Ongoing Research on Buddhism

Ongoing research on Buddhism at the University of Hamburg is made accessible to
the international community and the general public by various scholars. The research in the form of papers is available in pdf-format under the individuals and can be downloaded.

New Publications

The Dawn of Abhidharma

This book is a companion to Bhikkhu Anālayo’s previous study of the Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal. In the present book he turns to another important aspect in the development of Buddhist thought: the beginnings of the Abhidharma. Anālayo shows that the two main modes generally held in academic circles to explain the arising of the Abhidharma – the use of lists (mātrḳā) and the question-and-answer format – are formal elements that in themselves are not characteristic of Abhidharma thought. Going beyond the notion that the coming into being of the Abhidharma can be located in such formal aspects, he shows how the attempt to provide a comprehensive map of the teachings gradually led to the arising of new terminology and new ideas. He identifies the notion of the supramundane path as an instance where fully fledged Abhidharma thought manifests in the discourses. Anālayo concludes that what characterizes the Abhidharma is not the mere use of dry lists and summaries, but rather a mode of thought that has gone further (abhi-) than the Dharma taught in the early discourses in general.

Anālayo, Bhikkhu, The Dawn of Abhidharma. Hamburg Buddhist Studies 2, Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2014.
The book is freely avalaible as PDF.


Mit Würde und Beharrlichkeit: Die Erneuerung buddhistischer Nonnenorden

Jampa Tsedroen und Thea Mohr (Eds.), Mit Würde und Beharrlichkeit: Die Erneuerung buddhistischer Nonnenorden. Berlin: Ed. Steinrich. Deutsche Erstausgabe, 528 Seiten, Hardcover, € [D] 29,90, ISBN 978-3-942085-17-5


Nar­ra­ti­ve Pat­tern and Gen­re in Ha­gio­gra­phic Li­fe Wri­ting: Com­pa­ra­ti­ve Per­spec­ti­ves from Asia to Eu­ro­pe

Nar­ra­ti­ve Pat­tern and Gen­re in Ha­gio­gra­phic Li­fe Wri­ting: Com­pa­ra­ti­ve Per­spec­ti­vesfrom Asia to Eu­ro­pe exa­mi­nes so far most­ly un­stu­died ‘non-oc­ci­den­tal’ pre-mo­dernha­gio­gra­phic texts across di­s­ci­p­li­nes with both phi­lo­lo­gi­cal and nar­ra­to­lo­gi­calap­proa­ches. Texts that re­co­unt the li­fe of a saint ha­ve be­en la­bel­led ‘h­agi­ogr­aphy’and such works ha­ve be­en em­p­loy­ed as sour­ces for his­to­ri­cal or li­tera­ry re­se­arch.Ho­we­ver, a text-ba­sed de­fini­ti­on of the term, not to men­ti­on a con­fir­ma­ti­on of itsuse on the ba­sis of wi­der exa­mi­na­ti­ons across cul­tu­res is still wan­ting. Further­mo­re,the ana­ly­sis with the me­tho­do­lo­gi­cal de­vices of­fe­red by nar­ra­to­lo­gy is on­ly in itsbe­gin­nings. This vo­lu­me aims to be a step on this way: ele­ven con­tri­bu­tors exa­mi­netexts from Chris­tiani­ty, Buddhism, Is­lam and Ju­da­ism in the re­spec­ti­ve sour­ce lan-gua­ges. Works stu­died in­clu­de the Chris­ti­an ha­gio­gra­phy of Ant­h­o­ny or St. Bri­gitof Ire­land, nar­ra­ti­ve texts about Ti­be­tan Buddhist mas­ters such as Mi­la­re­pa or theEighth Kar­ma­pa-hier­arch, Si­no-Ti­be­tan Com­mu­nist ‘h­agi­ogr­aphies’, Per­si­an Su­fimo­no­graphs, Tur­co-Per­si­an ha­gio­gra­phies and Ha­si­dic le­gends. A com­pre­hen­si­vein­tro­duc­ti­on out­li­nes ha­gio­gra­phic li­fe wri­ting; an out­look de­ve­lops so­me de­fini­ti­onsand sug­gests a sche­me of ana­ly­sis for fu­tu­re re­se­arch.

Stephan Conermann & Jim Rheingans (eds.), Narrative Pattern and Genre in Hagiographic Life Writing: Comparative Perspectives from Asia to Europe. EBV Berlin, announced for 2014.


Vom Mekong an die Elbe. Buddhistisches Klosterleben in der vietnamesischen Diaspora

Since the late seventies the Federal Republic of Germany accepted ten thousands of vietnamese refugees. In a fascinating transfer between the cultures, those families built a new economic and cultural future for themselves. This also featured the continuation of their Buddhist lives in German exile. By the example of a pagoda in Hamburg which is run by Vietnamese nuns, the book describes backgrounds of contemporary history, religious practice and every day life in a Buddhist monastery. Well-informed in its details, socio-scientific founded and directed towards a broad readership, the book provides extraordinary insights into the religious pluralism of Germany. The book is penned bilingually in German and Vietnamese. Featuring forewords by Prof. Dr. Michael Zimmermann (Hamburg) and Thích Như Điển (Hannover).

