The Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies

A Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford

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Venerable Sakda Hemthep

Venerable Sakda Hemthep is a native of Thailand. He completed his MA in Buddhist Studies at University of Sunderland in 2006 and his MPhil at Cardiff University in 2014. His area of interest lies on Buddhist Monasticism, Early Buddhism, Buddhist Meditation, Comparative Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, Chinese Buddhist texts and Thai Studies. He is a fully ordained Theravada Buddhist monk and has also taught Thai language at the Dhammakaya Foundation for many years. He is currently a graduate student of the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford.


Marek Sullivan

Mark Sullivan

I am in the early stages of a DPhil in Oriental Studies, focusing on the contemporary phenomenon of 'ecoBuddhism' and its precedents - actual or imagined - in East Asian thought. By engaging with an important seventh to eighth-century text, Fazang's Hundred Gates of the Ocean of Meanings of Huayan, I hope to shed light on a serious metaphysical issue raised by critics of 'holistic ecoBuddhism', namely, the apparent impossibility of being 'at one with nature' while maintaining important distinctions between polluting and non-polluting things. At a fundamental level, I hope to solve the ontological/epistemological problem posed by a universe that is interdependently connected and in some sense 'one', while at the same time made of a plurality of 'things'. I am currently mining Heidegger's Being and Time for a relevant conceptual framework and vocabulary.

I am also interested in anti-progressivist responses to new atheism (Dawkins, Hitchens, etc.), and the way atheism may itself be allied to unsavory non-rational ideologies.

I have attended several retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Community of Interbeing' at Plum Village, Bordeaux, and practice mindfulness whenever and wherever I remember to.


Emilie Parry

Emilie Parry is a DPhil student in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Her applied, collaborative research involves concepts of integrated resilience centered within community capacities and networks, encompassing strategies and learning transference around climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as community-based biodiversity conservation. In particular, she is interested in inter-religious dialogue to address the human drivers of climate change and support biodiversity conservation, and has been working with the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), which has facilitated the Inter-Religious Climate and Ecology (ICE) Network, intended to build problem-solving platforms, learn from each other across Asian and African community networks, and to build an educational and action-based movement of cooperation across all faiths and spiritual practices, in the spirit of engaging around the issue of climate change. Prior to joining the University of Oxford, Emilie worked globally in sustainable community development, complex emergencies, disaster risk management, and other resilience-related realms.


Matthew Neale

Matthew read Natural Sciences at Cambridge and specialized for his doctorate there in the evolution of social behaviour, including a case study on tropical spiders. Experiences during solitude in the rainforest led him to explore Buddhist meditation as a way to develop them, and Dawkins' ideas (developed by Susan Blackmore et al) about the evolution of memes, virus-like entities propagating themselves using human minds as vehicles, led him naturally to explore in more depth Buddhist methods of mental purification.

Living in Egypt and Nepal for over a decade, he studied Islamic esotericism and Tibetan Buddhism: he followed the traditional programme of Mahayana philosophy at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute of Kanying Shedrubling Monastery near Kathmandu, and Vajrayana practices as a student of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and Trulshik Rinpoche.

At Oxford he is currently researching a book on the use of deconstructive argumentation in the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism and in the Pyrrhonist school of Ancient Greek philosophy, and the historical connections between them.  He is more generally interested in any anti-dogmatic practices in religious and philosophical traditions, as potential remedies for the factionalism, sectarianism and systematic cruelty which, he feels, infect so much of our world.

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