I am a translator and writer on Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, working with texts in a number of the major Buddhist canonical languages, including Tibetan, Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali, Japanese and Mongolian.
Following a very early childhood interest in Buddhism and languages, I went on to study Japanese, Tibetan and Buddhism at the University of London. After graduation, I spent ten years in Japan doing post-graduate studies in Yogācāra and early Tantric Buddhism at Tohoku University in the 1970s. During my stay in Japan, I also became a monk in the Shingon School at Mount Koya and was the first Westerner ever to receive the full esoteric initiations there. On the Tibetan side of Buddhism, I also studied for many years with several leading masters of the Nyingma and Kagyü schools.
Following my return to the United Kingdom, I have been involved in a wide range of teaching activities at various Dharma centres, as well as lecturing at the University of London. I was also President of the European Buddhist Union during the mid-80s.
My principle interests in the Buddhological field focus on the key phases in the development of Indian Buddhism – pre-Nikayan Buddhism, the emergence of Mahayana, and the rise of Tantric Buddhism. I also have a keen interest in the neglected field of Buddhist lexicography.
On-going work currently includes a translation in English of a large portion of the Yogācāra-bhūmi-śāstra for the Numata Foundation series of translations from the Chinese canon, an Introduction to Reading Buddhist Chinese, as well as a complete translation and study of the Mahāyāna Mahā-parinirvāna-sūtra from Tibetan and the Chinese version by Faxian.
My main publications include:
Tibetan Divination (1998), An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism (Piatkus 1999), The Illustrated Tibetan Book of the Dead (Godsfield 2000), Atlantis (Piakus 2000), The Tibetan Alamanac (Eddison & Sadd), The Dead Sea Scrolls (Piatus 2001), Tao Te Ching (Stirling 2002), Zen Master Class (2002), An Introduction to Classical Tibetan (reprinted Orchid Press 2003), The Mahā-vairocana-abhisaṃbodhi-tantra (Routledge Curzon 2003), Oxford Dictionary of Buddhism ed. Damien Keown (OUP 2003) [Tibetan and non-Pali Indic entries]
"The greatest enemies of truth are those who think they have a monopoly of truth."
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The Faith-based Encyclopedia
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Advice for New Editors
But why should I contribute to an article ? I'm no expert. That's fine. The Wikipedia philosophy can be summed up thusly: "Experts are scum." For some reason, people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War -- and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge -- get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment. (Lore Sjöberg, The Wikipedia FAQK)
Basic Laws of Human Stupidity
1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
2. The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person. (Carlo Maria Cipolla)
Greetings from Australia. Stephen, the good humour and elegance of your contributions is so refreshing. If you get a moment, please visit the relatively undeveloped Tibetan Buddhism article on Wikipedia. Also, in the Tibetan Buddhist Canon article, you may be interested in the subheading, "The Translations".