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Buddhadharma : Spring 2006
spring 2006| 66 |buddhadharma ment was fueled by the fast growing interest in Buddhism, generally, on the part of North Americans, and the establishment of the “Buddhism section” of the American Academy of Religion as the chief academic venue for Buddhist studies in North America. After surveying many of the issues influencing Buddhist studies in North America, José Cabezón, a scholar-practitioner and former Tibetan monk, concluded in a 1995 article, “All of these factors have contributed to what we might call the diver- sification of the Buddhologist: a movement away from classical Buddhist studies based on the phil- ological study of written texts, and toward the more general comparative and often theoretical issues that have implications (and audiences) out- side of Buddhist studies.” More recently, this sen- timent was echoed by Georges Dreyfus: “As I’m sure you are aware, there is very little normative Buddhist discourse going on in the academy. This is not the result of outside pressures, but the way the field has moved away from texts and doctrines and toward the study of socially-located practices and institutions.” What Cabezón and Dreyfus are suggesting is that modern Buddhology has largely abandoned the classical philological approach in favor of a greater emphasis on social issues, Buddhist practices, and the social institutions that support them. Four years after the publication Cabezón’s 1995 article, University of Chicago scholar Frank Reynolds similarly asserted that American Buddhist scholarship had turned away from matters of ori- gin and essence and that it increasingly emphasized other matters such as beliefs, practices, modes of communal life, and current Buddhist histories. Such an approach is far more consistent with the professional and personal interests of Buddhist scholars who are also practitioners. Reynolds boldly identified four areas that, to his mind, characterized the North American school of Buddhist studies. First is the use of new com- puter technologies in Buddhist studies. Second is the production of what he calls “communally gen- erated research,” consisting of multi-author work on issues in Buddhist studies. Third is scholarship on contemporary issues in Buddhism, including that related to or produced by scholar-practitio- ners. Finally, there is a renewed concern for the anne kLeIn (rigzin Drolma) has a Ph.D . in religious studies from the university of Virginia and is a professor of religious studies at rice university. In 1996, she and her husband, harvey aronson, founded Dawn mountain, a tibetan Buddhist center in houston, texas, where they are the resident teachers. she is primarily a nyingma practitioner, but she has also studied and practiced exten- sively in the geluk and Bön traditions. her lat- est book is Unbounded Wholeness: Dzogchen, Bon, and the Logic of the Nonconceptual, which she co-authored with tenzin Wangyal. José CaBeZón was a Buddhist monk in the gelukpa order for almost ten years; he lived and studied at the Jé College of sera monastery in south India for six years. he has a Ph.D. in Buddhist stud- ies from the university of Wisconsin – madison, and now teaches at the university of California, santa Barbara, where he holds the XIV Dalai Lama Chair in tibetan Buddhism and Cultural studies. he is the direc- tor of the sera monastery Project. John makranskY trained at kopan monastery in nepal, and later in Dharamsala. he has a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies from the university of Wisconsin – madison, and is an associate profes- sor of Buddhism and comparative theology at Boston College. he is also a senior faculty advisor at kathmandu university’s Center for Buddhist studies. In 2000, he was installed as a lama by Lama surya Das. makransky teaches at Dzogchen Center retreats and programs across the united states.