Punya Prasad Parajuli instructing
Punya Prasad Parajuli instructing

The strength of the Buddhist Studies program comes from a combination of diverse and highly qualified faculty and a very low student-faculty ratio. A mix of Western and Eastern instructors helps ensure continuity of American educational patterns, as well as access to the indigenous philosophies in their genuine form. Western faculty are responsible for the organization and evaluation of coursework, while the Asian teachers present perspectives of the traditions being studied. This variety of intellectual and cultural viewpoints creates a stimulating milieu in which genuine inquiry occurs.


Faculty Director

Arthur McKeown, Faculty Director of Buddhist Studies in India and Associate Professor of Asian Studies, Carleton College

amckeown@carleton.edu

Dr. Arthur McKeown

Dr. Arthur McKeown received a BA magna cum laude from Dartmouth College. He received an MA and PhD from Harvard University, where his dissertation was titled From Bodhgaya to Lhasa to Beijing: The Life and Times of Sariputra (c.1335-1426), Last Abbot of Bodhgaya. Dr. McKeown has received a Fulbright Fellowship, Reischauer Center Fellowship, as well as the Harvard Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. He has research experience in South Asia and Tibet and has presented papers at meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Dr. McKeown has experience teaching Tibetan Language and Buddhist Studies as an Instructor and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. He served on the faculty with the Buddhist Studies in India program from 2010 to 2014 and was the Assistant Program Director in 2015 before becoming Program Director in Fall 2016.


Faculty Director, Emeritus

Robert Pryor, Director Emeritus
C. Robert Pryor

C. Robert Pryor earned a BS from the University of Michigan, and an MAT from Antioch University. He studied Anthropology and South Asian religions at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Robert designed the Buddhist Studies in India program and served as director from 1979 to 2015. He was a consultant for the BBC documentary, In the Footsteps of the Buddha, and collaborated on the book Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra. Robert is very active at the Yellow Springs Dharma Center which he helped to found in 1993. His interests include: South Asian cultures, pilgrimage, the history of Indian Buddhism, meditation, and Buddhism in the West.


Course Instructors

PHIL 318: Buddhist Philosophy

The instructor for PHIL 318: Buddhist Philosophy will be announced in early June.


SOAN 322: Contemporary Buddhist Culture

The professor for SOAN 322: Contemporary Buddhist Culture will be announced in early June.


ASST 319: History of South Asian Buddhism

The professor for ASST 319: History of South Asian Buddhism will be announced in early June.


Headshot Sameeksha Kamble
Sameeksha Kamble

ASST 101-07: Introductory Hindi Language*

Miss Sameeksha received her BA in Buddhist Studies and Ambedkar Thoughts from Nagpur University, India. She received an MA in Buddhist Studies from International Buddhist College, Thailand and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the same institution. Her main focus is studying and teaching different aspects of Buddhist philosophy. She is also interested in and enjoys studying other Indian Philosophies. For her Ph.D. she is producing an English translation of a Sanskrit commentary on Yogācāra Buddhist school. She also lectured a course on Mahāyāna Buddhism for BA students at International Buddhist College and recently she has been sharing her knowledge of Buddhism through some lectures at different places in Malaysia.

The instructor for ASST 103-07: Intermediate Hindi Language will be announced in early June.

*Intermediate Hindi language instruction is available upon request for students who have previously studied the language.


ASST 101-08: Introductory Tibetan Language

Punya Prasad Parajuli
Punya Prasad Parajuli

Punya Prasad Parajuli received a BA in Physics, an MA in Anthropology, and an MA in Nepalese History, Culture, and Archeology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.  He has also received an MA in Buddhist Studies from Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, India.

Punya is actively involved in translating Tibetan and Sanskrit texts into Nepali. He has been a Tibetan language instructor at the Center for Nepalese and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University, and a Sanskrit language teacher at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling and Shechen Monasteries in Kathmandu. Punya taught the Tibetan language with the Buddhist Studies program in 2006, 2009, and 2011–2018. He has also been a Tibetan language and culture instructor and research guide for Cornell University students studying Buddhist Culture in Nepal.


RELG 359: Buddhist Meditation Traditions

Seminars for this course are led by Dr. Arthur McKeown, Faculty Director.  


