• Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies
  • jgyatso@hds.harvard.edu
  • http://hds.harvard.edu/people/janet-gyatso
  • Divinity 419 | Cambridge MA, 02138

Research interests: Buddhist studies; Tibetan and South Asian cultural history; conceptions of sex and gender in Buddhist monasticism; the female ordination movement in Buddhism; visionary revelation in Buddhism; issues concerning lineage, memory, and authorship; philosophical questions on the status of experience; autobiographical writing in Tibet.

Professor Janet Gyatso is a specialist in Buddhist studies with concentration on Tibetan and South Asian cultural and intellectual history. Her books include Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary; In the Mirror of Memory: Reflections on Mindfulness and Remembrance in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism; and Women of Tibet. She has recently completed a new book, Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet (Columbia University Press, 2015), which focuses upon alternative early modernities and the conjunctions and disjunctures between religious and scientific epistemologies in Tibetan medicine in the sixteenth–eighteenth centuries. She has also been writing on sex and gender in Buddhist monasticism, and on the current female ordination movement in Buddhism. Previous topics of her scholarship have included visionary revelation in Buddhism; lineage, memory, and authorship; the philosophy of experience; and autobiographical writing in Tibet.

Gyatso was president of the International Association of Tibetan Studies from 2000 to 2006, and co-chair of the Buddhism Section of the American Academy of Religion from 2004 to 2010. She teaches lecture courses and advanced seminars on Buddhist history, ritual, and ideas, and on Tibetan literary practices and religious history. In both teaching and writing she draws on cultural and literary theory, and endeavors to widen the spectrum of intellectual resources for the understanding of Buddhist and Tibetan history. She is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences' Committee on the Study of Religion, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, and is an active participant in the Harvard Buddhist Studies Forum. She is also involved in the development of a new track for the training of Buddhist lay ministers and leaders in the master of divinity program at HDS.

Gyatso taught at Amherst College before coming to Harvard as the Divinity School's first Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies. In July 2014 she became HDS associate dean for faculty and academic affairs.

研究兴趣:佛教研究;西藏与南亚文化历史;佛教修道中性与性别的概念;佛教中的女性圣职授任运动;佛教中的先知启示;关于世系、记忆与来源的问题;关于体验的状况的哲学问题;西藏的自传式写作

Books

The Way of Humans in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet. Completed draft.

Women of Tibet. Co-edited with Hanna Havnevik. London: Hurst and Co., and New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.

Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.

In the Mirror of Memory: Reflections on Mindfulness and Remembrance in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. Edited volume of essays. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.

Articles and Chapters

“Looking for Gender in the Desi’s Medical Paintings,” to be published in Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, a themed issue on “Gender, Health and Medicine in Tibet” ed. Theresia Hofer and Heidi Fjeld. In press.

“Discerning Tibetan Modernities: Moments, Methods, Assumptions.” In Gray Tuttle, ed., Mapping the Modern in Tibet. Leiden: Brill, 2011, pp. 1-37.

“Female Ordination in Buddhism: Looking into a Crystal Ball, Making a Future,” in Thea Mohr and Jampa Choedron, eds, Dignity and Discipline, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2010, pp. 1-21.

“Introduction.” In Laila Williams, ed, Body & Spirit: Tibetan Medical Paintings, New York: AMNH Publications, 2009, pp. 3-13.

“Spelling Mistakes, Philology, and Feminist Criticism: Women and Boys in Tibetan Medicine” in Françoise Pommaret and Jena-Luc Achard, Tibetan Studies in Honor of Samten Karmay Dharamsala: Amnye Machen Institute, 2009, pp. 81-98

“Spelling Mistakes, Philology, and Feminist Criticism: Women and Boys in Tibetan Medicine.” Revue Etudes Tibetaines 14, 2008: 81-98. [co-author with Katia Buffetrille] “ Culture and Education,” in Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille, eds., Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China's 100 Questions. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

“A Partial Genealogy of the Lifestory of Yeshe Tsogyal.” In Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies Seminar, no. 2 (August 2006): 1-27. (http://www.thdl.org/collections/journal/jiats/index.php?doc=jiats02gyatsoj.xml)

"The Relic Text as Prophecy: The Semantic Drift of Byang-bu and its Appropriation in the Treasure Tradition." In Tashi Tsering, ed., Commemorative Volume for Rai Bahadur T.D. Densapa, a special issue of Tibet Journal, forthcoming.

Presidential Address, Tenth Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, in Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies Seminar 1 (2005): 1-5.

“Introduction.” In Women of Tibet. Edited by Janet Gyatso and Hanna Havnevik. London: Hurst and Co., and New York: Columbia University Press, 2005, pp. 1-25.

“Sex.” In Donald S. Lopez, ed., Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005, pp. 271-290.

“The Authority of Empiricism and the Empiricism of Authority: Tibetan Medicine and Religion on the Eve of Modernity.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 24.2 (2004) pp. 83-96. (Part of a special section of the issue, guest edited by Sheldon Pollack, on “Forms of Knowledge in South Asia on the Eve of Modernity.”). Revised version published as “Experience, Empiricism, and the Fortunes of Authority: Tibetan Medicine and Buddhism on the Eve of Modernity, pp. 311-335 in Sheldon Pollock, ed. Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia: Explorations in the Intellectual History of India and Tibet, 1500- 1800, Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.

"The Ultimate Couple." In Donald S. Lopez, ed., Buddhist Scriptures, London: Penguin Books, 2004. pp. 488-494.

