Lal Mani Joshi
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Lal Mani Joshi
Dr. Lal Mani Joshi, photo taken around 1983
|Born||Lal Mani Joshi|
27 July 1935
Kumaon Hills, Uttarakhand, India
|Died||16 July 1984 (aged 48)|
New Delhi, India
|Occupation||University professor of buddhist studies and comparative religion|
|Children||Dharmakirti, Avalok, Maya|
Lal Mani Joshi (27 July 1935, Kumaon Hills, Uttarakhand, India – 16 July 1984, Delhi, India) was an eminent Buddhist scholar and professor of comparative religions and Buddhist studies in a number of distinguished universities of India and USA.
From 1956–1958, he studied at the University of Allahabad and obtained a B.A. in History, Philosophy and English literature. On the 2500th anniversary of Buddhajayanti (1956), befittingly celebrated in India at the insistence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Indian Buddhists, L. M. Joshi was attracted to Buddhist Studies. From 1958–1960 he studied at the University of Gorakhpur and obtained a M.A. in Ancient History of Culture (with a special paper on the History and Philosophy of Buddhism). He had the privilege of studying Buddhism and Ancient Indian History under ProfessorGovind Chandra Pande. G. C. Pande played the decisive role in Joshi's formation as a Buddhist scholar. The former also supervised the latter's PhD thesis entitled "Studies in the Buddhistic Culture of India (during the 7th and 8th Centuries A.D.)", later published as a book, which many modern scholars consider a work "of almost encyclopedic order". In 1964 Joshi obtained his PhD from Gorakhpur University and a second M. A. in Pali from Banaras Hindu University. He completed his studies in classical and Buddhist Sanskrit and also finished a diploma course in classical Tibetan.
L. M. Joshi held his first lecture post as Assistant Professor at the Department of Ancient History, Culture & Archaeology, University of Gorakhpur, from 1961–1967. In 1968 he was offered a senior research fellowship in the Department of Comparative Religion, Punjabi University, Patiala. Soon after, from 1969–1970, he went to USA as postdoctoral visiting fellow in Comparative Religion at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. At Harvard Joshi shared his profound knowledge of Triyana Buddhism with theologians and simultaneously read Religionswissenschaft in general, and Christian theology in particular. There was where Prof. Joshi met his lifelong friend Robert Thurman, the well known Tibetologist, and Prof. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, who impressed him deeply and whom he often quoted later on: “No statement about a religion is valid unless it can be acknowledged by that religion's believers”. Such guidelines on academic scrupulousness, honesty and enlightened tolerance, prerequisite for genuine scholarship in Comparative Religion, have always stood Joshi in good stead when he, himself a professing Buddhist, in his later writings dealt with other religions, especially with Jainism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
Back in India he was appointed Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Department of Religious Studies, Punjabi University, a post he held from 1971 to 1975. In 1976 the same university offered him a professorship until 1981. In addition to his appointment he had to accept responsibility as editor of his department's biannual publication of The Journal of Religious Studies. In 1980 his university requested him to assume the headship of the Department of Religious Studies.
Professor Joshi spent the last years of his life in USA (from 1981 to spring 1984), first as Henry R. Luce Visiting Professor of Comparative Religious Ethics at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, and subsequently as Margaret Gest Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at Haverford College, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Joshi was well known for his constant dedication and effort or vīrya-pāramitā ('the perfection of energy'). Besides the many courses taught by him (such as History and Philosophy of Buddhism, Methodology of Comparative Religion, Buddhist and Christian Ethics, etc.), supervised three PhD dissertations relating to Buddhism, Jainism and Comparative Religion and more than a dozen M. Phil. or M. Litt. dissertations in the field of Religious Studies. He also was associated with a number of learned institutions holding posts such as Member of the Board of Editors of The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (University of Wisconsin, USA), Representative in India for the Pali Text Society (London), Academic Expert Member of the Board of Governors of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (Sarnath), Academic Expert Member at the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies of Banaras Hindu University (Varanasi), etc.
Likewise, he never eschewed the troubles of travelling to far-away places in India or to Sri Lanka as academic consultant, expert member, external examiner or honorary lecturer. He, of course, also participated in many learned conferences, whether in Rome or Honolulu, at Oxford, Göttingen, or in Siberia.
Another example of his vīrya-pāramitā is his extensive written work. A large portion of his writings though, appeared as articles or book reviews in journals. Very few scholars have written so extensively at such a young age. His last major work, though already completed in the mid-1970s, appeared in 1983: "Discerning the Buddha, a Study of Buddhism and of the Brahmnanical Hindu Attitude to It" (Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi). This book testifies to the author's mature scholarship with respect to Buddhist and Religious Studies. A number of scholars have expressed their perplexity as to how Buddhism could have been wiped out of its native country. Here the author gives a satisfactory answer and provides much needed clarification as to what had happened to Buddhadharma in India during the Middle Ages up to the present.
All friends and acquaintances will certainly agree that Joshi was a most amiable and generous man, both privately and as a scholar. When necessary, however, for the sake of historical objectivity and scientific probity he could, tactfully though, speak out and even "slaughter holy cows" of outdated opinions and cherished convictions needing detached rectification or demythologisation. For instance, he was very critical of Swami Vivekananda's positions towards Buddhism, and also declared that celebrated exponents of the Sophia Perennis such as A. K. Coomaraswamy had not understood Buddhism properly.
That Professor Joshi was an example of real religious tolerance is shown by his numerous contributions to Sikh and Jaina studies. In his writings showed that real tolerance comes from accepting differences and not from seeing only points of agreement.
Though still relatively young, his wish was to finish his academic career in India, his homeland and the homeland of Buddhism. So he turned down offers of extension at Haverford College to engage in his new responsibilities as Research Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, in June 1984 when he was 48 years old. He had been associated with this unique Institute (now a University) since its very formation.
For many years, it seems, he had been suffering from gastric ulcers, and in Spring 1984, soon after his return from the prolonged stay in USA, he had to undergo an operation in New Delhi. He appeared to recover his health satisfactorily within a short time when on the eve of his departure to attend a conference in Taiwan, he had new health complaints that deteriorated to an extent that necessitated an immediate second operation. But this time all surgical aid did not help. He was misdiagnosed with ulcer burst when in fact had suffered an appendix burst. It was a case of fatal medical negligence. His sudden demise was a terrible shock to the bereaved, friends and colleagues and a great lost in the field of Buddhist and Religious studies worldwide.
Following the wishes of Dr. Joshi to spend the last years of his academic life at Sarnath, the place where the Buddha taught his first Sermon, his family decided that his wonderful library be acquired by the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarnath. Nowadays, it is kept as a separate collection named after him.
- Studies in the Buddhistic Culture of India, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1967 (first edition), 1977 (revised edition).
- Dhammapada, Pali text in Gurumukhi script, Punjabi translation in collaboration with Sarada Devi, Patiala Punjabi University, 1969.
- Brahmanism, Buddhism and Hinduism, Buddhist Publications Society, Sri Lanka, 1970.
- An Introduction to Indian Religions, co-authored with Harbans Singh, Punjabi University, 1973.
- History of the Punjab, Vol. I, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1976.
- Vajracchedikkā Prajñāpāramitasūtra with commentary by Asanga (Sanskrit texts translated into Hindi with introduction and notes), Bibliotheca Indo-Tibetica 3, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, 1978
- Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtram, critically edited Tibetan text, Sanskrit restoration and Hindi translation with introduction and copious notes (in collaboration with Bhikku Pāsādika), Bibliotheca Indo-Tibetica 5, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, 1981.
- Facets of Jaina Religiousness in Comparative Light, L. D. Series 85, Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, 1981.
- Discerning the Buddha. A Study of Buddhism and of the Brahmanical Hindu Attitude to it, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1983.
Minor publications and papers
- "Śikṣāsamuccayakārikā", Sanskrit text with English translation, The Maha Bodhi Society of India, Sarnath, 1964.
- "Buddhist Gleanings from the Rājatarañgini", Journal of the Oriental Institute (Baroda), Vol. XIV, 1964.
- "Life and Times of the Mādhyamika Philosopher Nāgārjuna", The Maha Bodhi Society, January pp. 13–20, February pp. 42–49, 1965.
- "Our Republican Heritage", The Maha Bodhi Society, Vol. 73, 1965.
- "Modernity of Buddha's Gospel", The Maha Bohi Society, June–July pp. 163–167 (1965).
