Blumenthal, J.

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James Blumenthal(1967 - 2014)

Born in Los Angeles, Jim grew up in Southern California. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of San Diego and continued to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he finished his MA and PhD under the direction of the Tibetan Buddhist scholar/practitioner Geshe Lhundub Sopa. His graduate studies focused on the work of the Indian teacher Śāntarakṣita.

Both in his career as Associate Professor in the School of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oregon State University and as Professor of Buddhist Studies at Maitripa College, Jim displayed the rare combination of deep commitment to teaching and rigorous engagement as a research scholar. Even more unusually, Jim was able to produce scholarly texts that were valued equally by the academy and by Buddhist communities. He published analytical and translation works on Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism based upon this research, including The Ornament of The Middle Way: A Study of the Madhyamaka Thought of Śāntarakṣita (2004) and Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning (2004). With Geshe Sopa, he completed a translation of the 4th Chapter of the Lamrim Chenmo, and was pursuing the publication of a translation of Śāntarakṣita’s Madhyamakālaṃkāravṛtti.

Jim was a strong advocate for institutions of higher education that strive to integrate the knowledge base of Buddhist philosophy with meditative practice and service to the community. In 2004, Jim invited Yangsi Rinpoche to Portland, Oregon to speak to interested persons. In 2005, Jim began working alongside Yangsi Rinpoche, Namdrol Adams, and Angie Garcia on the founding of Maitripa Institute, soon to become Maitripa College, which seeks to embody those ideals. . . .

His main teachers were His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Geshe Lhundub Sopa Rinpoche, Jangtse Choje Rinpoche, Choden Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Yangsi Rinpoche, and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. (Source adapted from an obituary written by Namdrol Miranda Adams, Damcho Diana Finnegan, and Jim's wife, Tiffany)

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