Sheehy, M.

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Michael Sheehy

Michael R. Sheehy is a Research Assistant Professor in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Director of Scholarship at the Contemplative Sciences Center, and affiliated faculty with the Tibet Center at the University of Virginia. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Tibet, including three years training in a Buddhist monastery in the far eastern cultural domain of Golok. Michael’s research interests include Buddhist philosophy of mind, practices of contemplation, and the history of thought and science in Tibet. His writings and translations have given attention to histories of marginalized lineages in Tibet, most notably the zhentong (gzhan stong) and Kālacakra lineages of the Jonang order of Tibetan Buddhism.

For over a decade, through extensive collaborations with monastic communities, Michael worked on-the-ground to digitally preserve rare Tibetan manuscripts across the plateau. From 2008 to 2016, he was the editor-in-chief and research director at the Buddhist Digital Resource Center (formerly the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, TBRC). He worked closely with the late Tibetologist E. Gene Smith (1936-2010) to digitize Tibetan literature, develop scholarly resources, and architect the encyclopedic digital library. In 2004, together with Jonangpa exemplars, he founded the Jonang Foundation, an international nonprofit that preserves and promotes research on the Jonang order of Tibetan Buddhism.

Michael’s current research focus is contexts and dynamics of Tibetan contemplative practices. Most broadly, his interest lies in questions about how Buddhism, and Tibetan contemplative traditions more specifically, can contribute to discourses in the humanities, cognitive science, and cultural psychology about consciousness and its transformations. He is particularly interested in Tibetan contemplative practices of attention, dream, imagination and visualization, and embodiment as detailed in Tibetan yoga and meditation manuals.

He recently coedited with Klaus-Dieter Mathes (Vienna University) the book, The Other Emptiness: Rethinking the Zhentong Buddhist Discourse in Tibet (SUNY Press 2019), an anthology of scholarship on the history, literature, and philosophy of zhentong in Tibet. With David Germano, he is Series Editor of the Traditions and Transformations in Tibetan Buddhism and the Contemplative Sciences book series published by the University of Virginia Press.

Recent publications include:

  • "The Philosophical Grounds and Literary History of Zhentong." 2019. Co-authored with Klaus-Dieter Mathes. In The Other Emptiness: Rethinking the Zhentong Buddhist Discourse in Tibet. Edited by Michael R. Sheehy and Klaus Dieter-Mathes. State University of New York Press. (Click here to read)
  • "The Dharma of the Perfect Eon: Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsan’s (1292-1361) Hermeneutics of Time and the Jonang Doxography of Zhentong Madhyamaka." 2019. In The Other Emptiness: Rethinking the Zhentong Buddhist Discourse in Tibet. Edited by Michael R. Sheehy and Klaus Dieter-Mathes. State University of New York Press.
  • "The Zhentong Lion Roars: Dzamthang Khenpo Lodro Drakpa (1920-1975) and the Jonang Scholastic Renaissance." 2019. In The Other Emptiness: Rethinking the Zhentong Buddhist Discourse in Tibet. Edited by Michael R. Sheehy and Klaus Dieter-Mathes. State University of New York Press.
  • "Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen on Refraining from Meat." 2019. In The Faults of Meat: Tibetan Buddhist Writings on Vegetarianism. Edited by Geoff Barstow. Boston: Wisdom Publications.
  • "Traversing the Path of Meditation." 2017. In A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from Rimé Masters of Tibet. Ed. Holly Gayley and Joshua Schapiro. Wisdom Publications: Boston, MA.

6 Library Items


Affiliations & relations

  • University of Virginia · workplace affiliation
  • Jonang Foundation · secondary affiliation
  • Jonang · religious affiliation
  • http://www.michaelrsheehy.com · websites