Robert E. Buswell

A photo of Robert E. Buswell

Robert E. Buswell Jr., Distinguished Professor of Buddhist Studies in the UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, is the Irving and Jean Stone Chair in Humanities at UCLA, and the founding director of the university’s Center for Buddhist Studies and Center for Korean Studies. From 2009-2011, he served concurrently as founding director of the Dongguk Institute for Buddhist Studies Research (Pulgyo Haksurwon) at Dongguk University in Seoul, Korea.

He is widely considered to be the premier Western scholar on Korean Buddhism and one of the top specialists on the East Asian Zen tradition. Buswell also served as editor-in-chief of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Macmillan Reference, 2004), and coeditor (with Donald S. Lopez, Jr.) of the forthcoming one-million word Dictionary of Buddhism. In 2009, Buswell was awarded the Manhae Prize from the Chogye Order in recognition of his pioneering contributions to Korean Buddhist Studies in the West. Buswell was elected president of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) for 2008-2009, the first time a Koreanist or Buddhologist has ever held the position, and served as past-president and past-past-president in subsequent years. For his profile in the UCLA College Report, see the following URL:


Buswell has published fifteen books and some forty articles on various aspects of the Chinese, Korean, and Indian traditions of Buddhism, as well as on Korean religions more broadly, including:

  • The Zen Monastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea (Princeton, 1992)
  • Religions of Korea in Practice (Princeton, 2007)
  • Tracing Back the Radiance: Chinul’s Korean Way of Zen (Honolulu, 1991)
  • Currents and Countercurrents: Korean Influences on the East Asian Buddhist Traditions (Honolulu, 2005)
  • Cultivating Original Enlightenment: Wonhyo’s Exposition of the Vajrasamadhi-Sutra (Honolulu, 2007)
  • The Formation of Ch’an Ideology in China and Korea (Princeton, 1989).
  • The Korean Approach to Zen: The Collected Works of Chinul (Honolulu, 1983).