JULY 2022


Eng Jin Ooi Receives 2022 KF Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation in Buddhist Studies

Eng Jin Ooi, of the Department of Humanities, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of Mahidol University, received this year’s award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation in Buddhist Studies for Asia for his dissertation, Transmission of the Milindapañha with a Comparative Analysis of the Siamese Recensions.

 In  his letter of recommendation, Associate Professor Pagorn Singsuriya, head of the Department of Humanities, wrote, “Eng Jin’s thesis is a product of original research in the Pāli language and it significantly advances the understanding of scriptures. This is also the first time such comparative studies have been done on any particular Pāli text. The work has contributed immensely to the history of Pāli literature, codicology, and ethics.”

The KF Dissertation Award Asia Committee echoes Dr. Singsuriya with this  excerpt from a reviewer’s report. “This extensive and well-researched article certainly merits publication after some revisions. The author has provided an original, meticulously presented analysis of the Siamese textual tradition of the Milindapañha, along with its broader context in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, India, and China. The result is [the] first substantial piece of research to not only describe in detail the ways in which printed Siamese recension of the Milindapañha differs so stridently from the Pali Text Society’s Romanised edition, but also to provide a well-evidenced account of how this recension developed through the combination of various textual lineages found in manuscript form between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.”

Above: Eng Jin (right) with his supervisor, Professor Peter Skilling at Professor Skilling’s home library, which contains books on Milindapañha and Buddhist studies.

Eng Jin shared with us his thoughts on receiving the award. “I am indeed honored and grateful to be selected as the recipient of this year’s Khyentse Foundation Dissertation Award. It’s a pleasure to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to my supervisor, Professor Peter Skilling, whose vast expertise and selfless efforts have helped me navigate the intricate terrain of South East Asia Buddhism, manuscripts traditions, and textual studies. I am indebted to him for his patience in encouraging me in academic research. I am deeply indebted to my primary supervisor Dr. Giuliano Giustarini and my secondary supervisor Assistant Professor Kengo Harimoto for their invaluable support and advice, to the academic team at Mahidol University who has supported me along my journey, to the selection committee for recognizing my work, to my family and friends, and to Khyentse Foundation for making this possible. This award encourages and inspires me to continue my efforts to understand and contribute to the field of Buddhist textual transmission and history.”

Congratulations to Eng Jin! We wish him the best in his future endeavors in Buddhist studies and research.

The US$8,000 award is presented in alternate years in Asia and Europe to the author of an outstanding PhD dissertation in the field of Buddhist studies during the previous two academic years. The dissertation must be based on original research in the relevant primary language, and it should significantly advance understanding of the subject or Buddhist scriptures studied.


The next round of nominations for the Khyentse Foundation Outstanding PhD Dissertation Award will be open from October 1 through December 31, 2022. Accredited institutions that offer PhD programs in Buddhist studies or religious studies in Europe are invited to nominate one dissertation that was completed during the academic years 2021-2022.

For full information, go to the KF awards page.