The subfield of Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religious Studies comprises the critical study of the Buddhist tradition in its various regional and historical forms, up to the present day. Currently we have faculty specializing in Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese Buddhism (we do not have expertise in Korean or Southeast Asian forms of the religion). Faculty interests include history and historiography, literature, philosophy, material culture, ritual and music, among other things.
Students in the Buddhist Studies subfield continue to develop the linguistic competences appropriate to their area of specialization (e.g., in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese or Japanese) along with the depth of knowledge required for their dissertation project, at the same time as they acquire a broad knowledge of the Buddhist tradition as a whole and build the theoretical and methodological skill-set generally expected of Religious Studies graduates. Selection of courses will vary accordingly, and may be strengthened by taking courses offered by faculty in History, Anthropology, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and other departments at Stanford, as well as classes relevant to the study of Buddhism at UC Berkeley, which it is also possible to take for credit. It is expected that students in this subfield will take full advantage of the various events and programs offered by the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, and pursue their studies in conversation with their fellow students in other subfields in the Department, with whose faculty they are also encouraged to take classes.