Visiting Faculty

John Holt
Visiting Professor of Buddhism
Ph.D., History of Religions, University of Chicago

Holt is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor Emeritus of the Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College, where he has taught since 1978. His teaching focuses Asian religious traditions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism, and theoretical approaches to the study of religion. In 1982, he organized and founded the Inter-collegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) Program for a consortium of private liberal arts colleges, and in 1986 he became the first chair of Bowdoin’s Asian Studies Program. Holt spent three separate terms as the Visiting Professor of History and Comparative Religion at Sri Lanka’s University of Peradeniya. He was awarded a Doctor of Letters from the same institution for his contributions to Sri Lankan and Buddhist studies. He was selected as the Alumnus of the Year by the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2007, and he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014. He has received numerous research awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014.

His publications include Discipline: the Canonical Buddhism of the Vinayapitaka (Dehli: Motilal Banarsidass, 1981), A Guide to the Buddhist Religion (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1981), Buddha in the Crow n(NY: Oxford U. Press, 1991) for which he was awarded an American Academic Book Award for Excellence in 1992; and  The Buddhist Visnu (NY: Columbia University Press, 2005), a groundbreaking study analyzing the assimilation and transformation of the Hindu cult of Visnu by the Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka.

Ven. Dhammadipa Fa Yao Sak
Visiting Lecturer of Theravada Buddhism

Currently the Abbot of the U.S. Zen Institute in Maryland, Ven. Dhammadipa Sak, Ph.D., is a Buddhist bhikkhu, a Trustee of the International Buddhist Association of America, and a Trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He is a scholar of Theravada Buddhism and early Mahayana Buddhism, and an acclaimed meditation instructor.

Ven. Dhammadipa was born in Taiwan and brought up in East Malaysia. He was ordained in Sri Lanka in 1987. He later earned his Ph.D. from the University of Bristol in England. Ven. Dhammadipa is a Buddhist “ecumenist” who is conversant with the different traditions of Buddhism and seeks to bridge them. He is frequently involved in interfaith activities around the world.

Ven. Dhammadipa will be teaching two courses in Autumn 2019 (The Foundation of Buddhist Thoughts and Towards Ecumenical Buddhism) and two in Spring 2020 (Buddhist Scholasticism and its Practical Path Structures and Comparative Reading: Pali and Chinese Buddhist Texts).

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