Fruition of many years of collaboration, a major step towards filling the Khyentse Chair in Tibetan Buddhism. Khyentse Foundation and the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California at Berkeley are delighted to announce that Jacob Dalton, a specialist in Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhist Tantra, has accepted an Assistant Professor position at UC Berkeley. Dalton, currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University, will hold a joint appointment in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies. This appointment is the result of an exciting and fruitful collaboration between UC Berkeley’s Buddhist Studies program and the Khyentse Foundation that began in 2003. This collaboration resulted in the gift of a one million dollar endowment to establish a new Khyentse Chair in Tibetan Buddhism. The provisions of the gift stipulate that, in the event that Berkeley make a junior level appointment (such as is the case with Jacob Dalton), the proceeds from the endowment will be used to develop and expand the program in Tibetan Buddhism at Berkeley. In addition to funding faculty research, over the next several years the Khyentse gift will be used to create a new annual lecture series in Tibetan Buddhism, as well as to support long and short term visits by specialists in Tibetan Buddhism. (The visitors will be known as Khyentse Visiting Professors.) Last, but not least, the gift will be used to provide scholarship funds for graduate students with a research focus on Tibetan Buddhism. The Khyentse gift will thus have a momentous impact at Berkeley; not only was it instrumental in creating a new faculty position, but it will also fund a host of innovative programming and research initiatives now and into the future. Since graduates of the Berkeley Buddhist Studies Ph.D. program typically go on to hold professorships at major teaching and research institutions in North American and around the world, the Khyentse Foundation gift promises to have a far-reaching impact on the study and teaching of Tibetan Buddhism for years to come.
Jacob Dalton received his B.A. in Religious Studies from Marlboro College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Michigan. After working for three years (2002-05) as a researcher with the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library, he taught at Yale University (2005-2008). He works on Nyingma religious history, Tantric ritual, paleography, and Tibetan manuscripts from Dunhuang. He is the author of a forthcoming study on violence and the formation of Tibetan Buddhism, and coauthor of Tibetan Tantric Manuscripts from Dunhuang: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Stein Collection at the British Library (Brill, 2006). He is currently working on a history of Tibetan Buddhism, as seen through the eyes of the “Sutra Empowerment” (Mdo dbang) tradition of the Nyingma school.
Jacob will joining one of the largest and most dynamic Buddhist Studies doctoral programs in the world today. With the strong support of UC Berkeley’s administration, the Berkeley’s program in Buddhist Studies has been able to make five new faculty hires in the past five years. Berkeley’s “Group in Buddhist Studies”–the unit that oversees the doctoral program–will now consist of ten permanent faculty members (in addition to various annual visitors), whose collective expertise covers the vast literary and art-historical legacy of all of the major Asian Buddhist traditions. Jake Dalton’s personal message. “It was several years ago when I first heard about the collaboration between Khyentse Foundation and UC Berkeley. I already felt that Berkeley’s Buddhist Studies program was the most dynamic of its kind, and the addition of a Tibetan position seemed the perfect complement. That it would be named after Khyentse Rinpoche only made it more exciting. Now that I have been offered the Berkeley position, I feel both amazingly lucky and deeply grateful. A century and a half ago, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo transformed Buddhist education by returning to the roots of the teachings, breaking down sectarian boundaries, and renewing Buddhism for a changing world. Now Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche has extended this rich tradition into the west by bringing Tibetan Buddhist Studies to one of our top universities. As a practitioner of the Longchen Nyingtik in particular, I am truly humbled to hold a post named after such a great lineage of Buddhist teachers. I look forward to beginning my first classes in January, and to introducing my students to Tibetan Buddhism and its radically different ways of thinking.”