Bio


Professor Kieschnick specializes in Chinese Buddhism, with particular emphasis on its cultural history. He is the author of the Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval China and the Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture. He is currently working on a book on Buddhist interpretations of the past in China, and a primer for reading Buddhist texts in Chinese.

John is chair of the Department of Religious Studies and director of the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford.

Ph.D., Stanford University (1996); B.A., University of California at Berkeley (1986).

Academic Appointments


  • Professor, Religious Studies

Administrative Appointments


  • Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford (2016 - Present)
  • The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Professor in Buddhist Studies, Stanford (2012 - Present)
  • Professor, Department of Chinese Culture, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2011 - 2012)
  • Reader in Buddhist Studies, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol (2007 - 2011)
  • Lecturer in Buddhist Studies, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol (2005 - 2007)
  • Associate Research Fellow, Institute of History & Philology, Academia Sinica (2005 - 2005)
  • Visiting professor, Religious Studies Department, National Chengchi University (2005 - 2005)
  • Associate Research Fellow, Institute of History & Philology, Academia Sinica (2003 - 2005)
  • Program Director, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (2003 - 2005)
  • Assistant Research Fellow, Institute of History & Philology, Academia Sinica (2002 - 2003)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for International & Intercultural Studies, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (2002 - 2003)
  • Associate Research Fellow, Institute of History & Philology, Academia Sinica (2001 - 2005)
  • Assistant Research Fellow, Institute of History & Philology, Academia Sinica (1996 - 2001)
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Center for Chinese Studies, University of California at Berkeley (1995 - 1996)
  • Instructor, Department of Asian Languages, Stanford University (1995 - 1995)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Managing Editor, Asia Major (semi-annual sinological journal founded in 1923) (1997 - 2010)
  • Member, Editorial board for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (2005 - 2007)
  • Member, Editorial Board for Buddhist Studies Review (2006 - 2011)
  • Member, Editorial Board for Asia Major (2010 - Present)
  • Manuscript Reviewer, University of Hawaii Press (2013 - 2013)
  • Referee, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation in Taiwan
  • Referee, National Science Council of Taiwan
  • Referee, British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom
  • Referee, Israel Science Foundation
  • Referee, Research Council of Canada
  • Referee, National Research Council of Hong Kong
  • Reviewer, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
  • Reviewer, Blackwell
  • Reviewer, University of Columbia Press
  • Reviewer, History of Religions
  • Reviewer, Journal of Chinese Studies
  • Reviewer, Journal of the American Academy Religion
  • Reviewer, Bulletin of the School of African and Oriental Studies
  • Reviewer, University of British Columbia Press
  • Reviewer, Xin shixue
  • Reviewer, Cambridge University Press
  • Reviewer, University of Hawaii Press
  • Reviewer, Material Religion
  • Reviewer, Zhongyang yanjiuyuan Lishi yuyan suo jikan
  • Reviewer, Asia Major
  • Reviewer, Religions of South Asia
  • Reviewer, Hanxue Yanjiu
  • Reviewer, Journal of the American Oriental Society
  • Reviewer, Journal of Chinese Religions

Program Affiliations


  • Center for East Asian Studies

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Asian Languages (1995)
  • M.A., Stanford University, Asian Languages (1988)
  • B.A., University of California at Berkeley (1986)

