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.

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Hélène de Brux (Buddhist Studies)

Hélène de Brux holds an M.A. in Asian Studies from the EPHE, Paris (2017). For her master’s thesis, she worked on the notion of Buddhist “miracles” (prātihārya), mainly focusing on episodes from the Saṅghabhedavastu. She is also interested in the art of the Gandhāran region, as she received a B.A. in art history with a focus on Indian art from the Ecole du Louvre, Paris (2012). She is currently working on her dissertation project about the concept of conversion in Early Buddhist narratives.


Juen Chien (Sinology)

Juen received her M.A. in Chinese Literature from National Normal Taiwan University. Her doctoral project is entitled “The Mind and Its Psychic Factors according to the Cheng Wei Shi Lun: An Approach to Buddhist Therapeutic Soteriology”. She uses insights from cognitive theory within the Yogācāra system to examine the therapeutic function of mental factors (caitasika) and further analyze the development of soteriology in the Chinese Yogācāra school.


Chandra Ehm (Tibetology)

Chandra Chiara Ehm is trained in traditional Tibetan philosophy (dGe bshes ma Program) and received her Diplôme des Hautes Études in anthropology and Tibetan studies from the EPHE, Paris. Her doctoral research “Yellow Hats, Indian Pandits, and Practice in the Geluk Order” focuses on scholasticism in Buddhist monastic communities and how these encounter processes of social change, modernisation, and secularisation affect them in direct and indirect ways.

Franz-Karl Ehrhard (Tibetology)

As Professor emeritus 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.


Sophie Florence

Sophie Florence holds an MA in Transcultural Studies from Heidelberg University (2021). In her doctoral project, “Orality and Literacy in Mahāyāna Sūtras and the Mystery of the ‘Missing’ Urtexts,” she aims to reassess orality in a selected cluster of Mahāyāna sūtras, in order to examine the role that this specific species of orality has played in the “missing Urtext” phenomenon.


Sebastian Gäb (Philosophy of Religion)

Sebastian Gäb is Professor of Philosophy of Religion at LMU. He studied philosophy, sinology, and Greek philology in Trier and Qingdao. His teaching and research focusses on classical Chinese philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and ways of transporting Asian thought into the concepts of Western philosophy. He also investigates how Eastern and Western thought can be systematically connected.

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)

Jens-Uwe Hartmann is Professor emeritus of 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.


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


Li Huanyou (Chinese Studies)

Li Huanyou received his M.A. in Chinese Philosophy from East
China Normal University in 2020 with a thesis focusing on Wang Fuzhi’s Views of Transformation of Qi as the Heavenly Way.

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Kaufmann, Paulus (Japanese Studies)

Kaufmann received his PhD in Philosophy 2010 at the University of Zürich. 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 Kūkai.


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.

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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.


Qi Liu (Mongolian / Tibetian Buddhism and Medicine)

Liu received her M.A in History of Science from Tsinghua University of China in 2019. Her research focused on the history of traditional Mongolian medicine which is influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. The current title of her doctoral project is "A Comparative Study on Traditional Moxibustion in Mongolian Medicine and Tibetan Medicine"

Kelsey Martini

Martini received his B.A. in South Asian Literature and Languages (Sanskrit) from the University of Washington (2018). In addition to providing a “selective re-editing” of the (primarily Buddhist) ancient Indian epigraphic corpus, his dissertation, “Issues of Early Indian Epigraphy (ca. 3rd c. BCE – 3rd c. CE): Problematic Ancient Inscriptions and their Bearing on Historical and Religious Study”, is focused on examining matters related to the economic and social development of early Indian Buddhism through the lens of a comparative analysis of select portions of the Kauṭilya Arthaśāstra.


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.”


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.

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Huiting Qiang (Buddhist Studies)

She received her M.A in Ancient Chinese History from Capital Normal University in 2016 with a thesis on Buddhist belief in the early medieval Xiangyang region. She is currently working on a PhD dissertation on the role and status of monks in medieval China.


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.

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”.

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Minhui Tou (Buddhist Studies)

Minhui Tou received her M.A. degree from National Taiwan Normal University (2016). Her M.A. thesis was on Kuiji’s commentary on the “Vimalakīrti –nirdeśa”. Her dissertation project focuses on Sthiramati’s “Seeds” theory and examines how it changed compared to the Yogācāra School.

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Yu-Sheng Tsou (Sinology)

Yu-Sheng Tsou received his M.A. in Sinology from LMU Munich. In his dissertation project he focuses on the question of how the relationship of ritual to knowledge, reality and daily life was conceived in Chinese and Japanese esoteric Buddhism, especially in the context of prajñā-practice. He is also interested in poetics.

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.

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Beier Wang (Yogācāra Buddhism)

Beier Wang received her M.A. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Hong Kong and her B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Toronto. The working title of her Dissertation is: "How Concepts Shape Our World? A Yogācāra Exposition on the Role of Conceptuality in Perception and Cognition".

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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.


Tianran Wang (Buddhist Studies)

Tianran Wang received her first M.A. in Japanese Interpreting and Translation from Beijing Foreign Studies University and her second M.A. in Translation Studies from Durham University, with a comparative study of the three extant translated versions of the Vimalakirti Sutra. Currently, she is working on a PhD dissertation concerning the development and variation of translation techniques that have been applied to the translation of Sutra literature in China.


Yang, Feng (Chinese and Indian Buddhism)

Yang received her M.A. in Religious Studies (Buddhism) from Renmin University of China in 2020 with a thesis focusing on an interpretation and annotated Chinese translation of the section on vitality (jīvitendriya), which is verse 138 in the Abhidharmadīpa. The working title of her dissertation is: "An Investigation and Annotated Translation of the Section on "Factors Dissociated from Mind" in the Abhidharmadīpa."


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 by Dharmarakṣa in the 4th century A.D.

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.