Department of Religion
Swarthmore College
Swarthmore, PA 19081

Office - (610) 690-6863
Home - (610) 543-2459


Fax: 610-328-7687 


  • Charles & Harriet Cox McDowell Professor of Religion, 1992-present
  • Eugene M. Lang Research Professor, Swarthmore College, 1987-1992
  • Chairperson, Dept. of Religion, Swarthmore College, 1986-1991
  • Prof., Swarthmore College, 1975-present (Acting Chairperson, 1979-80, 1992-93, Spring 1997, 1999-2000)
  • Assoc. Prof., Swarthmore College, 1970-75 (Acting Chairperson, 1973-74)
  • Acting Assoc. Prof., University of Pennsyvania, 1970-72
  • Ass't. Prof., Oberlin College, 1965-70
  • Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2002-2004
  • Hershey Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, Harvard University, 2000-2001
  • Brown University, "Justice and Compassion in Buddhism and Christianity," Summer, 1996. NEH Summer Seminar for college teachers co-taught with Professor John P. Reeder
  • Numata Distinguished Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, University of Hawaii, Fall Term, 1993-94
  • Adjunct Professor of Religion, Temple University, (1992-present)
  • Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania, (1979-1993)
  • Princeton University, Ph.D., 1967; M.A., 1965; A.B., 1956 (Cum Laude)
  • Yale University Divinity School, S.T.M., 1963; B.D., 1962
  • Fulbright (CIES) Senior Research Fellowship for a study of the Buddha Image Consecration Ceremony, Northern Thailand, 1989-90
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1994; Fulbright-Hayes Research Fellowship, 1994. A study of Sacred Mountain Traditions in Thailand and SE Asia.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Fellowship for College Teachers, 1998-99. To complete the monograph on Sacred Mountain Traditions in Thailand and SE Asia
  • Henry Luce Foundation, 2001-2004, in support of a study of Christian Identity in Buddhist Thailand. During this period I shall teach in the Fall at Swarthmore and work on this project the remainder of the year.
  • Association for Asian Studies, Board of Directors and Southeast Asia Council, 1977-80; Nominating Committee, 1979-80
  • American Academy of Religion (Vice-President, Middle Atlantic Region, 1971-72)
  • American Society for the Study of Religion
  • Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies (Board of Directors, 1994-1998)
  • Forum for Religion and Ecology (Board of Advisors, 1998-present)
  • Religious Pluralism Project (Board of Advisors, 1998-present)
  • Assistant Editor, Journal of Asian Studies, 1978-80
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Religious Ethics, 1978-1993
  • Editorial Board, Crossroads. An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 1988-present.
  • Consulting Editor, Buddhist-Christian Studies, 1981-present.
  • Book Review Editor for Southeast Asia, Religious Studies Review, 1985-1993.
  • Editorial Board, Curzon Press, "Critical Studies in Buddhism," 2000-present
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Religious Ethics, 1978-1993, 2002-

