The University of Sydney Appoints KF-Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism

Khyentse Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Flavio A Geisshuesler as KF-Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism at the University of Sydney. This faculty position, the sixth in a KF series, is made possible through the Lynne Macready Education Fund, which KF established to support Buddhist education and practice in Australia. A longtime student of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Lynne sadly passed away in 2015 and magnanimously bequeathed a portion of her estate to the foundation.

Born in Switzerland, Flavio is the holder of two PhDs in the history of religions, the first from the University of Bern (2018) and the second from the University of Virginia (2019). Initially a student of Western philosophy, his focus later shifted to the study of contemplative practices in Indo-Tibetan religions, concentrating on Dzogchen, or the “Great Perfection.” Since completing his second PhD he has been a postdoctoral fellow in the departments of Comparative Religion and Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, supported by a number of fellowships, including a 2-year Khyentse Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2019.

Flavio A. Geisshuesler Photo by Gabriele Cantarella.

Flavio has published extensively. His completed manuscript for a book titled Tibetan Sky-Gazing Meditation and the Pre-History of Great Perfection Buddhism, based on his doctoral research, is currently in press with Bloomsbury Academic. Building on his earlier study of Dzogchen, his current research project, The Tantric Brain: A New Paradigm for Meditation Research, engages a broader range of contemplative systems in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism from an interdisciplinary perspective that includes textual, anthropological, and cognitive approaches.

To add to his deep knowledge of religions, Flavio is an accomplished linguist. Fluent in German and Italian, he has an advanced knowledge of English, French, Spanish, and Hebrew; modern Tibetan, Nepali, Hindi, and Urdu; and classical Tibetan and Sanskrit. He has an intermediate or basic knowledge of several other languages, including classical Chinese, Mongolian, and Pali.

Flavio A. Geisshuesler at the Azrieli Foundation conference for international postdoctoral fellows, Tel Aviv, May 2022. Photo by Shauli Lendner.

An experienced teacher, Flavio has taught at the universities of Virginia, Bern, Fribourg, and Basel, as well as at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His teaching interests are closely aligned with his research priorities. In his new role at the University of Sydney, which he will take up in early 2024, he will be able to offer language courses; introductory courses in the discipline of religious studies, Indo-Tibetan religions, and specific themes of relevance to the discipline; and more advanced courses related to his area of expertise.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s vision is to establish an endowed academic chair in Buddhist studies at a major university on each continent, and the KF-Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism is just one of six long-term academic positions that KF is currently supporting around the world. The first two KF chairs in Buddhist studies were established at the University of California at Berkeley, USA, in 2006 and at the University of Michigan, USA, in 2018. In more recent years, we sponsored four additional long-term faculty positions: at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany; at the International Buddhist College, Thailand; and the position at the University of Sydney.

“I am very pleased with Flavio’s appointment. He is an enthusiastic and energetic young scholar who already has a sophisticated understanding of Tibetan Buddhism in its many permutations. Besides commanding both classical and spoken Tibetan he also has Sanskrit, which is an important language for the study of Tibetan Buddhism and for Buddhist studies more generally. This will enable him to teach Sanskrit in our program, which was one of the requirements of the position. I am also pleased that his interests include the meditative traditions of Tibet, since we have wanted to develop a course in Buddhist meditation for some time. In short, Flavio will be a great addition to our Buddhist Studies program.”

— Dr. Mark Allon, associate professor of South Asian Buddhist studies, the University of Sydney

“Located in one of the world’s most multicultural cities, the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sydney aims to educate global citizens in an increasingly interconnected world. Thanks to Khyentse Foundation’s farsighted vision and generous support, students also receive the opportunity to delve into the rich cultural universe of Tibet, Central Asia, and the larger Himalayas. As KF-Macready Senior Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism, I am honored to play my part in this larger pedagogical mission. I am particularly excited to shape the coming generations of scholars of Buddhism by equipping them with vigorous philological-historical training while simultaneously encouraging them to ask fresh questions about the nature of religion, meditation, philosophy, or medicine.”

— Dr. Flavio Geisshuesler