- "True Buddhism", The Maha Bohi Society, January–February pp. 1–9, 1966.
- "The Buddhist Principle of Non-Egoity", The Maha Bohi Society, November–December, pp. 258–259, 1966.
- "Aspects of Buddhism in Ancient Indian Culture", conference held in the University of Delhi on 28 March 1967, published by The Maha Bohi Society, May–June pp. 162–170, 1967.
- "The Concept of Dharma in Buddhism", M. B. J., Vol. 75, October–November, pp. 342–349, 1967.
- "Original Homes of Tantrika Buddhism", Journal of the Oriental Institute (Baroda), Vol. XVII, 1967.
- "Reviews on some Alleged Causes of the Decline of Buddhism in India", The Journal of the Ganganatha Jha Research Institute, Vol. XXII (Allahabad), 1966–1967.
- "Faith and Devotion in Buddhism", lecture delivered on the occasion of 2512th Buddha Jayanti celebrated in the Punjabi University on 13 May 1968, published by The Maha Bohi Society, pp. 197–201, July 1968.
- "Buddhist Tradition and Guru Nanak; Aspects of Absolute Reality", The Maha Bohi Society, April–May, pp. 146–155, 1969.
- "Gaudapāda's Rapprochement between Buddhism and Vedanta", Ritam, Journal of Akhila Bhāratīya Sanskrit Parishad, I, No. 1, Lucknow, 1969.
- "Historical Introduction (Origins of Buddhism, etc.)", in Buddhism, Guru Nanak Quincentenary Celebration Series, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1969.
- "Buddhist Meditation and Mysticism", in Buddhism, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1969.
- "Mind and the Mere Mind in Buddhism", Vishveshvarānanda Indological Journal (Hoshiarpur), Vol. VI, 1969.
- "Social Perspective of Buddhist Soteriology", Religion and Society, (Bangalore), Vol. VIII, No. 3, 1971.
- "Religious Beliefs and Practices in the Punjab", a chapter in History of Punjab, Vol. III (1000–1526 A.D.), Patiala, Punjab Univer¬sity, 1971.
- "Truth: A Buddhist Perspective», The Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. IV, 1972.
- «Genesis of Buddhism Restated», World Buddhism: Vesak Annual, Nugegoda, 1972.
- «Aspects of Buddhism in Indian History», Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka, 1973.
- «Minds of One Accord», a chapter in God of All by Claude Alan Stark, Cape Cod: Claude Stark & Company, 1974.
- «The Siddha Tradition before Guru Nanāk», chapter in Essays in Honour of Dr. Ganda Singh, edited by Harbans Singh and Gerald Barrier, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1974.
- «Jaina Art and Literature», a chapter in Jainism, Patiala, Punjabi University, 1975.
- «The Institution of Four Stages (Aśramas)», a chapter in History of the Punjab, Vol. I, Patiala, Punjabi University, 1976.
- «Religion and Society in the Rgvedic Age», a chapter in History of the Punjab, Vol. I, Patiala, Punjabi University, 1976.
- «A Survey of the Conception of Bodhicitta», The Journal of Religious Studies (Patiala), Vol. VI, 1978.
- «A Seventeenth Century Perspective on Kaliyuga», Journal of Medieval Indian Literature, (Chandigarh), Vol. II, 1978.
- «Modernity of Ancient Buddhism», The Maha Bohi Society, April–May, pp. 68–71, 1978.
- «Conception of Jīvanmukti in Guru Teghbahādur's Hymns», The Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. VI, No. 2, Patiala, 1978.
- «The Way to Nirvana According to the Dhammapada», The Maha Bohi Society, October–December, pp. 222–230, 1979.
- «Nirvana According to Buddhist Scriptures», The Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- «Buddhist Contribution to Art and Architecture», Proceedings of the 6th International Buddhist Conference, pp. 180–189, Japanese Temple Buddha Gaya, 1980.
- «Religion and Society in Indian Civilization», The Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- «Towards Basic Unity of World Buddhism», Buddhists for Peace, Vol. 3, No. 2, Ulan Bator, 1981.
- «Views and Reviews on Religion», The Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. IX, No. 2, Patiala, 1981.
