Doctoral Program Buddhist Studies

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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 (Study of Religion)

Michael von Brück is retired Professor of the Study of Religion. 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.


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 retired 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.

Professor Ehrhard does not accept new doctoral candidates for supervision anymore.


Hans van Ess (Sinology)

As Professor of Sinology, his scholarly interests focus on Chinese historiography and philosophy, especially Confucianism. He also lectures on Chinese Buddhism. He holds the position of the Vice President of the University of Munich for several years now, and is thus only able to participate in limited form, although he supervises dissertation projects in sinology-related Buddhist studies. He is also the president of the Max-Weber-Stiftung - Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland.

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.


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.

Jens-Uwe Hartmann (Indology)

Jens-Uwe Hartmann is retired Professor 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

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Paulus Kaufmann (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.

Martin Lehnert (East Asian Religion and Philosophy)

As Professor for Religion and Philosophy of East Asia, Martin Lehnert is teaches religion and philosophy, also covering subjects such as ethics, music, and ritual. His research has been focused on Esoteric Buddhism, translation, and the reception of Sanskrit exegesis in Chinese commentarial literature. Recent research work addresses theoretical aspects of the function of communication, normativity, as well as the formation of authority in religious systems of meaning.


Huanyou Li (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. The current title of his doctoral project is "Wang Fuzhi’s Views of Buddhism and their Influence, focusing on Xiangzongluosuo 相宗络索".


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"


Petra Maurer (Tibetology/Buddhist Studies)

As Professor, 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.”

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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)

Andrea Schlosser studied Indian Philology, Indian Art History and Cultural Theory (Berlin, 2008). Her doctoral thesis (2014) covered the edition of two Gāndhārī manuscripts relevant to early Mahāyāna. Since 2012 she is a research associate in the Munich Academy project "Buddhist Manuscripts from Gandhāra". Her research focuses on Buddhist literature in Sanskrit, Pāli and Gāndhārī, epigraphy and paleography, book culture as well as digital text editions.


Johannes Schneider (Indology)

As Professor, 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 is a critical edition of the first Western Sanskrit grammar by Jesuit father Heinrich Roth (1620-1668).

Alla Sizova

Alla Sizova earned her Master's degree in Literature from St. Petersburg State University, specifically from the Department of Mongolian and Tibetan Studies within the Faculty of Oriental Studies (2010). Her thesis focused on the Lam-rim in the Mongolian literary tradition. Her dissertation project explores Tibetan Buddhism in the Tangut state, drawing on the collections of Tibetan manuscripts from Khara-Khoto.

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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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Vincent Tournier

Vincent Tournier is Professor of Classical Indology. His main area of interest is Buddhism in Ancient and Early Medieval South Asia. In particular, he has worked on Buddhist soteriology; the history and self-representation of Buddhist lineages; patronage at major Buddhist centres; scriptural formation and authentication; cosmology and narrative representations of the past. Employing philological and historical methods, he works with a wide range of texts on multiple supports (manuscripts and inscriptions), and he also includes visual evidence into his analysis. Before coming to LMU, Vincent Tournier was the Seiyu Kiriyama Lecturer in Buddhist Studies and Chair of the Centre of Buddhist Studies at SOAS University of London (2013–2017), and Maître de conférences at the École française d’Extrême-Orient, Paris (2018–2022).

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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)

As Professor, 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.


Kittipong Vongagsorn (Buddhist Studies)

Vongagsorn received his M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University in 2020. He is interested in early Buddhist texts, especially those written in Pali, Sanskrit, and Gāndhārī. His doctoral project, entitled “Defining the Buddha’s Words: The Use of Semantic Etymology (Nibbacana) in Pāli Literature”, focuses on the understanding of rhetorical and hermeneutical functions as well as history of nibbacana tradition in Pāli literature.

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.


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.


Feng Yang (Buddhist Studies)

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 (Study of Religion)

Robert Yelle is professor and 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.


Yiren Zhang (Buddhist Studies)

Yiren Zhang received his M.A. from Fudan University in 2022, defending a thesis on Zhi Qian's Faju Jing (T210), a Chinese translation of Dharmapada-Udānavarga literature. His research interests focus on early Chinese Buddhist translations as well as early Buddhist texts, written in Pāli, Sanskrit and Gāndhārī. His doctoral project is entitled "A Study on Zhi Qian’s Translations of Madhyamāgama Sūtras and the Dharmapada in Light of Their Parallels", which is an extension of his previous studies.