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Review of Graham Lock and Gary S. Linebarger, Chinese Buddhist Texts: An Introductory Reader Kieschnick, J. H-Buddhism. 2018
  • Review of Lothar Ledderose, Buddhist Stone Scriptures in China Kieschnick, J. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 2016 ; Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (78, no.3): 686–688
  • Review of Jimmy Yu, Sanctity and Self-inflicted Violence in Chinese Religion 1500-1700 Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies Kieschnick, J. 2013
  • India in the Chinese Imagination Kieschnick, J. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2013
  • Review of Paul Katz, Divine Justice. Religion and the Development of Chinese Legal Culture Ecclesiastical Law Journal Kieschnick, J. 2011; 13: 114 - 116
  • Buddhism: Biographies of Eminent Monks Oxford History of Historical Writing Kieschnick, J. edited by Hardy, G. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2011: 535–552
  • Buddhist Monasteries: Classification, Layout and Iconography Early Chinese Religion, Part Two Li, Y., Translated by Kieschnick, J. edited by Lagerwey, J. Leiden: Brill. 2010: 575–738
  • The Buddhist Pantheon in the Six Dynasties Early Chinese Religion, Part Two: The Period of Division (228 - 589 AD) Hou, X., Translated by Kieschnick, J. edited by Lagerwey, J. Leiden: Brill. 2010: 1095–1168
  • Reflections on the sinification of Buddhism Zhongguo shi xinlun. Zongjiaoshi fence Kieschnick, J. edited by Lin, F. Taipei: Lianjing. 2010: 259–274
  • Reinventing the Wheel: Paintings of Rebirth in Medieval Buddhist Temples (Book Review) HARVARD JOURNAL OF ASIATIC STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Kieschnick, J. 2009; 69 (1): 234-239
  • Reflecting Mirrors. Perspectives on Huayan Buddhism (Book Review) ACTA ORIENTALIA Book Review Authored by: Kieschnick, J. 2009; 62 (1): 119-121
  • Review of T.H Barrett, The Woman Who Discovered Printing Journal of Chinese Religions Kieschnick, J. 2009; 36: 119 - 121
  • How Zen Became Zen. The Dispute over Enlightment and the formation of Chan Buddhism in Son-Dynasty Song-Yuan Studies Kieschnick, J. 2009; 40: 150 - 154
  • Review of Christine Mollier, Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face. Scripture, Ritual and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China Etudes Chinoises Kieschnick, J. 2009; 28
  • State and Local Cults in Han Religion Early Chinese Religion, Part One: Shang through Han (1250 B. C - 220 A.D.) Bujard, M., Translated by Kieschnick, J. edited by Lagerwey, J., Kalinowski, M. Leiden: Brill. 2009: 777–811
  • Buddhist Monasticism Early Chinese Religion Kieschnick, J. edited by Lagerwey, J. Leiden: Brill. 2009: 545–574
  • Review of Fabio Rambelli, Buddhist Materiality. A Cultural History of Objects in Japanese Buddhism History of Religions Kieschnick, J. 2009; 49 (2): 211 - 214
  • Inventing Hui-Neng, the Sixth Patriach. Hagiography and Biography in Early Ch'an T'oung Pao Kieschnick, J. 2007; 93: 214 - 217
  • Donors of Longmen Buddhist Studies Review Kieschnick, J. 2007; 24 (2): 247 - 250
  • Zen Classics. Formative Texts in the History of Zen Buddhism Budhist Studies Review Kieschnick, J. 2007; 24 (2): 256 - 257
  • Celibacy in East Asian Buddhism Celibacy and Religious Traditions Kieschnick, J. edited by Olson, C. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007: 225–240
  • Material Culture The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion Kieschnick, J. edited by Corrigan, J. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007: 223–237
  • Buddhism War, and Nationalism. Chinese Monks in the Struggle against Japanese Aggressions, 1931-1945 Buddhist Studies Review Kieschnick, J. 2006; 22 (2): 208 - 210
  • Review of Dorothy Wong, Chinese Steles. Pre-Buddhist and Buddhist Use of a Symbolic form Joumal of Chinese Religions Kieschnick, J. 2005; 33: 223 - 224
