The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral 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 Postdoctoral Fellowships provide two years of funding to recent recipients of the PhD for residence at a university for the purpose of revising the dissertation into a publishable manuscript or for beginning the first new project after completion of the PhD degree.

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

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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

Deba Mitra Barua
Deba Mitra Barua  |  Abstract
Undivided Bengal was the last stronghold of Indian Buddhism. Southeastern Bengal is the only region where Buddhists, albeit as a minority, have maintained a living tradition. To date, Buddhism in Bengals remains less explored and unaccounted for in modern scholarship on Buddhism due to the generalization of Indian Buddhism’s demise in medieval India. This research addresses this omission by studying Buddhism in Bengals (1757-1988) from a perspective of minority religion. In addition, it contextualizes contemporary Buddhism in Bengal in the nexus of transnational connections with fellow majority Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. To study Theravada Buddhism as a minority religion is rare, and to do so within transnational Buddhist networks is what uniquely characterizes this research.

Instructor, Religion and Culture, University of Saskatchewan  -  Buddhism in Two Bengals from 1757 to 1988: Theravada Buddhism as a Minority Religion and its Transnational Connections
the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University

Stephan Kigensan Licha
Stephan Kigensan Licha  |  Abstract
This project investigates discourses on “Zen” in a little studied corpus of medieval Japanese Tendai texts known as “Tendai oral transmissions”. It seeks to challenge the notion of a coherent and exclusive Zen orthodoxy in pre-modern Japan by understanding “Zen” as a label applied to various approaches to Buddhist practice and appropriated by numerous actors rather than teleologically identifying it with what would only later reify into the institutions of “orthodox Zen”. Leading to a fuller understanding of the evolving rather than static nature of the category “Zen”, it will contribute to a wider methodological debate regarding sectarian and canonical categories and their uses in East Asian Buddhist historiography.

Postdoctoral Fellow, East Asian Philosophy, Waseda University, Japan  -  A Common Transmission Within the Teachings - Zen in Tendai Oral Transmission Materials
the Department of Indian and Buddhist Studies at the University of Tokyo

Xi He
Xi He  |  Abstract
This project focuses on the Sanskrit Buddhist text the Lalitavistara, an early biography of the Buddha, dated between the second and the seventh centuries C.E.. Through a close analysis of the literary and descriptive art of the Lalitavistara, the emotions that these literary devices construct, and the community who read or hear this text, this project suggests the importance, hitherto often neglected, of literary forms and literary culture to the understanding of Buddhist aesthetics, emotions, and community. On the other hand, it suggests the Buddhist contribution to Sanskrit literary culture and thus suggests the importance of rethinking Sanskrit literary culture through a reflection on a genre of texts that are usually left out of consideration in Sanskrit literary tradition.

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Religion, Hamline University  -  From Buddhology to Aesthetics: Literary Design and Religious Emotions in the "Lalitavistara"
the Group of Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley