Victor Sōgen Hori


Associate Professor in Japanese Religions


B.A., M.A. (Toronto)
Ph.D. (Stanford)

Field(s) of specialization

Ch'an/Zen Buddhism; Japaneded Religion; Kyoto School Philosophy; Asian ethics


Victor Sōgen Hori received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Stanford University in 1976 and that same year was ordained a Zen monk. After devoting the next thirteen years to training the Rinzai Zen headquarters temple of Daitoku-ji in Kyoto, he returned to Canada to begin academic life. He has taught in the Faculty of Religious Studies since 1993 and is a member of the Centre for East Asian Research and the Centre for Medicine Ethics and Law. Professor Hori’s research topics include Asian religion and culture, the teaching of Buddhist philosophy, and the kōans of the Zen masters.


    •    RELG 253 Religions of East Asia; CANS 300 Topics in Canadian Studies; RELG 352 Japanese Religions; RELG 354 Chinese Religions; RELG 442 Pure Land Buddhism; RELG 451 Zen: Maxims and Methods; RELG 549 Japanese Buddhist Philosophy; RELG 557 Asian Ethical Systems; RELG 645 Methods in Religious Studies; RELG 658 Dogen: Philosophy and Practice; RELG 745 Meaning and Interpretation

Current Projects

  • Flowers on the Rock: More Buddhism in Canada, with John Harding and Alec Soucy 
  • The State of the Consecrated Life in Canada with Jason Zuidema 
  • Little Jade: The Use of Language in Zen 
  • Pot of Glue: The History of the Japanese Zen Koan Curriculum


"Introduction" to new reprinting of Heinrich Dumoulin, Buddhism: A History, Volumes 2: Japan (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom Books, 2005). xiii-xxi.

"Zen Koan Capping Phrase Books." In Zen Classics, edited by Steven Heine and Dale Wright (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Articles in refereed journals

"Le Zen et le soi,: Special Number, "Le Soi dans tous ses états" of Théologiques Vol. 12 . No. 1-2 (2004), 125-133.

"The Study of Buddhist Monasticism: Reflections on Robert Buswell's The Zen Monastic Experience," The Eastern Buddhist, Vol. XXIX, No. 2 (Autumn 1996), 239-261.

"Teaching and Learning in the Rinzai Zen Monastery," Journal of Japanese Studies, 20:1 (Winter 1994), 5-35.

Books and monographs

Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Zen Koan Practice. Compiled and translated by Victor Sogen Hori. (Nanzan Library of Asian Religion and Culture No. 4). Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2003.

Articles/chapters in books and monographs

"Steps in Koan Practice," in Sitting With Koans, edited by John Daido Loori. Forthcoming 2004. (Reprint of pp. 16-29 from Zen Sand).

Preface and "Liberal Education and the Teaching of Buddhism" in The Wheel and the Web: Collected Papers of the Teaching Buddhism Conference, edited by Victor Sogen Hori, Richard P. Hayes and Mark Shields (London: Curzon Press, 2002).

"Kensho and Koan in the Rinzai Zen Curriculum," in The Koan, edited by Steven Heine and Dale Wright (Oxford University Press, 2000), 280-315.

"Japanese Zen in America," in The Faces of American Buddhism, edited by Charles Prebish and Kenneth Tanaka (University of California Press, 1999), 49-78.

"Americanizing Japanese Zen", in Faces of American Buddhism, Charles Prebish and Kenneth Tanaka eds. University of California Press, 1997.

"Teaching and Learning in the Rinzai Zen Monastery," reprinted in Teaching and Learning in Japan, ed. by Thomas Rohlen and Gerald LeTendre (Cambridge University Press, 1996), 20-49.


Book Review: Opening a Mountain: Koans of the Zen Masters by Steven Heine (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) in Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. 31, No. 1 (2004) 188-193.

Book Review: Shifting Shape, Shaping Text: Philosophy and Folklore in the Fox Kºan by Steven Heine (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999) in Eastern Buddhist, Vol. 23, No. 1 (2002) 143-146.

Book Review: The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality by Bernard Faure (Princeton University Press, 1998) in Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1-2 (Spring 2000) 153-159.

Book Review: A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine by John K. Nelson (University of Washington Press, 1996) in Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Summer 1997) 477-82.

Book Review: The Zen Eye: A Collection of Talks by Sokei-an, edited by Mary Farkas (Tokyo & New York: Weatherhill, 1993) in Pacific World, Vol. 11 (1995), 236-242.

Other papers and publications

Translation: The Ten Oxherding Pictures: Lectures by Yamada Mumon Roshi. University of Hawai'i Press. 2004.

"Translating the Zen Phrase Book," Bulletin of the Nanzan Institute for Religion & Culture, No. 23 (Spring 1999) 44-58.

"Democracy at Tiananmen," The Ecumenist, 1:6 (Sept. Dec. 1994) 85-89.

"Sweet and Sour Buddhism," Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, IV:1 (Fall 1994) 48-52.

"My Companion as I Return to the Village Without Moon: Kobori Nanrei, 1918-1992," The Eastern Buddhist , N.S. XXV:2 (Autumn 1992), 149-152.


victor.hori [at] (Email)
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