  • A History of Buddhist Vegetarianism in China Of Tripod and Palate: Food, Politics and Religion in Traditional China Kieschnick, J. edited by Sterckx, R. New York Palgrave-Macmillan Press. 2005: 86–212
  • Relics of the Buddha The Historian Kieschnick, J. 2005; 67 (4): 782 - 783
  • Gaoseng zhuan Six Dynasties Handbook Kieschnick, J. edited by Dien, A. E. 2004
  • Biqiuni zhuan Six Dynasties Handbook Kieschnick, J. edited by Dien, A. E. 2004
  • Biographies of Eminent Monks The Encyclopedia of Buddhism Kieschnick, J. edited by Buswell, R. E. New York: Macmillan. 2004
  • Daoxuan The Encyclopedia of Buddhism Kieschnick, J. edited by Buswell, R. E. New York: Macmillan. 2004
  • Monks and monarchs, kinship and kingship. Tanqian in Sui-Buddhism and politics (Book Review) BULLETIN OF THE SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES-UNIVERSITY OF LONDON Book Review Authored by: Kieschnick, J. 2004; 67: 109-112
  • Xu gaoseng zhuan Six Dynasties Handbook Kieschnick, J. edited by Dien, A. E. 2004
  • Lives of Eminent Monks and Nuns Buddhist Scriptures Translated by Kieschnick, J. edited by Lopez, D. S. London: Penguin Books. 2004: 285–296
  • Monks The Encyclopedia of Buddhism Kieschnick, J. edited by Buswell, R. E. New York: Macmillan. 2004
  • Miracles The Encyclopedia of Buddhism Kieschnick, J. edited by Buswell, R. E. New York: Macmillan. 2004
  • Review of Stanley K. Abe, Ordinary Images Journal of Chinese Religions Kieschnick, J. 2003; 31: 185 - 186
  • The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture Kieschnick, J. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2003
  • Reduce desires, the emptiness of all things, and perfect adornment: attitudes toward the material world in Chinese Buddhism Siyuan caifu yu shinu gongyang Kieschnick, J. edited by Hu, S. Shanghai: Shanghai Shuhua Chubanshe. 2003: 35–47
  • Review of Marsha Weidner ed., Cultural Intersections in Later Chinese Buddhism Journal of Chinese Religions Kieschnick, J. 2003; 31: 305 - 308
  • The Role of Buddhism in the History of the Chinese Bridge Third International Conference on Sinology, History Section Kieschnick, J. 2002: 1–25
  • The Role of Buddhism in the History of the Chinese Bridge Economic History, Urban Culture and Material Culture Kieschnick, J. 2002
  • Review of Chun-fang Yu, Kuan-yin. The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies Kieschnick, J. 2002; 62 (1): 205 - 210
  • The Bodhidharma anthology: The earliest records of Zen (Book Review) JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ORIENTAL SOCIETY Book Review Authored by: Kieschnick, J. 2001; 121 (1): 152-153
  • Review of Peter Burke, The Art of Conversation Xin shi xue Kieschnick, J. 2000; 11 (1): 209 - 213
  • The Symbolism of the Monk's Robe in China Asia Major Kieschnick, J. 2000; 12 (1): 9 - 32
  • Blood Writing in Chinese Buddhism Joumal of the lnternational Association of Buddhist Studies Kieschnick, J. 2000; 23 (2): 177 - 194
  • Review of Hao Chunwen Tang houqi Songchu Dunhuang sengni de shehui sheghuo Joumal of the American Oriental Society Kieschnick, J. 2000; 120 (3): 477 - 478
  • Buddhism and the history of the chair BULLETIN OF THE INSTITUTE OF HISTORY AND PHILOLOGY ACADEMIA SINICA Kieschnick, J. 1998; 69: 727-763
  • The Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals Medieval Chinese Hagiography Kieschnick, J. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 1997
  • Review of Jacques Gemet, Buddhism in Chinese Society China Review International Kieschnick, J. 1996; 3 (2): 418 - 422
  • Review of Kathryn Ann Tsai, Lives of the Nuns: Biographies of Chinese Buddhist Nuns from the Fourth to Sixth Centuries China Review International Kieschnick, J. 1994; 1 (2): 273 - 275
  • 'ANALECTS' 12.1 AND THE COMMENTARIAL TRADITION JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ORIENTAL SOCIETY Kieschnick, J. 1992; 112 (4): 567-576
  • Analects 12.1 and the Commentarial Tradition Journal of the American Oriental Society Kieschnick, J. 1992; 112 (4): 567 - 576