Engaged Buddhism in the West - Contributors



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Martin Baumann born in 1960 in Swakopmund, Namibia, studied History of Religions at the universities of Marburg, London, Berlin, and Hannover. His PhD dissertation treated the transmission and adaptation of Buddhism in Germany. A post-doctoral thesis in 1999 treated the Hindu diaspora in the Caribbean and Europe. The diffusion and adaptation of Buddhist and Hindu traditions outside of Asia form the main focus of his research. The author of many articles on contemporary Buddhism in Europe, he is currently associate professor in the History of Religions at the University of Bremen (Germany).

Sandra Bell teaches in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Durham, U.K. She has published articles on Western Buddhism in academic journals in Britain and the United States. She is co-editor, with Elisa Sobo, of Celibacy, Culture, and Society: The Anthropology of Sexual Abstinence (University of Wisconsin Press, in press) and, with Simon Coleman, The Anthropology of Friendship (Berg, in press).

Roderick S. Bucknell traveled widely in Asia and practiced for four years as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, before returning to Australia in 1971 to take up academic life. He is currently reader in Chinese Language and Buddhist Studies at the University of Queensland. His publications include The Twilight Language and The Meditative Way, as well as several articles on Buddhism in Australia.

Stuart Chandler, bibliographer and indexer for this volume, is a PhD candidate at Harvard University. He is writing his dissertation on Master Hsing Yun and Fo Kuang Buddhism. While at Harvard, he has served as a researcher with the Pluralism Project, tracking the emergence of Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Islamic, and other religious communities in the United States. His chapter, “Placing Palms Together: Religious and Cultural Dimensions of the Hsi Lai Temple Political Donations Controversy,” appears in Duncan Ryuken Williams and Christopher S. Queen, eds., American Buddhism: Methods and Findings in Recent Scholarship (Surrey, U.K.: Curzon Press, 1999).

David W. Chappell is professor and graduate chair of the Department of Religion, University of Hawaii. His doctorate at Yale University was on Tao-ch’o (563-645)A Pioneer of Pure Land Buddhism, and his major publications include T’ien T’ai Buddhism: An Outline of the Four-fold Teachings (1983) and Buddhist and Taoist Studies vols. 1 and 2 (editor). After initiating a series of Buddhist-Christian conferences in 1980, he became founding editor (1980-1995) of the academic journal Buddhist-Christian Studies, founding director of the Buddhist Studies Program, UH (1987), and a co-founder of the Society of Buddhist-Christian Studies (1988). After co-editing Unity in Diversity: Hawaii’s Buddhist Communities (1997), he is focusing more on Buddhist roles in modern society.

Roger Corless is professor of religion at Duke University. Born near Liverpool, England, he read Theology at King’s College, University of London (B.D., 1961), emigrated to the U.S. in 1962, and studied Buddhism, specializing in Pure Land Buddhism, at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (PhD, 1973). He has recently begun to investigate the practice of Buddhism in the gay-lesbian-bisexual-trans-sexual community. In July 2000 he will retire and increase his involvement in the developing field of Buddhist-Christian Studies.

Lyn Fine has been practicing in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh since 1985, and was ordained as a Dharma teacher at Plum Village, France, in 1994. She is one of the founders of the Community of Mindfulness/NY Metro, and leads meditation retreats in the United States and Israel. An educational consultant in mindful conflict resolution, multicultural education, and peace education, Lyn works with parents, teachers, students, and administrators in the public schools in New York City. Her doctoral dissertation, “Children of War Becoming Leaders for Peace” (1995, NYU) focuses on the development of youth leadership and the transformation of traumatic memories in teenagers from zones of socio-political violence around the world, through personal storytelling, public speaking, and multicultural peer group support.

Robert Goss is chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Webster University and Managing Editor of the Journal of Religion & Education. He is the author of Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto (1993) and coeditor of A Rainbow of Religious Diversity (1996) and Our Families, Our Values: Snapshots of Queer Kinship (1997). He has contributed a number of articles and book chapters on Buddhism and comparative religious studies on grief. He currently is working on a book on Buddhism and the cross-cultural study of grief.

Paula Green founded and directs the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, which provides education and training in intercommunal dialogue and conflict transformation worldwide. In recent years she has led educational seminars in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, as well as in the U.S. and Canada. Paula serves on the faculty of the School for International Training in Vermont, lectures and publishes internationally, and is the co-editor of Psychology and Social Responsibility: Facing Global Challenges (NYU Press). She holds graduate degrees in Counseling Psychology and Intergroup Relations from Boston University and New York University. Her Buddhist activities include membership on the Boards of Directors of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, the Insight Meditation Society, and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, as well as close affiliation with the Nipponzan Myohoji community in Leverett, MA.

Patricia Hunt-Perry is professor of social thought at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She was the host commentator of the PBS series, Prospects for Humanity, and has lectured widely in the United States and abroad. The author of numerous articles and book chapters, she attended a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh in 1987 to write a book chapter, and became a member of the Order of Interbeing. She lives on the farm where she was born in the mid-Hudson valley.

