Doctoral Program Buddhist Studies

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Francesco Barchi (Sinology)

Francesco Barchi received his M.A. in Oriental Languages and Culture from the Sapienza University of Rome in 2016, defending a thesis on the language and translation techniques in the Chinese version of the Vajracchedikā-prājñāpāramitā-sūtra by Dharmagupta. His dissertation project focuses on the treatment of Sanskrit’s "patient-oriented" constructions in the Chinese translations of the Buddhist sūtras.


Stefan Baums (Indology)

Stefan Baums teaches Buddhist literature in Sanskrit, Pali and Gāndhārī and is lead researcher of the Buddhist Manuscripts from Gandhāra project. Before joining the University of Munich, he worked as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His interests include Buddhist philology and epigraphy, the development of Buddhist hermeneutics, Sanskrit poetic and narrative literature, and ancient South Asian history.

Michael von Brück (Religious Studies)

Michael von Brück is emeritus professor of religious studies. His areas of scholarly interest cover a wide field, ranging from the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism and Chan/Zen Buddhism to Hinduism and interreligious dialogue. Before joining LMU he was a visiting professor at the University of Madras and taught as Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Regensburg. Today he is honorary Professor at the Catholic-Theological Private University Linz. Besides his scholarly activities he is also a Zen and yoga teacher.


Seongho Choi (Buddhist Studies)

He studies the development of Buddhist hermeneutics. His dissertation project focuses on the usage of certain terms, such as artha, nāma and prajñapti, in the meditative manuals of Yogācāra and earlier Buddhist traditions. Before coming to Munich in 2014, Seongho Choi studied Sociology (BA) and Philosophy (BA and MA) at Seoul National University.


Oliver von Criegern (Buddhist Studies)

As research fellow for Indology, Oliver von Criegern teaches Sanskrit and Classical Tibetan. His main areas of research are Buddhist manuscripts from Gilgit and Mahāyānasūtras, with a focus on the book cult in the Sarvadharmaguṇavyūharājasūtra.

Franz-Karl Ehrhard (Tibetology)

As Professor of Tibetology, his research interests range from the cultural history of Tibetan Buddhism to Himalayan Studies, and include especially Tibetan manuscript and blockprint
traditions. Before lecturing at LMU, he was a Research Fellow at the Lumbini International Institute in Nepal and a visiting professor at the University of Vienna and at Harvard University.


Hans van Ess (Sinology)

As Professor of Sinology, his scholarly interests focus on Chinese philosophy, Confucianism, and Chinese religious thought. He also lectures on Chinese Buddhism, e.g. on Zongmi and on the Dashengqixinlun. From 2007-2009 he held the position of the Vice President of the University of Munich and he is also a member of the renowned Conseil Scientifique Pôle Asie at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France.

Silke Yasmin Fischer (Indology)

Her teaching and research focuses on Buddhism in Sri Lanka, the popularization of Buddhism and Hinduism, and the construction of meditation and enlightenment from the perspective of cultural studies. Before joining LMU she worked on the research project Virtue in a Cross-Cultural Context financed by the Volkswagen Foundation and as a teacher at the German School in New Delhi.


Emanuela Garatti (Buddhist Studies)

Emanuela Garatti holds an MA in Tibetan studies (2012) at INALCO and a MA in classical Chinese studies (2012) from EPHE, Paris. Her PhD research focuses on the intellectual exchanges between Tibet and China during the Imperial period, in particular on the paraphrases and translations in Tibetan manuscripts of Classical Chinese texts and the influence of the Chinese conception of monarchy on the evolution of Tibetan kingship. She is also working on a complete translation of Cefu yuangui on Tibet and on the origin of the Tibetan Empire. Based on a Cotutelle agreement she will receive her PhD at the LMU as well as at the EPHE in Paris.

Hiromi Habata (Indology)

Born in Japan, she studied at the Universities of Hokkaido and Freiburg. Her scholarly inter-ests include Buddhist Sanskrit, manuscripts of Central Asia, and methods of translation of Buddhist texts into Chinese and Tibetan. She is a member of the British Library Sanskrit Fragments Project and is currently working on a critical edition and analysis of the Mahaparinirvana-sutra of the Mahayanists.

Jens-Uwe Hartmann (Indology)

A specialist in Sanskrit, his scholarly interest is focused on Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts, Buddhist canonical literature, and classical poetry. Other fields of interest include contemporary trends in Asian Buddhism and interpretations of Buddhism in the West. He is currently the Research Dean of the Faculty of Cultural Studies at LMU.