2004 Becoming the Buddha: The Ritual of Image Consecration in Thailand. Princeton University Press
2004 Sacred Mountains of Northern Thailand and Their Legends. Sommai Premchit and Phaitun Dokbuakaew. Chiang Mai, Thailand: Silkworm Books
2000 The State of Budhist Studies in the World, 1972-1997. , eds. Donald
K. Swearer and Somparn Promta Bangkok: Center for Buddhist Studies, Chulalongkorn University
1998 The Legend of Queen Cama. Camadevivamsa [with Sommai Premchit] 
Albany: State University of New York Press. 
1997 Secrets of the Lotus: Studies in Buddhist Meditation. Delhi: Sunil Gupta. Indian edition of the 1971 Macmillan publication with a new introduction.
1995 The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Articles, Book Chapters, Encyclopedia Entries .
2003 "Theravada Buddhist Societies," in Global Religion. A Handbook, ed. Mark Juergensmeer. Oxford: Oxford University Press
2003 "Aniconism vs. Iconism in Thai Buddhism," in Buddhism and Modernity, ed. Steven Heine and Charles Prbish. Oxford: Oxford University Press
2003 "In the Presence of the Buddha," in Approaching the Dhamma: Buddhist Texts and Practices in South and Southeast Asia, ed. Anne M. Blackburn & Jeffrey Samuels. Seattle: PBS Pariyatti Editions, pp. 91-104
2003 "Buddhism and Abortion," in Socially Engaged Spirtuality: Essays in Honor of Sulak Sivaraksa on His 70th Birthday, ed. David W. Chappell. Bangkok: Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation
2002 "Phra Dhammapitaka on Buddhism and Abortion," Pannya (Knowledge), 10, no. 47 (Feb-Mar, 2002), pp. 47-51 (Pt. I), 10, 48 (Mar-May, 2002), pp. 51-57 (Pt. II)
2001 2001 "Principles and Poetry, Places and Stories: The Resources of Buddhist 
Ecology, " Daedalus, 30, no. 4 (Fall, 2001), 225-241
2000 "Introduction: Issues and Themes in International Buddhist Studies," in The State of Buddhist Studies in the World, 1972-1997, eds. Donald K. Swearer and Somparn Promta. Bangkok: Center for Buddhist Studies, Chulalongkorn University, pp. Viii-xxv. 
"Buddhadasa," in Encyclopedia of Monasticism, ed. William M. Johnston 
and Claire Rankin. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers
"Creating and Disseminating the Sacred," in The Life of Buddhism, ed. 
Frank E. Reynolds & Jason A. Carbine. Berkeley: University of 
California Press, 26-43. 
1999 "Dhammapitaka on Monks and the Forest," in Socially Engaged Buddhism for the New Millenium: Essays in Honor of the Ven. Phra Dhammapitaka Bangkok: Santhirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation and Foundation for Children, pp. 459-469.
"Center and Periphery: Buddhism and Politics in Modern Thailand," Buddhism and Politics in Modern Asia, ed. Ian Harris. London: Pinter-Cassell, 1999), pp. 194-228.
"Buddha Loves Me This I Know, For the Dhamma Tells Me So," Journal of Buddhist-Christian Studies, 19 (1999), 113-120
1998 "Buddhist Virtue, Voluntary Poverty, and Extensive Benevolence," Journal of Religious Ethics, 26:1 (Spring, 1998), 71-103
"Buddhism and Ecology: Challenge and Promise," Earth Ethics 10:1pp. 19-22. 1999 "
1997 "The Worldliness of Buddhism," The Wilson Quarterly (Spring), pp. 81-93.
"Buddhist Views on Mission and Dialogue: A Response," Journal of Buddhist-Christian Studies, 17, (1997), pp. 114-117.
"The Hermeneutics of Buddhist Ecology in Contemporary Thailand: Buddhadasa and 
Dhammapitaka," in Buddhism and Ecology, eds. Mary Ellen Tucker and Duncan Williams. Cambridge: Harvard University,Press, pp. 21-44. 
"Rights Because of Intrinsic Nature or Responsibilities Because of Mutual Interdependence?." In Buddhist Perspectives on the Earth Charter. Cambridge: Boston Research Center, pp. 87-91.
1996 "Bhikkhu Buddhadasa's Interpretation of the Buddha," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, LXIV/2 (Fall, 1996), pp. 91-114
"Green Theology and Democratic Ecology," Religion & Values in Public Life (Harvard Divinity School), vol. 4, no. 4 (Summer, 1996), pp.15-16. 
1995 Hypostasizing the Buddha: Buddha Image Consecration in Northern Thailand," History of Religions, Feb., 1995, pp. 263-280
Buddhism in Practice, ed. Donald Lopez Jr. Princeton: Princeton University Press
(1)"The Seven Abhidhamma Books Summarized" [Abhidhamma Ruam] 
(2)"Consecrating the Buddha" [Buddha Abhiseka]
(3)"Bimba's Lament" [Bimba Bilap]
(4)"Meditation' [Bhavana] by Bhikkhu Paññavamsa
(5)"True Giving" [Hai Dana Thi Mai Sia Ngen] by Bhikkhu Buddhadasa 

I teach a wide ranges of courses in comparative and Asian religions. My current major interest is in the field of comparative religious ethics. My course, Buddhist Social Ethics, and honors seminar, Religious Belief and Moral Action, are in this area. My major field of research is Buddhism in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. I've just completed a book on the Buddha image consecration ritual, and am currently finishing a study of sacred mountain traditions in Southeast Asia. Another area of interest is Buddhist-Christian dialogue. My books in this area include Dialogue: The Key to Understanding Other Religions and For the Sake of the World: The Spirit of Buddhist-Christian Monasticism that I co-authored with a former Swarthmore colleague, Patrick Henry. In 2002 I'll begin a new project in this area that I'm calling, "Christian Identity in Buddhist Thailand."