Stephanie Kaza is associate professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont, where she teaches religion and ecology, environmental philosophy, and nature writing. She is a longtime Soto Zen practitioner affiliated with Green Gulch Zen Center. Her book, The Attentive Heart: Conversations with Trees (1993), is a collection of meditative essays on West Coast trees.

Kenneth Kraft is chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Lehigh University. In the area of engaged Buddhism, he is the author of The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism (1999) and the editor of two anthologies, Inner Peace, World Peace (1992) and Dharma Rain (2000, with Stephanie Kaza). He is also the author of the award-winning Eloquent Zen. He has served on the board of directors of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Franz-Johannes Litsch studied architecture at Fachhochschule in Konstanz. A Buddhist since 1962, he has studied under Karlfried Graf Dürckheim, Gesshin Prabasha Roshi, Genro Roshi, Tenga Rinpoche, Nyanaponika Thera, and Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. A student of Thich Nhat Hanh since 1985, he is a member of the Tiep Hien Order, founder of the Netzwerk engagierter Buddhisten (Network of Engaged Buddhists), and since 1995, a member of the Council of the German Buddhist Union (DBU).

Janet McLellan received her PhD in Social Anthropology from York University, 1993. Her interest in Asian Buddhists began over twenty years ago. She has taught for several years at the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, and is currently a sessional instructor at Trent University. Her most recent publication is Many Petals of the Lotus: Five Asian Buddhist Communities in Toronto (University of Toronto Press, 1999).

Susan Moon is the editor of Turning Wheel, the journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. She lives in Berkeley, California, where she raised two sons. She is a longtime Zen practitioner both at the Berkeley Zen Center and Green Gulch Farm, which is part of the San Francisco Zen Center, and she currently serves on the Board of San Francisco Zen Center. She has published many short stories and essays, and is the author of The Life and Letters of Tofu Roshi (Shambhala Publications, 1988) and co-editor with Lenore Friedman of Being Bodies: Buddhist Women on the Paradox of Enlightenment (Shambhala Publications, 1997). Her activism includes participation in the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and the anti-nuclear movement, and she has been arrested numerous times for acts of civil disobedience. In recent years her activism has been much quieter, expressed chiefly through the pages of Turning Wheel.

Andrew Olendzki is the executive director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts. His PhD in Religious Studies is from Lancaster University in England (1987), and he has studied at Harvard University and the University of Sri Lanka. He has been executive director of the Insight Meditation Society (1990-96) and visiting lecturer at Harvard Divinity School (1996-99).

Virginia Cohn Parkum received her PhD in political science, focusing on participatory democracy and voluntarism, from the University of Mannheim, Germany. She helped develop public sector courses for the Yale University School of Organization and Management. She is currently studying Buddhism with Anthony Stultz and completing several works combining art and poetry, including reflections on Buddhist practice.

John Powers was awarded an M.A. in Indian Philosophy from McMaster University in 1984 and a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Virginia in 1991. He is currently Senior Lecturer in the Asian History Centre, Faculty of Asian Studies, Australian National University. He is the author of eight books and fifty articles, mostly on Tibetan and Indian Buddhism, including Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism (Snow Lion Publications, 1995), which has sold over 20,000 copies worldwide. He has also written extensively on contemporary Tibetan Buddhism and the human rights situation in Tibet.

Christopher S. Queen is dean of students for continuing education and lecturer on the study of religion in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. A student of Buddhism since 1965 (at Oberlin College, Harvard, and Boston universities), he has practiced vipassana meditation since 1978. He is coeditor and contributor to Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia (State University of New York Press, 1996), and American Buddhism: Methods and Findings in Recent Scholarship (Curzon Press, 1999).

Judith Simmer-Brown is chair of religious studies at The Naropa Institute, Boulder, Colorado (Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, Engaged Buddhism, women and the feminine in Buddhism). PhD Walden University. Dr. Simmer-Brown has been involved in Buddhist-Christian dialogue for the past fifteen years and has been an active participant in the contemporary North American discussion surrounding Buddhism in the West. She designed and founded the Engaged Buddhism track of the Buddhist Studies M.A. program at the institute. She writes and lectures on Indian,Tibetan, and North American Buddhist traditions and is currently completing a book entitled Dakini’s Warm Breath: Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism.

J. Anthony Stultz is spiritual director of the Blue Mountain Meditation Center. He received an M.A. in Pastoral Theology from the Episcopal Divinity School (Cambridge) and has served both prisons and hospitals as a Buddhist clinical chaplain.

Darrel Wratten is lecturer in religious studies and associate director of the Institute for Comparative Religion in Southern Africa at the University of Cape Town. He is co-author of African Traditional Religion in South Africa, Christianity in South Africa, and Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism in South Africa, all published by Greenwood Press.