"Compassion at the Millenium: A Buddhist Salvo for the Ethics of the Apocalypse" In Thinking Through the Death of God: Essays on the Thought of Thomas J. J. Altizer, edited by Brian Schroeder and Lissa McCullough, SUNY Press, 2004.

“One Plus One Makes Three: Buddhist Gender Conception and the Law of the Non-Excluded Middle.” History of Religions 43: 2 (2003): 89-115.

“The Ins and Outs of Self-Transformation: Personal and Social Sides of Visionary Practice in Tibetan Buddhism. ” In David Shulman, ed., Self and SelfTransformation in the History of Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

“Longchenpa and the Possession of the Dakinis.” Co-written with David Germano. In David White, ed., Tantra in Practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000, pp. 239-265.

"Healing Burns with Fire: The Facilitations of Experience in Tibetan Buddhism." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 67.1 (1999): 113-147.

Introduction to Lama Chonam and Sangye Khandro, trans., The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1998, pp. 1-14.

"An Avalokitesvara Sadhana," and "From the Autobiography of a Visionary." In Donald S. Lopez, ed., Religions of Tibet in Practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997, pp. 266-270; 369-375.

"Counting Crows' Teeth: Tibetans and Their Diaries." In Samten Karmay and Phillip Sagant, eds., Les habitants du Toit du monde. Paris: Société d'Ethnologie, 1997, pp. 159-178.

"Drawn from the Tibetan Treasury: The Gter-ma Literature." In José Ignacio Cabezón and Roger Jackson, eds., Tibetan Literature. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996, pp. 147-169.

"Guru Chos-dbang's gTer 'byung chen mo: An Early Survey of the Treasure Tradition and its Strategies in Discussing Bon Treasure." In Per Kvaerne, ed., Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Sixth International Association of Tibetan  Studies Seminar. Oslo: The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture, 1994, vol. 1, pp. 275-287.

"The Logic of Legitimation in the Tibetan Treasure Tradition," History of Religions, 33.1 (1993): 97-134.

"Letter Magic: Peircean Meditations on the Semiotics of Rdo Grub-chen's Dharani Memory." In Janet Gyatso, ed., In the Mirror of Memory, pp. 173-214.

"Introduction." In Janet Gyatso, ed., In the Mirror of Memory, pp. 1-20.

"Autobiography in Tibetan Religious Literature: Reflections on Its Modes of Self-Presentation." In Shoren Ihara and Zuiho Yamaguchi, eds., Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 5th International Association of Tibetan Studies Seminar. Narita: Naritasan Institute for Buddhist Studies, 1992, vol. 2, pp. 465-478.

"Genre, Authorship and Transmission in Visionary Buddhism: The Literary Traditions of Thang-stong Rgyal-po." In Ronald Davidson and Steven Goodman, eds., Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992, pp. 95-106.

"Down with the Demoness: Reflections on a Feminine Ground in Tibet," Tibet Journal XII.4 (1987): 34-46. Also in Janice Dean Willis, ed., Feminine Ground: Essays on Women in Tibet. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Press, 1988, pp. 35-51.

"Signs, Memory and History: A Tantric Buddhist Theory of Scriptural Transmission," Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 9.2 (1986): 7-35.

"Image as Presence: The Place of the Work of Art in Tibetan Religious Thinking." In Valrae Reynolds, Amy Heller and Janet Gyatso, The Newark Museum Tibetan Collection III. Sculpture and Painting. Newark: The Newark
Museum, 1986, pp. 30-35.

"Thang-stong rGyal-po, Father of the Tibetan Drama: The Bodhisattva as Artist." In Jamyang Norbu, ed., Zlos-gar, The Tibetan Performing Arts: Commemorative Issue on the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Founding of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (1959-84). Dharamsala, India: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1986, pp. 91-104.

"The Development of the gCod Tradition." In Barbara Aziz and Matthew Kapstein, eds., Soundings in Tibetan Civilization. Delhi: Manohar, 1985, pp. 74-98.

"The Teachings of Thang-stong rGyal-po." In Michael Aris and Aung San Suu Kyi, eds., Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Richardson. Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1980, pp. 111-119. c. Other

“Where We Do Stand.” (Convocation Address, Harvard Divinity School, June 2005). Harvard Divinity Bulletin 32.1 (Fall/Winter 2003): 10-13.

“Yeshe Tsogyal” and “Machig Labdron.” Encylopedia entries. Encyclopedia of Religion, revised edition. Lindsay Jones, editor-in-chief. New York, Macmillan, 2005.

Review of Donald S. Lopez, ed., Curators of the Buddha. History of Religions (1998).

"Thang-stong Rgyal-po" and "Ma-gcig Lab-sgron." Encyclopedia entries. In John R. Hinnells, ed., Who's Who of Religions, pp. 246 and 405. Macmillan Reference, 1991.

Review of Phyllis Granoff and Koichi Shinohara, eds., Monks and Magicians: Religious Biographies in Asia. Journal of Asian Studies 49.1 (1990): 105-6. Editor, Asian Religious Studies Information No. 1 (1987). Stony Brook: Institute
for Advanced Studies of World Religions.

Review of Robert A.F. Thurman, Tsong Khapa's Speech of Gold in the Essence of Time Eloquence. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 9.1(1986): 138-142.

Editor, Buddhist Research Information 9 and 10 (1985). Stony Brook: Institute for Advanced Studies of World Religions.

Translator, "The Five Skandhas," by Lama Norlha. In Kalu Rinpoche, The Dharma That Illuminates All Beings Impartially Like the Light of the Sun and Moon. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986, pp. 139-178.

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies