T. Griffith Foulk: "Nirvana"
3910 Bret Harte Drive, Redwood City
"Nirvana" is to the teachings of Buddhism what "freedom" and "democracy" are to the political rhetoric of the USA: an ideal that is universally embraced as an ultimate good, but one that has been interpreted in very different ways by competing parties over the course of history. This lecture traces developments in the concept of nirvana from its multiple roots in ancient India to its various meanings in the Mahayana Buddhism of China and Japan.
T. Griffith Foulk, Shinnyo-en Visiting Professor, Religious Studies
T. Griffith Foulk is professor of Asian religions at Sarah Lawrence College and co-editor-in-chief of the Soto Zen Text Project based in Tokyo. In his youth he trained for several years at Zen monasteries in Japan, where he still maintains close ties. He received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Michigan in 1987, and has taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Toronto, and UC Berkeley. He has received Fulbright, Mellon, Japan Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, and has twice been elected to the Steering Committee of the Buddhism Section of the American Academy of Religion. His publications include Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School (Vol. 1: Translation, and Vol. 2: Introduction, Glossaries, and Index), and numerous monographs on the intellectual and institutional history of Zen Buddhism in China and Japan.