The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies offers an articulated set of fellowship and grant competitions that will expand the understanding and interpretation of Buddhist thought in scholarship and society, strengthen international networks of Buddhist studies, and increase the visibility of innovative currents in those studies.

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies offer support for research and writing in Buddhist studies for scholars who hold a PhD degree, with no restrictions on time from the PhD. These fellowships provide scholars time free from teaching and other responsibilities to devote full-time to research and writing on the project proposed.

This program is made possible by a generous grant from The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.

Read more about this program.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Joy Brennan
Joy Brennan  |  Abstract
The proposed book offers a new account of central doctrines of the early Yogacara school by situating them within a medical-therapeutic model analogous to that of the four noble truths. This book shows that the much contested "mind only" claim should be understood primarily as a diagnosis, or a description of the condition that afflicts living beings, parallel to the traditional diagnosis of suffering. The book also situates the theories of the three natures, the storehouse consciousness and the concept of no-mind into this therapeutic model. Finally, the project engages with contemporary philosophical concerns by using this new interpretation of early Yogacara to both critique recent efforts to naturalize Buddhist philosophy and engage ethical questions of agency and responsibility.

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, Kenyon College  -  Mind Only on the Path: Centering Liberation in Yogacara Buddhist Thought

Akira Shimada
Akira Shimada  |  Abstract
While the ancient region of Andhra is well known as the epicenter of Buddhism in South India between ca. the 3rd century BCE and ca. the 3rd century CE, the fate of the religion after this period has been hardly clear. The history of Andhra Buddhism after the 3rd century CE thus has been understood as the mere period of decline. This project aims to rectify this situation by reconstructing a comprehensive history of Andhra Buddhism with a special focus on the material culture, and its relationship with the changing political and religious milieu of early medieval India and the Indian Ocean World from the final phase of the Satavahana’s rule in the early 3rd century CE to the end of the Kakatiya dynasty in 1323 CE.

Associate Professor, History, State University of New York at New Paltz  -  From Amaravati to Nagarjunakonda and beyond: History of South Indian Buddhism after the Satavahanas

Johan Elverskog
Johan Elverskog  |  Abstract
Today most Uighurs are Muslims. But this was not always so. For centuries they were Buddhists. In their homeland along the Silk Road in what is now northwestern China, the Uighurs stood at the center of the Buddhist world and acted as intermediaries linking India and China, China and the West, and ultimately Tibet and Eurasia as a whole. One cannot understand Buddhist history – let alone the history of Asia – without recognizing the Uighurs’ pivotal role in shaping Eurasia’s history. Yet this history is virtually unknown. The aim of this project is to provide the first-ever comprehensive history of Buddhism among the Uighurs while exploring some of the key issues of our post-secular age: Why convert to a new religion? How is religion manifested and maintained? And finally, why abandon it?

Professor, Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University  -  A History of Uighur Buddhism, 800-1800

Tawni Lynn Tidwell
Tawni Lynn Tidwell  |  Abstract
This monograph investigates the most influential epistemological and ontological contributions from Buddhism on the development of Tibetan medical discourse on embodiment, particularly drawing from pramana theory on valid evidence in its transmission to Tibet and co-development as an intellectual tradition. This work examines how pramana theory becomes a cultural practice, namely in the Sowa Rigpa medical discourse of embodiment vis-à-vis two analytical objects: physician as embodied diagnostic instrument, and patient embodying health and disease processes. It illuminates the pramana influences and textual intersections with Tibetan medical literature from the 13th to 17th century CE along with several contemporary contributions that re-frame Dharmakirtian empiricism for body knowledge.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Asian Languages & Culture/Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  Buddhist Epistemology and Ontology in Perceiving the Tibetan Medical Body

Sujung Kim
Sujung Kim  |  Abstract
The primary goal of my book project, titled Korean Magical Medicine: Healing Talismans in Korean Buddhism, is to understand what socio-cultural, religious, medicinal, and material roles talismans played in the life of ordinary people in pre-modern Korea. Believers engaged with talismans through various ritual actions, from wearing them or performing chants with them, to placing them over affected body parts or even ingesting them. The book argues that one of the most profound and lasting imprints of Korean Buddhist practice was healing, and that healing talismans carried out a paramount role in sustaining and systematizing Korean Buddhism during the Choson period.

Associate Professor, Religious Studies, DePauw University  -  Korean Magical Medicine: Healing Talismans in Korean Buddhism