Magee was the author of several books and articles including The Nature of Things: Emptiness and Essence in the Geluk World, and is co-author of Fluent Tibetan: A Proficiency-Oriented Learning System. He was an Associate Professor at Dharma Drum Buddhist College in Jinshan, Taiwan. He is currently teaching at Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon.
Magee served as Vice-President of the UMA Institute for Tibetan Studies. (Source Accessed April 1, 2020)
OBITUARY FROM 22 FEBRUARY, 2023 (by Paul Hackett on H-Buddhism):
It is with great sadness that I must inform you that William Magee passed away at his home in Portland (OR) last night, peacefully, and in the company of his friends and family.
Known as “Bill” to his friends and colleagues alike, Bill Magee began his studies of the Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy in the mid-1980s with the ven. Geshe Jampel Thardo, for whom he subsequently served as translator. Shortly afterward, Bill entered the Ph.D. program of studies in Tibetan Buddhism at the University of Virginia under Jeffrey Hopkins, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1998, writing his dissertation on the subject of “nature” (svabhāva / prakṛti) in the thought of Nāgārjuna, Candrakīrti, and Tsong-kha-pa.
Over the years, Bill taught at the Namgyal Institute in Ithaca, New York, at Dharma Drum Buddhist College in Jinshan, Taiwan, and at Maitripa College in Portland, Oregon. He is perhaps most well-known, however, for teaching the Summer Tibetan Language Intensive courses at the University of Virginia from 1988 to 2000, during which time he taught the fundamentals of the Tibetan language to hundreds of students, many of whom would go on to pursue advanced studies in the field.
Bill was renown for jovial disposition and his kindness and generosity toward others, routinely opening his home to students and monks alike, and with his wife, Rabia, generously cared for, fed, and housed any and all who appeared at their door.
Even after retiring from teaching the summer language intensives at UVa, throughout the years that followed, Bill’s passion for the Tibetan language remained, and during the COVID pandemic, Bill used his personal funds to revive the Dharma Farm institute (thedharmafarm.net) and began offering free classes online in Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy.
Bill continued to translate and publish research on Buddhist philosophy, authoring several works on the thought of Jamyang Shepa (1648-1721), and publishing them freely online under the auspices of Jeffrey Hopkins’s UMA Institute (uma-tibet.org).
Bill is survived by his wife (Rabia), his son (Tristan), and his daughter (Meri). He was 72 years old.
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Affiliations & relations
- Maitripa College · workplace affiliation
- UMA Institute for Tibetan Studies · secondary affiliation
- https://uma-tibet.org/author-magee.html · websites