Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp

Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp

Professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies
Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp

Research Interests: Buddhist Studies, Tibet, Himalayan Studies, Indo-Tibetan Intellectual History, Sino-Tibetan and Mongol-Tibetan Relations.


Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp is Professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies and chairs the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies. Best known for his studies of Buddhist epistemology, he is the author of numerous works on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. Recent publications include An Early Tibetan Survey of Buddhist Literature (Vol. 64, Harvard Oriental Series, 2008), co-authored with K. R. Schaeffer, and Bcom ldan ral gri (1227-1305) on Buddhist Epistemology and Logic: His Commentary on Dignāga's Pramāṇasamuccaya, (Heft 80, Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, 2013), co-authored with A. McKeown, and numerous articles [see his website at academia.edu]. Van der Kuijp’s research focuses primarily on the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist thought, Tibetan Buddhist intellectual history, and premodern Sino-Tibetan and Tibeto-Mongol political and religious relations. He teaches two courses in the 2019 Spring term: a reading class of Sa skya Paṇḍita's (1182-1251) Sgra la 'jug pa'i sgo, Introduction to [Indo-Tibetan] Linguistics and a reading class of Klong chen Rab 'byams pa's (1308-1364) Bsam gtan ngal gso, a work that inter alia deals with how the environment affects one's meditative practice as an introduction to Tibetan "environmental humanities."


Van der Kuijp received his BA Hons. and MA degrees from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and his doctorate from the University of Hamburg, Germany. He joined the faculty at Harvard in 1995. He is the former chair of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies (now the Department of South Asian Studies). In 1993 van der Kuijp received the MacArthur Fellowship for "pioneering contributions to the study of Tibetan epistemology, biography and poetry." Van der Kuijp worked with the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project at the Nepal Research Center, Kathmandu, and taught at the Free University, Berlin, and at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1999, he helped the late E. Gene Smith found the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC, now BDRC). In 2016, he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. In September 17, 2018, he was elected foreign member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Contact Information

Harvard University
The Department of South Asian Studies
1 Bow St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

office hours: see Department of South Asian Studies
p: 617-496-6871

Methodologies and Approaches