Khyentse Foundation is pleased to announce that Mao Yufan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong is the 2016 winner of the KF Award for Outstanding Dissertations in Buddhist Studies for his thesis, “A Debate on the Reality of External Objects in Late Indian Buddhist Philosophy.” The $8,000 award is presented by Khyentse Foundation every two years to the best PhD dissertation in the field of Buddhist Studies written in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan during the previous two academic years. The dissertation must be based on original research in the relevant primary language or languages, and it should significantly advance our understanding of the subject or Buddhist scriptures studied.
Mao Yufan’s thesis meets those two objectives. According to Professor Saerji, a member of the selection committee, “It has clear explanations, deep analysis, and annotated translation, and is certain to contribute to our understanding of late Indian Buddhist Philosophy.” The thesis focuses on two texts: The Establishment of External Objects (Bāhyārthasiddhikārikā), written by Śubhagupta; and the chapter “The Examination of the External Objects (Bahirarthaparīkṣā)” in the Commentary on the Summary of Truth (Tattvasangrahapañjikā), written by Shāntarakshita and his disciple Kamalaśīla.
“Strengthening Buddhist studies at the university level is critical for the survival of Buddhism in the world. Academic Buddhist study is the insurance for Buddhist study and practice in the future.”
— Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Emphasizing Mao Yufan’s solid scholarship and research methodology, Venerable Professor Dhammajoti, KF Fellow and member of the selection committee, said “This thesis deals with a relatively difficult topic involving Buddhist epistemological and ontological argumentations. It is based on solid primary Sanskrit and Tibetan sources, and has consulted Japanese and English secondary sources.”
Khyentse Foundation sponsors a similar award for dissertations written in Europe. Accredited institutions that offer PhD programs in Buddhist Studies or Religious Studies in Europe, including the UK, are invited to nominate one dissertation that was submitted and/or examined in the academic years 2014-15 or 2015-16. Nominations will be accepted from October 1 through December 31, 2016.
This is the second dissertation to receive the Asian KF Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation in Buddhist Studies. The first winner was Dr. Chao Tung-Ming of National Taiwan University. If circumstances permit, the recipient of the award will be invited to give a lecture based on his or her dissertation at an institution selected by Khyentse Foundation.