Gregory Schopen is Professor of Buddhist Studies at University of California, Los Angeles. He received his B.A. majoring in American literature from Black Hills State College, M.A. in history of religions from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and Ph.D. in South Asian and Buddhist studies from the Australian National University in Canberra. His Ph.D thesis is titled "Bhaisajyaguru-sutra and the Buddhism of Gilgit."
Schopen's research focuses on Indian Buddhist monastic life and early Mahāyāna movements. By looking beyond the Pāli Canon in favor of less commonly used sources such as the Mūlasarvāstivāda-vinaya and Indian Buddhist stone inscriptions, his numerous scholarly works have shifted the field away from Buddhism as portrayed through its own doctrines toward a more realistic picture of the actual lives of Buddhists, both monastic and lay. In this sense, he has seriously challenged many assumptions and myths about Buddhism that were first perpetuated in earlier Western scholarship. In 1985 he received the MacArthur Grant for his work in the field of History of Religion. In 2015 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Many of his articles have been published in four volumes dedicated to his work: Buddhist Nuns, Monks, and Other Worldly Matters (University of Hawai'i Press, 2014), Figments and Fragments of Mahayana Buddhism in India (University of Hawai'i Press, 2005), Buddhist Monks and Business Matters (University of Hawai'i Press, 2004), and Bones, Stones and Buddhist Monks (University of Hawai'i Press, 1997).
- Bones, stones, and Buddhist monks: collected papers on the archaeology, epigraphy, and texts of monastic Buddhism in India, University of Hawaii Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8248-1870-8
- Buddhist monks and business matters: still more papers on monastic Buddhism in India, University of Hawaii Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0-8248-2774-8
- Figments and fragments of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India: more collected papers, University of Hawaii Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8248-2548-5
- Buddhist Nuns, Monks, and Other Worldly Matters: Recent Papers on Monastic Buddhism in India, University of Hawaii Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-8248-3881-2