- «Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India», a chapter in The World of Buddhism, edited by Heinz Bechert and Richard Gombrich, Thames and Hudson, London, 1983–1991.
- «Remarks on Religious Merit (punya) in Comparative Light», Bihar Research Society, 1983.
- Society and Culture in the Time of Dandin, Dharmendra Kumar Gupta, JRS, Vol. IV, No. 1, 1972.
- A Critical Study of the Life and Works of Śariputta Thera, Bhikshu Thich Huyen-Vi, JRS, Vol. IV, No. 1, 1972.
- Spiritual Practices, Swami Akhilananda, JRS, Vol. V, Nos. 1 and 2, 1974.
- The Dawn of Tantra, Herbert V. Guenther & Chogyam Trungpa, Tibet Journal, Vol. I, No. 2, April/June 1976.
- Miraculous Stories from the Japanese Buddhist Tradition, Kyoto M. Nakamura, JRS, Vol. VI, No. 1, 1978.
- Ancient Indian Rituals and their Social Contents, Narendra Nath Bhattacharya, JRS, Vol. VI, No. 1, 1978.
- The Vedic Experience: Mantramañjari, Raimundo Panikkar, JRS, Vol. VI, No. 2, 1978.
- Śankaradeva: Sāhityakāra aur Vicāraka, K. N. P. Magadha, JRS, Vol. VI, No. 2, 1978.
- Conception of Buddhist Nirvana, Th. Stcherbatsky, JRS, Vol. VI, No. 2, 1978.
- Early Mādhyamika in India and China, Richard H. Robinson, JRS, Vol. VI, No. 2, 1978.
- Early Buddhist Mythology, J. R. Haldar, JRS, Vol. VI, No. 2, 1978.
- Abhisamayālankāra-Vrittih-Sphutārthā, R. S. Tripathi, JRS, Vol. VI, No. 2, 1978.
- Tibetan Buddhism in Western Perspective, H. V. Guenther, Tibet Journal, Vol. III, No. 2, Summer 1978.
- Religious Diversity; Essays by W.C. Smith, editado por Willard G. Oxtoby, The Journal of Religious Studies (JRS) Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- Glimpses of Abhidharma, Chogyam Trungpa, Tibet Journal, Vol. IV, No. 1, Spring 1979.
- Garuda, Chogyam Trungpa (ed.), Tibet Journal, Vol. IV, No. 1, Spring 1979.
- Yoga of the Guhyasamajatantra, Alex Wayman, Tibet Journal, Vol. IV, No. 3, Autumn 1979.
- Far Eastern Philosophies, de K. Satchidananda Murty, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- Nānakacandrodaya-mahākāvyam, edited by Vajranatha Jha, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- Harismrtisudhānkura, edited by Maheswar Neog, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- Adhyātmabindu, editado por Muni Mitranandavijaya y Nagin J. Shah, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- Jīvanmuktiviveka, edited and translated by S. Subramanya Sastri and T. R. Srinivasa Ayyangar, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- Mani Rimdu, Nepal, de Mario Fantin, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- The Samnyasa Upaniṣads, translated by A. A. Ramanathan, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- Yoga as Philosophy and Religion, de S. N. Dasgupta, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- Vādirāja's Refutation of Śaṇkara, translated by L. Stafford Betty, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- Mahāyāna Buddhism, Nalinaksha Dutt, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- The Jaina Philosophy of Non-Absolutism, Satkari Mookerjee, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- Early Jainism, K. K. Dixit, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- Caste and Kin in India, Nepal and Ceylon, edited by Christoph von Führer¬-Haimendrof, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- Nāgārjuna's Letter, translated by Lobsang Jamspal et al., JRS, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- Art and Rituals; 2500 Years of Jainism, Ebehard Fisher and Jyotindra Jain, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1979.
- Systematische Ubersicht uber die Buddhistische Sanskrit Literatur, de Akira Yuyama, JRS, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1979.
- Nagarjuna, K. Satchidananda Murty, Tibet Journal, Vol. V, No. 1 & 2, Spring & Summer 1980.
