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Sarah Shaw


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Personal profile

Research interests


I started learning Pali with Professor Richard Gombrich in the 1990s. I am now a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University, and a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. I have written a number of books and articles on my research interests, which include Buddhist meditation (text and practice), and Buddhist narrative. I teach part-time at the OUDCE and other higher education institutes, including Oxford University.

Research interests


I have now being teaching and lecturing on Buddhist Studies, in higher education, for about twenty years. I have visited various Southeast and Southern Asian countries annually over the same time period (Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma/Myanmar, India), and like to visit and stay in temples, monasteries, and meditation centres when I am there.

Research interests


• (2006) Jātaka Stories: Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta (paperback), New Delhi: Penguin; Penguin Global Classic series, 2007 (Kindle).
• (2006) Buddhist Meditation: an Anthology of Texts (hardback and e-book), Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies Monograph Series, London: RoutledgeCurzon.
• (2009) An Introduction to Buddhist Meditation (paperback and hardback), with a chapter on Tibet by Georgios Halkias, London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon.
• (2010) Linda Covill, Ulrike Roesler and Sarah Shaw (eds), Lives Lived; Lives Imagined: Biographies of Awakening, Boston, MA: Wisdom.
• (2013) Co-author, with Dr Naomi Appleton and Professor Toshiya Unebe, of Illuminating the Life of the Buddha: An Eighteenth-Century Siamese Chanting Manual, in the Treasures of the Bodleian Library Series, Bodleian Publications, Oxford.
• (2014) The Spirit of Buddhist Meditation, New Haven: Yale University Press.
• (2015) The Ten Great Birth Stories of the Buddha: the Mahānipāta of the Jātakatthavaṇṇanā: a translation and introduction to last ten Jātaka stories and their commentaries, with Dr Naomi Appleton, Edinburgh University (Silkworm Books, Thailand/University of Washington Press, Seattle). With a foreword by Professor Peter Skilling, dedication to Princess Sirindhorn, and 100 photographs of temple art depictions. 2 volumes (cloth-bound and paperback).

Research interests


I am at present researching Buddhist narrative and art, linked with meditation texts. Of particular interest to me are Jātaka stories, Dhammapada commentaries, still living oral traditions within South and Southeast Asia, and the study of ways they demonstrate and enact Buddhist doctrine and praxis. My research includes ongoing work on the Abhidhamma theory of meditation and psychology, often demonstrated through such narratives. As a consequence of this I have recently been working with those in the psychological disciplines on integrating Abhidhamma theory with modern psychotherapeutic/psychological clinical practice.
One longstanding interest, based on my doctoral research, is in the literary reception of Buddhist and Indic culture in the West since the nineteenth century. My research in this area in the past has included study of authors such as Rudyard Kipling and Edwin Arnold.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD English

BA Hons Greek and English

External positions

Culture and Bodhidharma (Registered under Indian Trust Act 1882)

2016 → …

Governing Board member and Chairman of the Diplomatic Committee of the World Fellowship of Buddhist

Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford

Wolfson College, University of Oxford

Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies


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