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Professor, Faculty of Letters, University of Tokyo
Originally from Long Island, New York, I am a Professor in the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology at the University of Tokyo. I moved to UTokyo in 2008, after spending the previous fourteen years at Tōyō Gakuen University (also located in Tokyo). I received my PhD from the Department of Comparative Literature at SUNY Stony Brook in 1993, where my main advisor was Sung Bae Park, a specialist in Korean Buddhism.
My main field of research is Buddhism, but I am also a student of the broader area of East Asian philosophy and religion (i.e., Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism). During graduate school and the first few years after finishing my doctorate, I worked primarily with Korean Seon Buddhism, concentrating on the works of the late Goryeo monk Gihwa 己和 (1376–1433). For most of the ensuing decade, my work was focused on the writings of the Silla scholar-monk Wonhyo 元曉 (617–686), a journey that ended up leading me deeply into the study of Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha thought, and the role of the "two hindrances" soteriological model in Mahāyāna Buddhism. During 2010–2015, my main project was an investigation of the topic of "views" (i.e., worldviews, mindsets, opinions, etc., Skt. dṛṣṭi; Ch. 見)—taking Buddhism as a point of departure, entering into related approaches found in Western epistemology, psychology, political and cognitive science. In connection with this, I am also investigated the meaning and role of faith (信) in Mahāyāna Buddhism. I have recently returned to working on a topic that I was working on earlier in my career: the origins, permutations, and applications of the essence-function (Ch. ti-yong 體用) paradigm in the three traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism.
I have been, throughout my career, deeply involved in the work of translating classical East Asian works for the Western audience. I have published a number of works into English, both in book form and on the Internet, which are listed on my publications page. I am presently working on a translation of the famous Japanese classical Yogācāra textbook, the Kanjin kakumu shō 觀心覺夢鈔 (Examining the Mind, Awakening from a Dream). Furthermore, as publications chairman of the BDK sutra translation project, I am also overseeing the translation of the East Asian Buddhist scriptures by other translators. I have done full or partial translations of all of the basic Confucian and Daoist classics, also available on this site.
I have been, since the birth of the WWWeb, quite taken with the possibilities inherent in the digital domain for the development of and sharing of information related to the area East Asian religious/philosophical thought, with this present web site being one of the earliest to appear in the field of Asian Studies research, and one of the very few to survive and grow over more than two decades. The exciting challenges and opportunities that have opened up for our generation have stimulated me to initiate a few digital-web projects, most important of which are the Digital Dictionary of Buddhism and Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese-English Dictionary, as well as the rest of the glossaries, indexes, translations, and other guides contained on this site. I am also the founder and managing editor of H-Buddhism, a network for communication among academic specialists in Buddhist studies. In 2012, I initiated the H-Buddhism Zotero Bibliography Project, which, at the time of the present writing, contains 9,000 items.
I'm a fairly avid fan of the movies, eating at good restaurants in Tokyo, walking, and bike riding. On a more serious level, I practiced Karate (Nihon karate kyōkai) at a high level of intensity from the age of 16 up to around 58, with occasional forays into Taiji quan and Aikidō. About four years ago, getting bad knees and stiffening hips, I moved over to ballroom dancing (Standard and Latin), in which I am now thoroughly immersed!
Last modified: (2016-11-11 12:46:55 Tokyo Standard Time)