- Global History of Philosophy, vols. I, II, III, John C. Plott, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Māyā Divine and Human, Teun Goudriaan, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- A History of Sufism in India, Vol. I, S. A. A. Rizvi, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Buddhism in Ceylon and Studies on Religious Syncretism in Buddhist Countries, edited by Heinz Bechert, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- The Philosophy of Tulasidās, de Ramdat Bhardvaj, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Guru Rāmdās, His Life, Work and philosophy, Gobind Singh Mansukhani, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Guru Tegh Bahadur, Balwant Singh Anand, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Classical Sāmkhya; An Interpretation of its History and Meaning, Gerald James Larson, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Comparative Ethics in Hindu and Buddhist Traditions, Roderick Hindeny, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- A Critical Study of the Mahāvastu, Bh. Tciwatte Rahula, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Dayānanda Sarasvati, His Life and Ideas, J. T. F. Jordens, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Introduction to the Buddhist Tantric Systems, F. D. Lessing y Alex Wayman, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- History of the Chaitanya Movement in Orissa, Prabhat Mukherjee, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Śiva Sūtras; Text and Commentary, edited by Jaideva Singh, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Vijñānabhairava, edited and translated by Jaideva Singh, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- A Handbook of Viraśaivism, N.C. Nandimath, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Love of God and Social Duty in the Rāmacaritamānasa, Edmour J. Babineau, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1980.
- Faith and Belief, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, JRS, Vol. III, No. 2, 1980.
- Śramana tradition: Its History and Contribution to Indian Culture, G. C. Pande, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- Sikh Studies: Comparative Perspectives on a Changing Tradition, edited by Mark Juergensmeyer, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- Indian Buddhism (2nd edition), A. K. Warder, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- An Intelligent Man’s Guide to Buddhism, Ananda Kausalyayan, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- Love and Sympathy in Theravāda Buddhism, Harvey B. Eronson, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- The Buddhist Way of Life, Christmas Humphreys, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- Caurāsi Siddhon kā Vrttānta, translated from the Tibetan by Sempa Dorje, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- Madhya Asiā aur Panjāb mein Jaina Dharma, Hiralal Duggar, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- The Jaina Path of Purification, Padmanabh S. Jaini, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- Sāratamā, edited by Padmanabh S. Jaini, JRS, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 1980.
- Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend with Commentary of Rendawa Zhonnu Lodro, Geshe Lobsang Tharchin & Artemus B. Engle (trans.), Vol. VI, No. 3, Autumn 1981.
- Nagarjuna’s Letter to King Gautamiputra, Lobsang Jamspal & Ngawang Samten Chopel and Peter Della Santina (trans.), Vol. VI, No. 3, Autumn 1981.
- The Iconography of the Derge Kanjur and Tanjur, Josef Kolmas, Tibet Journal, Vol. VII, No. 4, Winter 1982.
- Early Sikh Tradition; A Study of the Janam-sākhis, W. H. McLeod, JRS, Vol. X, Nos. 1 and 2, 1982.
- Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies; Advaita Vedānta up to Samkara and His Pupils, edited by Karl H. Potter, JRS, Vol. X, Nos. 1 and 2, 1982.
- The Bodhisattva Doctrine, edited by Leslie S. Kawamura, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Vol. VI, No. 1, 1983.
- A Study of Twenty-Two Dialogues of Mahāyana Buddhism, edited and translated by W. Pachow, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Vol. VI, No. 1, 1983.
- Buddhism and Society; A Great Tradition and its Burmese Vicissitudes, Melford E. Spiro, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 103, 1983.
- History and Doctrines of the Ājivikas, de A. L. Basham, JAOS, Vol. 103, 1983.
- Bhikkhu Pasadika's obituary, Tibet Journal, Vol. IX, No. 4, Winter, 1984.
- L. M. Joshi, Discerning the Buddha, p. 127—cf. below.
- W. C. Smith, “Comparative Religion: Whither and Why?”, The History of Religions; Essays in Methodology, ed. by Mircea Eliade and J. M. Kitagawa, Chicago, 1959, p. 42.
- "Virya Paramita"
- Aspects of Buddhism in Indian History, Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka.
- "Professor Lal Mani Joshi." N. H. Samtani. Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. 66, No. 1/4 (1985), pp. 362–363.
- "Obituary: Lal Mani Joshi 1935-1984." Bhikhu Pāsādika. The Tibet Journal, Vol. 9, No. 4, A SPECIAL ISSUE (Winter 1984), pp. 75–82.