Natchapol Sirisawad of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand accepted the Khyentse Foundation Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies at a ceremony on October 10, 2013 at the university’s Library of the Faculty of Arts. Sirisawad’s father and members of the selection committee also attended the ceremony.
Sirisawad completed a Master of Arts degree in Pali and Sanskrit in May 2013, and is now continuing his study of Indian paleography (the study of ancient writing) and Sanskrit epigraphy (the study of inscriptions) as a basis for a doctoral degree.
A 25-year-old scholar of original Buddhist texts, Sirisawad focuses primarily on the principle of Lokapalas, or protectors of the directions, in the Theravadin, Mulasarvastivadin, and Mahasanghika traditions. In his Master’s thesis, Sirisawad suggests that the presence of Lokapalas in Buddhist scripture may have been influenced by its inherited Indian Brahmanic culture. This research culminated in two articles, to be published in the Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Arts Journal of Letters, January-June 2014 edition, and elsewhere. He also compiled the book Path to Nibbana (Abridged Edition), which presents the Vipassana practice of the four foundations of mindfulness.
In addition to his academic engagements, Sirisawad worked as a part-time assistant for the Henry Ginsburg Fund, a foundation that encourages the study of Pali, Thai, and Southeast Asian manuscripts and their related art, art history, and archaeology. He also attended the 15th World Sanskrit Conference and is a student member of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and will present his article entitled “The Relationship between Buddhism and Indigenous Beliefs and People as Reflected in the Names of Lokapalas” in the 17th Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies University of Vienna, Austria – August, 18 – 23, 2014.