed. of Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism, volume I: Literature and languages (Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section Two, India nr. 29/1).
“Canonicity.” In: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism, volume I: Literature and languages (Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section Two, India nr. 29/1), pp. 5-37.
Review of: Johannes Bronkhorst, Buddhism in the shadow of Brahmanism, Leiden: Brill, 2011. IIJ 58,2: 163-169.
2016 Materials toward the study of Vasubandhu’s Viṁśikā (I): Sanskrit and Tibetan Critical editions of the verses and autocommentary; an English Translation and Annotations no. 81. Cambridge MA: Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University.
“Peering through a funhouse mirror: trying to read Indic texts through Tibetan and Chinese translations.” In: Dorji Wangchuk (ed.), Cross-cultural transmission of Buddhist texts: theories and practices of translation, Hamburg, pp. 287-311. pdf
“Guan Wuliangshoufo jing de goucheng: Ji xushi jiegou de ruogan Fojiao yu qinajiao pingxingben” 《觀無量壽佛經》的構成: 其敘事結構的若干佛教與耆那教平行本. Singaporean Journal of Buddhist Studies 3: 111-199. pdf
“A Tibetan grammatical construction: verb + na go.” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines 35: 309-344. pdf