Sam van Schaik

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Sam van Schaik
Sam van Schaik (2013).jpg
Sam van Schaik at SOAS University of London in 2013
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
Known forStudy of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan manuscripts from Dunhuang
Scientific career
InstitutionsBritish Library

Sam Julius van Schaik is an English tibetologist.


He obtained a PhD in Tibetan Buddhist literature at the University of Manchester in 2000, with a dissertation on the translations of Dzogchen texts by Jigme Lingpa.[1]


Since 1999 he has worked at the British Library in London, and is currently a project manager for the International Dunhuang Project, specialising in the study of Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts from Dunhuang.[2] He has also taught occasional courses at SOAS, University of London.[3]

From 2003 to 2005 van Schaik worked on a project to catalogue Tibetan Tantric manuscripts in the Stein Collection of the British Library, and from 2005 to 2008 he worked on a project to study the palaeography of Tibetan manuscripts from Dunhuang, in an attempt to identify individual scribes.[4]

In February 2019 van Schaik was appointed as the head of the Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library.[5]



  • Tibetan Zen: Discovering a Lost Tradition (Boston & London: Snow Lion, 2015). ISBN 9781559394468
  • Manuscripts and Travellers: The Sino-Tibetan Documents of a Tenth-Century Buddhist Pilgrim, coauthored with Imre Galambos (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012). ISBN 9783110225648
  • Tibet: A History (London: Yale University Press, 2011). ISBN 9780300154047
  • Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang: Rites and Teachings for this Life and Beyond, co-edited with Matthew Kapstein (Leiden: Brill, 2010). ISBN 9789004182035
  • Tibetan Tantric Manuscripts from Dunhuang: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Stein Collection at the British Library, co-authored with Jacob Dalton (Leiden: Brill, 2006). ISBN 9789004154223
  • Approaching the Great Perfection: Simultaneous and Gradual Approaches to Dzogchen Practice in the Longchen Nyingtig (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2004). ISBN 0861713702


  • "The Stone Maitreya of Leh: The Rediscovery and Recovery of an Early Tibetan Monument", with André Alexander, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 21.4 (2011): 421–439.
  • "The Prayer, the Priest and the Tsenpo: An Early Buddhist Narrative from Dunhuang", with Lewis Doney, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 30.1–2 (2007): 175–217.
  • "Fragments of the Testament of Ba from Dunhuang", with Kazushi Iwao, Journal of the American Oriental Society 128.3 (2008): 477–487.
  • "A Definition of Mahāyoga: Sources from the Dunhuang Manuscripts", Tantric Studies 1 (2008): 45–88.
  • "The Sweet Saint and the Four Yogas: A ‘Lost’ Mahāyoga Treatise from Dunhuang", Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies 4 (2008 [2009]): 1-67,
  • "Beyond Anonymity: Palaeographic Analyses of the Dunhuang Manuscripts", with Tom Davis and Jacob Dalton, Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies 3 (2007): 1-23.
  • "The Early Days of the Great Perfection", Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 27/1 (2004): 165–206.
  • "Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscripts in China", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 65.1 (2002): 129–139.
  • "The Origin of the Headless Style (dbu med) in Tibet", in Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages IV, ed. Nathan W. Hill (Leiden: Brill, 2012).
  • "A New Look at the Invention of the Tibetan Script", in New Studies of the Old Tibetan Documents: Philology, History and Religion (Old Tibetan Documents Monograph Series, vol. III)., ed. Yoshiro Imaeda, Matthew Kapstein and Tsuguhito Takeuchi (Tokyo: ILCAA, 2011): 45–96.
  • "Oral Teachings and Written Texts: Transmission and Transformation in Dunhuang", in Contributions to the Cultural History of Tibet, ed. In Matthew T. Kapstein and Brandon Dotson (Leiden: Brill, 2007): 183-208.
  • "The Tibetan Avalokiteśvara Cult in the Tenth Century: Evidence from the Dunhuang Manuscripts", in Tibetan Buddhist Literature and Praxis (Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the IATS, 2003, Volume 4), ed. Ronald M. Davidson and Christian Wedemeyer (Leiden: Brill, 2006): 55-72.
  • "Where Chan and Tantra Meet: Buddhist Syncretism in Dunhuang", with Jacob Dalton in The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith, ed. Susan Whitfield (London: British Library Press, 2004): 61-71.


  • Dhongthog Rinpoche, The Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism: A History, Translated by Sam van Schaik (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, Inc., 2016).



  1. ^ "IDP Research Profiles : Sam van Schaik". International Dunhuang Project. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  2. ^ "Staff Research Profiles : Dr Sam van Schaik". British Library. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  3. ^ "earlyTibet : The Author". Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  4. ^ "IDP Research Projects". International Dunhuang Project. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  5. ^ "Sam Van Schaik". The British Library. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.

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