Ph.D. University of Virginia
M.A. University of Virginia
B.A. Universitat Pompeu Fabra
I am a scholar of Buddhism with a particular regional focus on Tibet and the Himalayas (Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal). I am an Assistant Professor of Religion at New College of Florida, where I teach courses on Buddhism, Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhism, Buddhist Contemplative Systems, Hinduism, and Asian Religions in general. I am also interested in the intersection of religion and popular culture and write about it in a blog.
I am currently working on a research project that explores the changes in the monastic curriculum that have taken place in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan over the last few decades. This project is a collaboration with Prof. Dorji Gyeltshen, of the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law (JSWSL). In order to work on this project, we are visiting monastic institutions in Bhutan, both Nyingma (such as Tamzhing Lhündrup Monastery) and Drukpa Kagyu (such as Tango University), to see if there have been significant changes (in texts used, in what the monks learn, in pedagogical techniques, etc.), and what those changes are. We are also exploring this issue in the larger context of the curricular changes that have occurred all throughout the Buddhist world in the 20th century (including Tibet, China, and Taiwan). The first research trip for this project took place during the summer of 2018.
I completed my undergraduate studies at the University Pompey Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, Spain and my graduate work at the University of Virginia. I also have extensive experience studying in Asia. Between 1999 and 2001, I studied Tibetan and Chinese as well as Buddhism and Tibetan literature at Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou (Gansu Province), and at Tibet University, in Lhasa (Tibetan Autonomous Region). In 2013 I studied and did field research for my dissertation at Minzu University of China. Between 2003 and 2009 I also worked as director and lecturer of the SIT Study Abroad Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Program, based in Kathmandu, Nepal, which allowed me to experience and study the rich diversity of the religious traditions across the Himalayas, as I lived, worked, and traveled in Northern India (Dharamsala), Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet itself.
Buddhism for Beginners: The Buddha, his Quest for Enlightenment, and the Rise of a Global Religion
The Many Gods of Hinduism: Ritual, Faith, and Representation in India
Zombies, Handmaids, and Superheroes: Religion in Popular Culture
Emperors, Monks, and Samurais: Introduction to Japanese Religions
Buddhism in the Himalayas
Introduction to Chinese Religions
Forthcoming: Monastic Education in Bhutan: Tradition and Transformation in the 21st Century.
- “Shifting Grounds: A Comparison of the Notion of the Ground (gzhi) in the Tibetan Great Perfection Tradition with the Idea of the Unconscious in the Analytical Psychology of Carl Gustav Jung.” Under review at the International Journal of Jungian Studies.
- “In Search of the Lost Manuscript: The Obscure Recension History of the Tenth Century Text The Lamp for the Eye in Meditation.” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines 52, October 2019.
- “Contemplative Practice, Doxographies, and the Construction of Tibetan Buddhism: Nupchen Sangyé Yeshé and The Lamp for the Eye in Meditation” in Religions 2018, 9(11), 360; doi: 10.3390/rel9110360.
- “The Twenty or Eighteen Texts of the Mind Series: Scripture, Transmission, and the Idea of Canon in the Early Great Perfection Literature.” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines 24, January 2018.
- Gyeltshen, Dorji, and Manuel Lopez, “If You Build Them, They Will Come: The Transformation of Female Monastic Education in Contemporary Bhutan.” In the Jacobsen, Knut A. Routledge Handbook of South Asian Religions. Milton: Taylor & Francis Group, 2020.
- Gyeltshen, Dorji, and Manuel Lopez, “So Old and Yet So New: Buddhist Education and the Monastic Curriculum in Contemporary Bhutan.” In Proceedings of the Fifteenth Seminar of the IATS, 2019. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. Accepted.
- Review of If You Meet the Buddha on the Road: Buddhism, Politics, and Violence. By Michael Jerryson. Oxford University Press, 2018. Nova Religio, vol. 24, no. 4 (May 2021)
- Review of American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity, by Ann Gleig Nova Religio, (May 2020).
- Review of Architects of Buddhist Leisure: Socially Disengaged Buddhism in Asia’s Museums, Monuments, and Amusement Parks. By Justin Thomas McDaniel. University of Hawai’i Press, 2017. Nova Religio, vol. 22, no. 3 (February 2019).
- Review of Remembering the Lotus-Born. Padmasambhava in the History of Tibet’s Golden Age by Daniel Hirshberg, in Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines 45, April 2018.
- Review of The Buddha Party: How the People’s Republic of China Works to Define and Control Tibetan Buddhism by John Powers Nova Religio, vol. 21, no. 3 (February 2018).
- Review of New World Dharma, by Trevor Carolan. Nova Religio, vol. 20, no. 4 (May 2017).
- Understanding COVID-19 Interdisciplinary course. Article in the Sarasota paper The Observer about the class that Cal Murgu and I organized to try to understand the history and effects of pandemics, with a particular focus on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Interview regarding protests against Vice-President Mike Pence using the iconic costumes from The Handmaid’s Tale (2018): 香港01HK01(A Hong Kong Newspaper)
Interview on the HBO series The Leftovers (2018): RNS Religion News Service.
Green Legacy Hiroshima Project (2017): Sarasota Magazine, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, FOX 13 News.