Hee-Jin Kim was born in Korea and received his basic education in Japan. His life-long interest in Buddhism was expanded in the United States, where he earned a B.A. and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of California and a Ph.D. in religion from Claremont Graduate School. He served on the faculties of the University of Vermont, Wright State University, Claremont Graduate School, and the University of Oregon, where he is professor emeritus of religious studies.