Olaf Beuchling & Tuan Van Cong, Vom Mekong an die Elbe. Buddhistisches Klosterleben in der vietnamesischen Diaspora / Xuôi dòng Cửu Long đậu bến Elbe. Nếp Chùa Việt trên đất khách. Hamburg: Abera Verlag. 236 Seiten, mit zahlreichen, größtenteils farbigen Abbildungen. more


Achtsamkeit. Ein buddhistisches Konzept erobert die Wissenschaft

Following the International Conference on Mindfulness in the summer of 2011, a new volume entitled "Achtsamkeit: Ein buddhistisches Konzept erobert die Wissenschaft", documenting the conference's most important contributions, has now been published in German. It comprises of essays on mindfulness, as found in diverse Buddhist traditions, and how the concept of mindfulness today inspires scholars in different fields. The volume is a collection of articles written by neuroscientists, psychologists, scholars of medical science and education, and scholars of Buddhism. Representatives of various Buddhist traditions explain their understanding of mindfulness. The volume also contains the final discussion with HH Dalai Lama.

Michael Zimmermann, Christof Spitz & Schmidt, Stefan (ed.), Achtsamkeit. Ein buddhistisches Konzept erobert die Wissenschaft - mit einem Beitrag S. H. des Dalai Lama. Bern: Hans Buber, 2012. more


New Book Series started by the Numata Center for Buddhist Studies: Hamburg Buddhist Studies

With the publication series Hamburg Buddhist Studies, the Center aims to honor the long-standing commitment to research and share the results of this tradition with the community of scholars and the wider public.
The new series of Hamburg Buddhist Studies will also contribute to opening up Buddhist Studies to those who are not necessarily trained in the classical languages of the Buddhist traditions but want to approach the field with their own disciplinary interests in mind.
The volume will be available in book form and online, published by Hamburg University Press.

Series Editor:
Michael Zimmermann (Universität Hamburg)
Editorial Board:
Bhikkhu Analayo (Universität Hamburg)
Lucia Dolce (School of Oriental and African Studies, London)
Franz-Karl Ehrhard (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München)
Mario Poceski (University of Florida, Gainesville, USA)
Petra Kieffer-Puelz (Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz)

Volume of the series:

The Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal

In this book, Bhikkhu Anālayo investigates the genesis of the bodhisattva ideal, one of the most important concepts in the history of Buddhist thought. He brings together material from the corpus of the early discourses preserved mainly in Pāli and Chinese that appear to have influenced the arising of the bodhisattva ideal. Anālayo convincingly shows that the early sources do not present compassionate concern for others as a motivating force for the Buddha’s quest for awakening. He further offers an analysis of the only reference to Maitreya in the Pāli canon, showing that this reference is most likely a later addition. In sum, Bhikkhu Anālayo is able to delineate a gradual genesis of central aspects of the bodhisattva ideal by documenting (1) an evolution in the bodhisattva concept reflected in the early discourses, (2) the emergence of the notion of a vow to pursue the path to buddhahood, and (3) the possible background for the idea of a prediction an aspirant to buddhahood receives from a former buddha.

Anālayo, Bhikkhu, The Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal. Hamburg Buddhist Studies 1, Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2010.
Book Review in the Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies 1, 2011, pp. 216–221.
The book is freely avalaible as PDF.


Plants in Early Buddhism and the Far Eastern Idea of the Buddha-Nature of Grasses and Trees

Lambet Schmithausen, Plants in Early Buddhism and the Far Eastern Idea of the Buddha-Nature of Grasses and Trees. Lumbini: Lumbini International Research Institute, 2009. more

Corrigenda: The author should like to correct a mistake on p. 334 (Abbreviations: MPSDh): It is not Dharmaksema's but Fa-hsien's translation that was produced in collaboration with Buddhabhadra (Habata 2007: xl, referring to T 55.2145: 60b2-11).


Dignity and Discipline: Reviving Full Ordination for Buddhist Nuns

We are pleased to announce the proceeding of the "First International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha", held at the University of Hamburg in 2007, featuring a great number of speakers including the 14th Dalai Lama:

Thea Mohr & Roloff, Carola (eds.), Dignity and Discipline: Reviving Full Ordination for Buddhist Nuns. Boston: Wisdom Books, 2010. more

Book review in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion 78/4, 2011, pp. 1092–1094.


Buddhist Approaches to Human Rights

We are pleased to announce the proceeding of a symposium held in 2008 by the Center for Buddhist Studies in cooperation with the Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), Essen:

Carmen Meinert und Hans-Bernd Zöllner (eds.), Buddhist Approaches to Human Rights: Dissonances and Resonances. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2010. more

Sponsored by the Andrea von Braun Stiftung.


Red mda‘ ba. Buddhist Yogi-Scholar of the Fourteenth Century

We are pleased to announce the PhD thesis of a member of the Center:

Carola Roloff, Red mda‘ ba. Buddhist Yogi-Scholar of the Fourteenth Century -
The Forgotten Reviver of Madhyamaka Philosophy in Tibet
. Contributions to Tibetan Studies 7. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2009. more