Professor of Buddhist Studies
Director of the Centre for Buddhist Studies
BA (Manchester), MA (Manchester), PhD (Manchester)
Phone: 0117 928 8169
Fax: 0117 331 7933
I was educated at the University of Manchester, where I completed a BA in the Department of Comparative Religion in 1980. After a brief period in Sri Lanka with the Buddhist Publication Society I returned to Manchester to complete an MA in Buddhist Studies (1982) and undertake research on the theory of meditation in the Pali Nikayas and Abhidhamma. I completed my PhD in 1987, and the same year was appointed Lecturer in Indian Religions at the University of Bristol. In 2008 I was Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley and in 2009 took part in Mind and Life XVIII in Dharamsala, a dialogue with the 14th Dalai Lama on the theme of "Attention, Memory and the Mind: A Synergy of Psychological, Neuroscientific, and Contemplative Perspectives" (available to watch on YouTube). In 2009 I was appointed Professor of Buddhist Studies. Since 2003 I have been President of the Pali Text Society.
My main research interest is the history and development of Buddhist thought in the Nikayas and Abhidhamma. I am currently working on a book on Abhidharma (funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship) provisionally titled "Mapping the MInd: a comparative study of Theravāda and Sarvāstivāda Buddhist Thought".
- 'Tales of Miraculous Teaching: Miracles in early Indian Buddhism', in The Cambridge Companion to Miracles, edited by Graham H. Twelftree (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 216–34.
- 'On some definitions of mindfulness', in Contemporary Buddhism: An Interdisciplinary Journal 12 (2011), 263–79.
- 'What's in a Repetition? On counting the suttas of the Saṃyutta-nikāya', in Journal of the Pali Text Society 29 (2007), pp. 365–87.
- 'Buddhist Monks, Buddhist Kings, Buddhist Violence: On the early Buddhist attitudes to violence', in Religion and Violence in South Asia: Theory and Practice, edited by J. R. Hinnells & Richard King (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 62–82.
- 'Mythology as Meditation: From the Mahāsudassana Sutta to the Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra', Journal of the Pali Text Society 28 (2006), pp. 63–112.
- 'On the Nature of dhammas: A review article', Buddhist Studies Review 22 (2005), pp. 175–94.
- 'He who sees dhamma sees dhammas: dhamma in early Buddhism', Journal of Indian Philosophy 32 (2004), pp. 513–42.
- 'On the Practice of Buddhist Meditation According to the Pali Nikāyas and Exegetical Sources', in Buddhismus in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Hamburg) 10 (2004), pp. 17–37.
- 'Can killing a living being ever be an act of compassion? The analysis of the act of killing in the Abhidhamma and Pali commentaries', Journal of Buddhist Ethics 11 (2004), pp. 167–202.
- 'Cosmology and Meditation: From the Aggañña Sutta to the Mahayana', History of Religions 36 (1997), pp. 183–219.
- 'Wrong View (micchā-diṭṭhi) and Right View (sammā-diṭṭhi) in the Theravāda Abhidhamma', in Recent Researches in Buddhist Studies: Essays in Honour of Professor Y. Karunadasa, edited by Asanga Tilakaratne and K. Dhammajoti (Colombo: Karunaratne, 1997), pp. 211–29.
- 'The Resurrection and Buddhism', in Resurrection Reconsidered (edited by Gavin D'Costa; Oxford: One World, 1996), pp. 201–16.
- 'Bhavanga and Rebirth According to the Abhidhamma', in The Buddhist Forum, Vol. III, edited by T. Skorupski and U. Pagel (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1994), pp. 11–35.
- 'The Mātikās: Memorization, Mindfulness and the List', in In The Mirror of Memory: Reflections on Mindfulness and Remembrance in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism (edited by J. Gyatso; Albany: State University of New York, 1992), pp. 149–72.
- 'The Five khandhas: Their Treatment in the Nikayas and Early Abhidhamma', Journal of Indian Philosophy (Dordrecht) 14 (1986), pp. 35–53.
Encyclopaedia and dictionary articles
- 'Buddhist Books and Texts: Canon and Canonization: Abhidharma' in Encyclopedia of Religion, second edition (New York: Macmillan, 2005) 15, 10020-23. (2500 words)
- 'Cosmology', 'Heavens', 'Realms of Existence' in Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2 vols, edited by Robert E. Buswell (New York: Macmillan, 2003); 4500 words.
- 48 entries on Buddhism: in A New Dictionary of Religions edited by J.R. Hinnells (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995); 10,000 words.