Lara E. Braitstein

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism

Lara E. Braitstein
Contact Information
Address: 

3520 University Street, Room 301
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2A7, Canada

Phone: 
514-398-6027
Fax number: 
514-398-6665
Email address: 
lara.braitstein [at] mcgill.ca
Degree(s): 

M.A., Ph.D. (McGill)

Specialization: 

Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Hagiography, and Tibetan/Himalayan Buddhist literature and historiography

Biography: 

My areas of research interest include South Asian and Tibetan/Himalayan Buddhist literature and historiography and my current research revolves around the life of the 10thShamarpa Chödrup Gyatso (1742-1792), a Tibetan Lama who played a complex role in the fraught relations between Tibet, Nepal and China during the late 18th century. My published work includes Saraha’s Adamantine Songs (2014), a translation and literary analysis of a set of three long esoteric poems composed in the 9th century, and I was also the translator and editor of Shamar Rinpoche’s book Path to Awakening (2009 and 2011). In addition to introductory courses on Buddhism, Buddhist thought and Buddhist Studies, I teach courses on Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist poetry, and Indian and Tibetan Buddhist tantric traditions. From 2013-18, I was Principal of the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (New Delhi), where I helped to oversee and implement a curricular transformation that integrates academic and traditional Tibetan methods of teaching and learning. I have been a regular visiting professor at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute (Kathmandu), and in 2018 I was the UBEF Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Sydney. My research has been supported by SSHRC (2008-11) and Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai (2009), and I am a member of the FRQSC funded research group Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire sur le Tibet et l’Himalaya (GRITH), an initiative that brings together academics in Québec carrying out research about the greater Himalayan region (https://www.grith.fss.ulaval.ca/en).

Courses: 
  • RELG 264 Introductory Tibetan 1 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • RELG 342 Theravada Buddhist Literature 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • RELG 344 Mahayana Buddhism 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • RELG 369 Tibetan Buddhism 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • RELG 453 Vajrayana Buddhism 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • RELG 464 Advanced Tibetan 1 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • RELG 558 Indian Tantric Traditions 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • RELG 560 Buddhist Poetry 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

Current research: 
  • Recovering the Red Crown: a study of the 10th Shamarpa Chodrup Gyatso (SSHRC funded)
Selected publications: 
  • Boundless Wisdom: a Mahamudra Practice Manual.. (English language editor). Author: Shamar Rinpoche. General editor: Tina Draszczyk. Lexington: Bird of Paradise Press, 2018.
  • Les Chants Adamantins: étude, traduction, et édition critique tibétain. Franqueville (France): Éditions Rabsel (a translation The Adamantine Songs), 2017.
  • The King of Prayers: A Commentary on The Noble King of Prayers of Excellent Conduct (co-editor and co-translator). Author: Shamar Rinpoche. Lexington: Bird of Paradise Press, 2015.
  • The Adamantine Songs (Vajragiti): Study, Translation, and Tibetan Critical Edition. American Institute of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University Press, 2014
  • The Path to Awakening: a Commentary on Ja Chekawa Yeshe Dorje’s Seven Points of Mind Training, (editor and translator). American edition. Author: Shamar Rinpoche. Harrison, New York: Delphinium Books, 2014
  • The Path to Awakening: a Commentary on Ja Chekawa Yeshe Dorje’s Seven Points of Mind Training, (editor and translator). Author: Shamar Rinpoche. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass This book was translated into Spanish (El Camino al Despertar, 2011), German (Lojong: Der buddhistische Weg zu Mitgefühl und Weisheit, 2010), and French (Lo Djong: la Voie vers l’Éveil, 2010). 2009, 2011 (second edition).
Graduate supervision: 

Current Ph.D.:

Gurung, Chulthim (co-supervisor Professor Thupten Jinpa; working on Abhidharma)

Jones, Ryan (working on concepts of lineage and the history of Surmang monastery)

Moevus, Adrien (working on Atiśa’s poetry)

Perks, Matilda (working on Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s Tibetan poetry)

Troughton, Tom (co-supervisor Professor Thupten Jinpa; working on the place of Chenrezi in Tibet’s foundational mythography).

Ph.D. Completed:

Stenzel, Julia (2018) (co-supervisor Prof. Thupten Jinpa): The Buddhist Roots of Secular Compassion Training. A Comparative Study of Indian and Tibetan Mahāyāna Sources with the Contemporary Program of Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT)

M.A. Current:

Tahereh Tavakkoli (working on a comparative study of compassionate violence in Buddhism and Islam)

M.A. Completed:

Moevus, Adrien (M.A. granted 2019), To Be Tantric or Not to Be: An evaluation of themodern scholarly debate on Maitrīpa’s Mahāmudrā and a textual analysis of his Amanasikāra cycle.

Perks, Matilda (M.A. granted 2019), The skylark’s song: Tibetan literary and religious themes in Chögyam Trungpa’s English Poetry.

Divall, Jennifer (M.A. granted October 2014), Songs of a wandering yogi: mgur as a distinctly Tibetan genre in the verse of Godrakpa.

Temprano, Victor. (M.A. granted February 2013), The scholar and the sage: Sallie B. King, David Loy, and Thích Nhất Hạnh.

Samuelson, Anna. (M.A. granted May 2012), He dances, she shakes: the possessed mood of nonduality in Buddhist tantric sex.

Young, Elena. (M.A. granted 2011), The Boundaries of Identity: The 14th Dalai Lama, Nationalism, and «Ris med» ("non-sectarian") Identity in the Tibetan Diaspora.

Dickson, Alnis (M.A. granted February 2010), Organizing religion: situating the three-vow texts of the Tibetan Buddhist renaissance.

Troughton, Tom (M.A. granted October, 2008), Tibetan Mind Training: Tradition and Genre (co-supervised with Prof. Thupten Jinpa).

Stenzel, Julia (M.A. granted May 2008), Saraha and the Mahāmudrā Tradition (from University of the West).

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