Meditation Instructors

Vipassana

Avariya U Hla Myint
Ācariya U Hla Myint

Ācariya U Hla Myint was born and educated in Myanmar (Burma). He became a novice monk at the age of ten and a fully ordained bhikkhu at twenty. He has 22 years of monastic training and a PhD in Buddhist Studies and Pali language. A former assistant meditation instructor at Mahasi Meditation Center in Burma, he remained a close disciple, translator, and teaching assistant of the late Sayadaw U Pandita. He has translated numerous Burmese dhamma books and dhamma discourses and has authored Meditation Lectures, Conditional Relations in Daily Life (from the Abhidhamma) and Pali Language Lessons for English Readers. After his years as a monk, U Hla Myint became a householder, and now has a wife and two children. U Hla Myint divides his time between his home in Pyin Oo Lwin near Mandalay in the Shan Hills, Sayadaw U Pandita’s Panditarama Meditation Center near Yangon, and San Jose.

Zen

Ekai Korematsu Osho
Ekai Korematsu Osho

Ekai Korematsu Roshi was born and raised in Japan but began his formal Zen practice while a university student in California where he was affiliated with the San Francisco Zen Center.  In 1979 he returned to Japan for formal monastic training at Eiheiji the principal Soto Zen monastery.  Returning to America in 1983 he founded Kojin-an which later became the Oakland Zen Center. At the request of his teacher Narasaki Roshi, he returned to Japan in 1987 to become the director of an International Zen monastery, Shogoji, in Kyushu. From 1994 to 1996 he was again at Eiheiji and was also the Practice Director at Zuigakuin Temple in Yamanashi Prefecture.  At present, he lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he is the founder and spiritual director of the Jikishoan Zen Buddhist Community.  

Vajrayana

Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche

Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche is the abbot of Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling Monastery and the founder of Rangjung Yeshe Institute, a college for Buddhist Studies in Boudhanath, Nepal. Born in Tibet and educated at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim under the guidance of H.H. Karmapa XVI, he is the holder of Drikung Kagyu and Nyingma lineages. Rinpoche is a scholar and master of both Dzogchen and Mahamudra practice. He has taught meditation and philosophy to many Western students, while also super­vising a large shedra or traditional monastic training center in Nepal. He regularly teaches in Europe and North America where he has meditation centers in Denmark, Germany, and California. Rinpoche is the author of several books including The Union of Dzogchen and MahamudraIndisputable Truth, and Present Fresh Wakefulness.


Staff

Assistant Director for Community Life

Erica Ruiz Vargas headshot
Erica Ruiz Vargas

Erica Ruiz Vargas was born in Mexico and has been living in South Asia since 2014. She studied physics and Mathematics, and has a Master degree in Mathematics. She’s been interested in Buddhism for many years and the practice and study of Dharma is one of her priorities.
Erica enjoys dancing, going to the gym, and trying new vegan recipes. She’s been working for the program since 2015 and knows Bodhgaya and the community well. She speaks Spanish and English, and has studied basic Tibetan and Hindi.


Wellness Coordinator


Teaching Assistant and Resident Adviser

The Teaching Assistant and Resident Adviser will be announced in early June.


Sengcham Drukmo headshot
Sengcham Drukmo

Assistant Vihar Manager

Sengcham Drukmo is from Kathmandu, Nepal. She completed her studies at Cardinal Int’l Boarding High School in Pharping. She then studied at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Boudhanath, Nepal, where she took courses in Classical Tibetan, TSTD, and the Summer Intensive Program until 2018. From 2019-2022, she embarked on the traditional three-year retreat in the Tröma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism at Lotus Dharma Garden Retreat Center, Dollu, Pharping under the guidance of Loppon Jigme Rinpoche. After exiting retreat, she began helping students on the Carleton Buddhist Studies in India program who went to Nepal for their Independent Study Projects. She is fluent in Nepali, Tibetan, Hindi, and English.


Yoga Instructor

pritee choyal headshot
Pritee Choyal

Pritee Choyal is a dedicated Yoga practitioner and instructor with a profound background in both Commerce and Yoga. She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Commerce, establishing a strong foundation in business studies during her early career years. However, her lifelong passion for Yoga led her to pursue further education in this field. Pritee obtained a Diploma in Yoga Education and a Master of Science (MSc) in Yoga from renowned institutions in India, including Kaivalyadhama and SVYASA University, drawing from over 20 years of personal practice.

For the past four years, Pritee has been actively teaching Yoga to students from India and around the world. Her sessions encompass various Yoga disciplines such as Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga. Pritee’s approach emphasizes a holistic understanding of Yoga, integrating traditional principles with modern applications. She is committed to promoting holistic well-being and mindfulness through her teaching and practice.