Tabo Monastery
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Tabo Monastery. Photo credit: Christian Luczanits


HCBSS Research Projects

The HCBSS currently supports four ongoing research projects:

Buddhist Manuscript Project

This project fosters international collaboration and understanding of the different Buddhist manuscript finds worldwide by regularly hosting workshops and conferences. One of the project's first goals was to publish a state-of-the-field survey of recent research on Buddhist manuscripts; to this end, the HCBSS held a major conference at Stanford in June of 2009. Papers from this conference are published in Paul Harrison and Jens-Uwe Hartmann, eds., From Birch Bark to Digital Data: Recent Advances in Buddhist Manuscript Research; Papers Presented at the Conference Indic Buddhist Manuscripts: The State of the Field, Stanford, June 15–19 2009; Beiträge zur Kultur-und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, 80; Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse, 460. Vienna: Österreichische Academie der Wissenschaften, 2014.
Ongoing activities include continuing HCBSS support for the Buddhist Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection project, and occasionally hosting editorial meetings and working sessions.
More recently, the HCBSS has begun to support an international project devoted to a new collection of Gāndhārī manuscripts which are believed to date from the first century BCE to the second century CE, putting them amongst the oldest known Indian manuscripts. The project is led by Mark Allon of the University of Sydney, Australia, and Richard Salomon of the University of Washington, Seattle. The collection contains various types of texts, including early discourses of the Buddha, among them a Gāndhārī version of the work known in Pāli as the Aṭṭhakavagga, considered to be one of the oldest Buddhist texts in existence. The collection also contains previously unknown Gāndhārī versions of Mahāyāna sūtras, such as the Samādhirājasūtra and the Pratyutpannabuddhasaṃmukhāvasthitasamādhisūtra, both currently being studied by international teams of scholars, including HCBSS Co-Director Paul Harrison. Part of the research involves radiocarbon dating of the birch bark on which the texts are written in order to more securely date this material. The HCBSS provides funding to assist this scientific testing. 
For more information, contact Paul Harrison, The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, 365 Lasuen Street, 3rd Floor, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; e-mail paulh1 [at] (paulh1[at]stanford[dot]edu).

Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra Project

This project will provide a varied set of opportunities for scholars to explore the texts, teachings, and history, of the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra. The first workshop of the project was held at Stanford during summer 2008. A second workshop took place at Munich in summer 2010.

For more information, e-mail buddhiststudies [at] (buddhiststudies[at]stanford[dot]edu).

Sōtō Zen Text Project

The website for this project has been closed by the Soto Zen Text Project (SZTP).

The SZTP translation of the Shōbōgenzō 正法眼藏, entitled Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō (8 volumes), was published in March 2023 by the Soto Administrative Headquarters, Tokyo. For further information, contact the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center at: info [at] (info[at]stotozen[dot]com).

The SZTP translation of the Denkōroku 傳光録, entitled Record of the Transmission of Illumination (2 volumes), published 2021, is available from the University of Hawai'i Press.

For information on the SZTP translations of the Sōtōshū gyōji kihan 曹洞宗行事規範, entitled Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School, and Sōtōshū nikka gongyō seiten 曹洞宗日課勤行聖典, entitled Soto School Scriptures for Daily Services and Practice, contact the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center at: info [at] (info[at]stotozen[dot]com).

General inquiries about SZTP and its translations should be directed to: carl [at] (carl[at]stanford[dot]edu).

Please do not direct inquiries to The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford.

The Oral History of Tibetan Studies Project

This project records and collects oral memories from those who contributed to establishing Tibetan and Himalayan Studies as a recognized and independent academic discipline. The project explores two topics: the development of the discipline itself and the distinctive life-stories of the individuals involved. The HCBSS co-sponsors the project, which is run by PhD students in Europe and the U.S.A. One of the Center’s doctoral students, Elaine Lai, is a founder of and interviewer for the project. For more information, please visit the Oral History of Tibetan Studies Project website.

Please do not direct inquiries about The Oral History of Tibetan Studies Project to The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford. For questions, please e-mail: elaine00 [at] (elaine00[at]stanford[dot]edu)