Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp



Leonard van der Kuijp (范德康) is professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies and chairs the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies. Best known for his studies of Buddhist epistemology, he is the author of numerous works on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. Recent publications include An Early Tibetan Survey of Buddhist Literature (Vol. 64, Harvard Oriental Series, 2008), coauthored with Kurtis R. Schaeffer, and In Search of Dharma: Indian and Ceylonese Travelers in Fifteenth Century Tibet (Wisdom, 2009). Van der Kuijp’s research focuses primarily on the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist thought, Tibetan Buddhist intellectual history, Tibetan Buddhism, and premodern Sino-Tibetan and Tibeto-Mongol political and religious relations. He teaches three new courses this term, covering histories, the era of the 5th Dalai Lama, and the historical geography of the Tibetan cultural area.

Van der Kuijp received his Master’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and his doctorate at the University of Hamburg in Germany. He joined the faculty at Harvard in 1995. He is the former chair of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies (now the Department of South Asian Studies). In 1993 van der Kuijp received the MacArthur Fellowship for “pioneering contributions to the study of Tibetan epistemology, biography and poetry.” Van der Kuijp worked with the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project at the Nepal Research Center, Kathmandu, and taught at the Free University, Berlin, and at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1999, he founded the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC), together with E. Gene Smith. In 2016, he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

Research Interests: Tibet, Inner Asia, Himalayan Studies, Buddhism, Buddhist Thought, East Asian Religions, Tibetan Intellectual History, Mongolia, Inner Mongolia

Selected Publications

Books and Monographs

  • Contributions to the Development of Tibetan Buddhist Epistemology from the Eleventh to the Thirteenth Centuries (Franz Steiner: Wiesbaden, 1983).
  • The Kālacakra and the Patronage of Tibetan Buddhism by the Mongol Imperial Family (Bloomington: Department of Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University, 2004)
  • An Early Tibetan Survey of Buddhist Literature. The Bstan pa rgyas pa nyi ‘od of Bcom ldan rig ral, with K.R. Schaeffer, Harvard Oriental Series, vol. 73 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009).
  • Handbook of Tibetan Iconometry. A Guide to the Arts of the 17th Century [with Chr. Cüppers, Ulrich Pagel, and Dobis Tsering Gyal] (Leiden: Brill, 2012).
  • Bcom ldan ral gri (1227-1305) on Buddhist Epistemology and Logic: His Commentary on Dignāga’s Pramāṇasamuccaya [with A. McKeown], Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, Heft 80 (Wien: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien, 2013).