Simone Heidegger (Japanese Studies)

Simone Heidegger is the coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies at LMU. In her research she specializes on women/gender in Japanese Buddhism, 20th-century reform movements in Japanese Shin Buddhism, and approaches of intrareligious criticism. In 2006, she published her PhD thesis on gender issues in contemporary Japanese Shin Buddhism. Before joining LMU, she worked and taught at the Museum of Religions and the Study of Religions Department of Marburg University

Paulus Kaufmann (Japanese Studies)

His areas of research include early Japanese Buddhism and the history of Japanese thought, as well as Eastern and Western practical philosophy, philosophy of language and rhetoric. He is currently working on his Habilitation thesis on conceptions of truth and meaning in the work of Kukai.


Michael Kinadeter (Japanese Studies)

Michael Kinadeter received his M.A. in Japanese Studies from the LMU. His final thesis was a hermeneutical/philosophical analysis of a Chinese primary source dating back to the fourth century (T 707). His research focuses on East-Asian religions (especially Shinto and Buddhism) and Japanese history. Besides his current dissertation project in the Buddhist Studies Program on the transmission of a central Madhyamika and Sanlun scripture from China and its reception in Japan, he has been working for the Japan Center since 2010 and for the Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies since 2015.

 Jowita Kramer

Jowita Kramer (Buddhist Studies)

The main focus of Jowita Kramer's research lies on Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy (with particular emphasis on the Yogācāra tradition), aspects of authorship, originality, and intertextuality in Buddhist commentarial literature, and Tibetan biographies. She has held positions at the Universities of California (Berkeley), Oxford, Heidelberg and Göttingen in the past and is currently a research fellow at the LMU.

Martin Lehnert (East Asian Religion and Philosophy)

Martin Lehnert is Professor of East Asian Religion and Philosophy. His research interests range from Esoteric Buddhism to the reception of Sanskrit Buddhist exegesis in Chinese commentarial literature, and include music, ritual and ethics in premodern Asian society as well as gender and religion. Before joining LMU he was a research fellow at the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of Zurich.


Petra Maurer (Tibetology/Buddhist Studies)

Her scholarly interests range from Tibetan traditional sciences and Buddhism to the cultural history of Tibet, including modern Tibetan history and language. She is currently working in the Central and East Asian Studies Commission of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Munich on the Dictionary of Written Tibetan. Before joining LMU she lectured at Bonn University and worked on research projects sponsored by the DFG.


Marc Nürnberger (Sinology)

Marc Nürnberger’s research interests focus on the intellectual history of the middle ages in China, with a special emphasis on Chinese commentarial literature and early Chinese Chan Buddhism. In 2008 he published Shitao’s “Recorded sayings of the Monk Bitter Gourd regarding painting.”

Liudmila Olalde (Buddhist Studies)

Liudmila Olalde graduated in Classical Indology and German Philology from Heidelberg University. Her fields of interest include Buddhist literature in Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan, Vedic literature, as well as the creation of digital editions in Indic languages. For her dissertation she is editing and translating four sūtras from the Dīrghāgama manuscript. She is currently working as a research associate at the Specialised Information Service Asia (FID-Asien) at Heidelberg University Library. From 2013 to 2017 she was coordinator of the project “SARIT: Enriching Digital Text Collections in Indology” at the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe" at Heidelberg University.


Serena Operetto (Buddhist Studies)

She received her M.A. from the University of Naples "L’Orientale" where she also did an internship at the Centre for Buddhist Studies. Her doctoral project is entitled "A research focused on Genshin’s Ichijō yōketsu, its influence on Japanese Medieval Buddhism and its place in the monastic milieu". Her particular area of interest is early and medieval Japanese Buddhism.


Constanze Pabst von Ohain (Buddhist Studies)

Constanze Pabst von Ohain received her M.A. in Religious Studies, Philosophy and Indology from the LMU Munich in 2011. In her dissertation thesis she is working on visuality and visualising practices in early Yogācāra literature. Other areas of interest include the translation and reception of Buddhism in Western philosophy and the theoretical discourses of modern aesthetics.


Andrea Schlosser (Indology)

Her interests include Buddhist literature in Indic languages, writing traditions, and the relationship of texts and visual representations. She is currently a research associate in the project "Buddhist Manuscripts from Gandhara", where her focus lies on early Mahayana texts written in Gandhari. For her dissertation, she is preparing an edition of one of the manuscripts. Before joining LMU, she contributed to the digitization of the Sanskrit fragments of the Berlin Turfan collection in cooperation with the International Dunhuang Project in London.


Johannes Schneider (Indology)

He teaches Indology at the LMU and works on the Tibetan dictionary project of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. His scholarly interests range from Sanskrit poetry and poetics to Tibetan philology. The main focus of his research is Indo-Tibetan textual studies. His current project deals with Prajñāvarman's Devātiśayastotraṭīkā, a commentary from the Tibetan Buddhist canon. Before joining the LMU he worked at the Philipps-Universität Marburg and the Freie Universität Berlin.

Marta Sernesi (Tibetology)

Her research and teaching focus on Tibetan and Himalayan religion, history, and literature. Her fields of interest include tantric texts and practices, historical and biographical writing, the history of the book in Tibet, and the reception of Buddhism in the West. She is currently working on her Habilitation thesis at LMU as part of the DFG project bKa' brgyud History and Xylography in South-Western Tibet.

Gleb Sharygin (Buddhist Studies)

Gleb Sharygin studied philosophy, religious studies, psychology of religion and Ancient Indian languages at Moscow State University and the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). His research interests include the world of thought of Early Buddhism, Ancient Buddhist canonical literature, Ancient Indian contemplative practices and their development, and the interaction and interplay of language, practice and theory that inform and shape the Buddhist practice and its concepts. He is currently working on the Gilgit Dīrgha-āgama texts for his PhD thesis “The Māyājāla-sūtra – a unique text of Early Buddhist Sanskrit Canon. Edition, translation and study”.


Nachapol Sirisawad (Buddhist Studies)

Natchapol Sirisawad received both his BA in Thai language and literature and his MA in Pali and Sanskrit from the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. His research interests include Buddhist literature in Pali and Sanskrit, Indian epigraphy and palaeography and the relationship between texts and visual representations. He is currently working on his PhD project on the literary and visual representations of the Mahāprātihāryasūtra in India and Southeast Asia.

Nikolai Solmsdorf 1548

Nikolai Solmsdorf (Tibetology)

He received his PhD from the University of Munich (Institute of South Asian Studies and Tibetan Studies) in 2013. Focusing on Tibetan cultural history and history of literature from the 11th to 17th century, his scholarly interests cover the fields of Tibetan biographical literature, sacral geography of Tibet and Nepal as well as the transmission and edition of Tibetan texts. He serves as research assistant at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Klaus Vollmer (Japanese Studies)

His areas of interest include a broad range of subjects in the cultural and social history of Japan, focusing, among other things, on aspects of Buddhism in Japanese society. He has taught and published in particular on issues of “identity” and “marginality.” From 2009 to 2011 he served as Dean of the Faculty of Cultural Studies at LMU and is the initiator of the Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies.

Wang Fang

Fang Wang (Buddhist Studies)

Fang Wang received her MA from Tsinghua University, Beijing. Her main research interest is art history in the ancient Kucha State. She is currently working on a PhD on the Buddha legend murals in the Treppenhöhle.

Isabella Würthner (Tibetology)

She received her M.A. in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies from the University of Vienna. Her research interests focus on the medical literature, early history of medicine and the colloquial language of Tibet. Her dissertation project deals with the critical analysis and translation of selected medical texts concerning women’s health care.


Minna Xi 1786 Minna Xi (Buddhist Studies)

She received her B.A. (Management) in 2003 from the Technical University Harbin and her M. A. (Psychology) in 2009 from the South China Normal University. She is currently working on her dissertation thesis: “Research on Life and Death Views of Han Area Pure Land Buddhism from the Perspective of Thanatology.“ Before joining the University of Munich she served  as a consult at the South China Normal University.


Robert A. Yelle (Religious Studies)

Robert Yelle is a scholar of comparative religion whose research uses historical and theoretical approaches to address topics in secularism and secularization, the semiotics of religion, and the relationship of religion to law, politics, and economics. His research has included the mantras or verbal formulas of Hindu Tantric ritual texts. Since 2014 he has been Professor for the Theory and Method of Religious Studies in the Faculty for Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, and Religious Studies at LMU.


Yunyao Zhai (Buddhist Studies)

She studied Greek for her Bachelor and first Master’s degree and received an MPhil degree in Buddhist Studies before coming to Munich. Her research interest is early Buddhism and Buddhist scriptures, particularly Gandhāran Buddhism and early Chinese Buddhist translations.
Her doctoral dissertation is a critical study of the different versions of the Bhadrakalpikasūtra, with a special focus on the Chinese translation byDharmarakṣa in the 4th century A.D.

Zhao Wen

Wen Zhao (Buddhist Studies)

He received his B.A. from Shandong University and, in 2012, his M.A. in Religious Studies from the Capital Normal University in Beijing. He also studied at the Sanskrit Study Centre at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (2010-2012). Now he is focusing on his doctoral dissertation "The Bodhisattva Path in the Mahaprajnaparamitasastra". His current academic interests range from early Mahayana Buddhist texts and aspects of Soteriology and Philosophy, to the Chinese divination, involving the Yi-jing tradition and its interaction with Buddhism.

Monika Zin  (Indology)

She studied art history, Indology and dramatics in Krakow and Munich. She has been teaching at the LMU since 1994 and currently teaches at the FU Berlin. She has published on Ajanta, Indian drama and the identifications of Buddhist narrative art in South, South East and Central Asia. Her current projects deal with paintings on the Silk Road and the narrative reliefs from Amaravati and Kanaganahalli.