Recent Articles and Chapters

  • ​​“On the Edge of Myth and History: Za hor, its Place in the History of Early Indian Buddhist Tantra, and Dalai Lama V and the Genealogy of its Royal Family,” Studies on Buddhist Myths: Texts, Pictures, Traditions, and History, ed. Wang Bangwei, Chen Jinhua, Chen Ming (Shanghai: Zhongxi shuju, 2013), 114-164.
  • “Some Remarks on the Textual Transmission and Text of Bu ston Rin chen grub’s Chos ‘byung, a Chronicle of Buddhism in India and Tibet,” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no. 25 (2013), 115-193.
  • “Notes on Jñānamitra’s Commentary on the Abhidharmasamuccaya,” The Foundation of Yoga Practitioners. The Buddhist Yogācārabhūmi Treatise and Its Adaptation in India, East Asia, and Tibet, ed. U.T. Kragh (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013), 1388-1429.
  • “Further Notes on the Bodhicittavivaraṇa and Some Comments on Its Verses 4-5: Apropos of a Non-Buddhist Ontological Commitment,” Xiyu lishi yuyan yanjiu jikan 西域歷史語言研究集刊 / Historical and Philological Studies of China’s Western Regions [K. Sagaster Festschrift ed. Shen Weirong] 6 (2013), 431-450.
  • “Gu ge Paṇ chen Grags pa rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po (1415-86) on the Nyi ma’i rabs (*Sūryavaṃśa) and the Tibetan Royal Families,” Nepalica et Tibetica. Festgabe für Christoph Cüppers, Band 1, ed. F.-K. Ehrhard and P. Maurer (Andiast: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, 2013), 325-335.
  • “A Note on Manorathanandin’s Pramāṇavārttikavṛtti in Tibet,” Wading into the Stream of Wisdom. Essays in Honor of Leslie S. Kawamura, ed. S.F. Haynes  and M.J. Sorensen (Berkeley: Institute of Buddhist Studies and BDK America, Inc., 2013), 161-192.
  • “Some Text-Historical Issues with the Bodhicittavivaraṇa by a Nāgārjuna and the Tibetan Commentarial Literature,” Himalayan Passages. Tibetan and Newar Studies in Honor of Hubert Decleer, ed. B. Bogin and A. Quintman (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2014), 117-141.
  • “The *Madhyamakālokabhāṣyatattvapradīpa: An Indic Commentary on Kamalaśīla’s Madhyamakāloka (Dbu ma snang ba),” China Tibetology Journal 1 (2014), 1-3.
  • “Studies in Btsun pa Ston gzhon’s Pramāṇavārttika Commentary of ?1297, Part One: Bibliographical and Biographical Preliminaries,” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines no. 30 (2014), 111-198.
  • “Further Notes on Bhāviveka and His Oeuvre” [with He Huanhuan], Indo-Iranian Journal 57 (2014), 299-352.
  • “A Note on the hor par ma-Mongolian Xylograph of the Tibetan Translation of Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika (Tshad ma rnam ‘grel),” Zangxue xuekan /Journal of Tibetology 14  (2014), 235-240.
  • “May the ‘Original’ Lam rim chen mo Please Stand up: A Note on its Indigenous Textual Criticism,” The Illuminating Mirror: Tibetan Studies in Honour of Per K. Sørensen on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, ed. O. Czaja and G. Hazod (Wiesbaden:  Dr. Ludwig Reichelt Verlag, 2015), 253-68.
  • “Tibetan Buddhism Meets Protestant Christianity: A Memorandum of Conversations of Mā yang Paṇḍita with Cecil H. Polhill near Xining, Qinghai, on January 13-15, 1890,” Xiyu lishi yuyan yanjiu jikan 西域歷史語言研究集刊/Historical and Philological Studies of China’s Western Regions, no. 8, ed. Shen Weirong (Beijing: Science Press, 2015), 443-492.
  • “Za hor and Its Contribution to Tibetan Medicine, Part Two: Sources of the Tibetan Medical Tradition,” Zangxue xuekan 藏学学刊/Journal of Tibetology 12 (2015), 63-108 [published in 2016].
  • “A Fifteenth Century Biography of Lha bla ma ye shes ‘od (947-1019/1024): Its Prolegomenon and Prophecies,” Tibet in Dialogue with its Neighbours: History, Culture and Art of Central and Western Tibet, 8th-15th Century, ed. E. Forte et al., Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, Heft 88 (Wien: Arbeitskreis fūr Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien/China Tibetology Research Center, 2015), 341-375.
  • “Once again on the *Hetucakraḍamaru: Rotating the Wheels,” [with He Huanhuan] Journal of Indian Philosophy 44 (2016), 267-302.
  • “The Lives of Bu ston Rin chen grub and the Date and Sources of His Chos ‘byung, a Chronicle of Buddhism in India and Tibet,” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no. 35 (2016), 203-308.
  • “From Chongzhen lishu 崇禎曆書 to Tengri-yin udq-a and Rgya rtsis chen mo,” in Tibetan Printing: Comparison, Continuities and Change, ed. H. Diemberger et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 51-71.
  • “On the Life and Oeuvre of the Jo nang pa Scholar Zhang ston Rgya bo Bsod nams grags pa (1292-1370),” Journal of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies 1 (2016), 17-31.
  • “Reconsidering the Dates of Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan’s (1292-1361) Ri chos nges don rgya mtsho and the Bka’ bsdu bzhi pa’i don,” Zangxue xuekan 藏学学刊/Journal of Tibetology 14 (2016), 115-159.
  • “On the 1449 Xylograph of Rgyal tshab Dar ma rin chen’s (1364-1432) Pramāṇavārttika Commentary.” China Tibetology Journal 1 (2018), 21-27.
  • “Fourteenth Century Tibetan Cultural History III: The Oeuvre of Bla ma dam pa Bsod nams rgyal mtshan (1312-1375), Part Two,” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines 46 (2018), 5-89.
  • “The Bird-faced Monk and the Beginnings of the New Tantric Tradition, Part One,” Tibetan Genealogies. Studies in Memoriam of Guge Tsering Gyalpo (1961-2015), ed. G. Hazod and Shen Weirong (Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 2018), 403-450.
  • “The Bird-faced Monk and the Beginnings of the New Tantric Tradition, Part Two,” Zangxue xuekan 藏学学刊/Journal of Tibetology 19 (2018). Forthcoming.
  • “A lag sha Ngag dbang bstan dar (1759-after August 1, 1840) on some Chinese Lexemes and the Chinese Language, Part Two.” Forthcoming in Festschrift F.-K. Ehrhard.
  • “A Case of Upward Social Mobility in Fourteenth Century Tibet in Text-historical Context: Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan (1292–1361) in Confidence to Mi nyag Rin chen bzang po (1317–1383).” Forthcoming Festschrift P. Schwieger
  • “Rgyal tshab Dar ma rin chen (1364-1432) and the Rigs gter dar ṭik, an Exegesis of Sa skya Paṇḍita’s Tshad ma rigs pa’i gter*.” Forthcoming.
  • “On the Transmission of the Verse-text of Sa skya Paṇḍita’s Tshad ma rigs pa’i gter and the Rang ‘grel-Auto-commentary.” Forthcoming.