I participated in RYI’s Translator Training Program (TTP) in 2017-2018, and it was one of the most memorable years of my life. I not only had a chance to deepen my studies in Tibetan language and Buddhism, but most importantly, I made some wonderful friends who have changed my life forever. The exposure I had in Kathmandu to all the Buddhist teachings, teachers, and daily life immersed in dharma has been a shining light for me in my years after the TTP, especially since returning to the U.S. for my Ph.D. I highly recommend enrolling in RYI for any of their programs, including their online ones. If you have a chance to travel and to live in Boudhanath, light lots of butter lamps, make pilgrimages, auspicious connections, and many aspirations at these sacred sites. You might find, like I did, that the aspirations I made by the famous Boudhanath Stupa have followed me for years after, keeping me accountable to my vows to never forget bodhicitta and to serve sentient beings as much as I can.

Assistant Research Professor

Email: daniel.mcnamara@ryi.org


Profile

Daniel Patrick McNamara joined RYI as a researcher in 2018, but first connected with the school and its founder—Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche—in 2001. Daniel earned an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a PhD in West and South Asian Religions from Emory University. His doctoral dissertation—Nihilists and Noble Ones: Ratnākaraśānti’s Engagement with Nāgārjuna, Mādhyamikas, and the Mahāyāna in the Madhyamakālaṃkāravṛtti—examines the philosophy of the Indian Buddhist scholar-saint Ratnākaraśānti (c. 970-1040), particularly his critiques of Madhyamaka philosophy and his presentation of a single Mahāyāna view. Daniel’s research at RYI concerns the influence of Ratnākaraśānti’s philosophy in Tibet and the development of “other-emptiness” (gzhan stong) doctrines. 

Daniel has taught MA-level classes at the Candler School of Theology and BA classes Emory University; he has also taught on the Carleton-Antioch Buddhist Studies in Bodh Gaya Program. Subjects taught include: translation methodology, methodology of Buddhist Studies, Pramāṇa Theory, Madhyamaka Philosophy, Sanskrit, and classical Tibetan. 

Select Publications

Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. Rainfall of Blessing Amṛta: An Homage to the Life and Liberation of Jetsun Dorje Pagmo Combined with an Aspiration for the Stages of the Path. rje btsun rdo rje phag mo’i rnam thar gsol ’debs lam rim gyi smon lam dang bcas pa byin rlabs bdud rtsi’i char ’bebs. ed. Ryan Jones. Khyentse Vision Project, 2023. 

The King of Tantras, the Glorious Khasama. dpal nam mkha’ dang mnyam pa’i rgyud kyi  rgyal po, *Śrīkhasamatantrarāja. Ed. Andreas Doctor. Toh. 386. http://84000.co. 2022. 

Khenpo Appey Rinpoche. “The Passing of Enlightened Beings” and “The Seven-Branch Prayer.”  Words of a Gentle Sage, vol. 1. Kathmandu: Vajra Books, 2018. 

McNamara, Daniel. “When Madhyamaka is not the Middle Path: Ratnākaraśānti on Yogācāra, Nāgārjuna, and the Madhyamapratipad.” Journal for the International Association of Buddhist Studies 40, pp. 117-135, 2017. 

Select Conference Papers and Public Lectures: 

“How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go? Perspectives from Yogācāra and the Kālacakratantra on the Creation of Human Worlds.” Buddhism, Creativity, and Art: An International Conference. Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Kathmandu, Nepal. 28-30 April, 2023. 

“The Two Truths are Not Enough: Ratnākaraśānti’s Critique of Mādhyamikas.”  

“Yogācāra Themes in Tantric Literature: Hevajratantra ad 1.8.24-56.” American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX,  20-23 November, 2021. 

“The Influence of the Laṅkāvatārasūtra on the Sākāra-Nirākāra Debate.” AAR Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, 17-20 November 2018. 

“Tukdam, an Anthropological Perspective: an Interview with Dr. Dylan Lott.” Public Lecture at the Rangung Yeshe Institute, May 2021 

“Buddhism and Philosophy, Buddhism as Philosophy: an Interview with Professor Jay Garfield.” Public Lecture at the Rangung Yeshe Institute, March 2021 

“Exploring a 17th-century thangka of Cakrasaṃvara.” Public Lecture at the Carlos Art Museum at Emory University. April 2016. 

“An Inverted Apocalypse: Buddhist and Shi’a Narratives of a Righteous, World-Ending War.”  University of Wisconsin-Madison Annual Conference on South Asia, October 2012.  

“Phenomenology, Reductionism, and the Academic Study of Buddhism.” Public Lecture at Mahidol University, Bangkok, March 2012. 

“On the Status of the Trisvabhāvanirdeśa in Contemporary Conceptions of Yogācāra Thought.”  AAR Annual Meeting.  Atlanta, GA. 30 October-1 November, 2010. 

Senior Academic Advisor

Email: john.makransky@bc.edu


Profile

John Makransky, PhD, has been Associate Professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College, Senior Academic Advisor for Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s Centre of Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal, president of the Society of Buddhist-Christian studies, and Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute.

John’s academic writings focus on connections between devotion, compassion, and wisdom in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, on adapting Buddhist practices to meet contemporary minds, and on theoretical issues in interfaith learning. In the 1990s, John was one of the leaders of a scholarly movement in the American Academy of Religion to establish a unit dedicated to Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection (“Buddhist Theology”). John has also developed the Sustainable Compassion Training model of contemplative practice (SCT) to help modern Buddhists, people of diverse faiths, and those in caring roles and professions generate a more sustaining, inclusive and unconditional power of compassion and awareness to support their lives and work (https://sustainablecompassion.org). 

Select publications

Books

Buddhahood Embodied: Sources of Controversy in India and Tibet (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997).  Historical and critical text analysis of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Perfection of Wisdom literature as basis for Buddhist reflection on the nature of Buddhahood—the kinds of awareness, qualities and activities that constitute enlightenment as understood in diverse Indo-Tibetan traditions. 

Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars (Routledge-Curzon: Critical Studies in Buddhism, 2000), co-edited with Roger Jackson.  Anthology of articles by scholars trained in Buddhist traditions, to explore what Buddhism can learn from modern academic findings and what the modern world can learn from Buddhism.   

Awakening Through Love — Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness (Boston: Wisdom Publications 2007).  Seeks to make newly accessible the principles and practices of devotion, love, compassion and wisdom from Tibetan Buddhism for modern Buddhists, deep inter-faith learning, and for people in caring roles and professions.  

Articles and Chapters: 

“Compassion in Buddhist Psychology” in Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapyed. by Christopher Germer and Ronald Siegel (New York: Guilford Press, 2012), 61-75.

“Buddhist Constructive Reflection Past and Present: Recurrent Reinterpretation in Meeting New Cultural Needs and Challenges,” Open Access, to be published by the European Academy of Religion in 2024.  

“Compassion and Skillful Means: Cultural Adaptation, Psychological Science, and Creative Responsiveness.” Co-authored with Paul Condon. Mindfulness Journal, March 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-022-01866-y 

“Synergies of Devotion, Compassion and Wisdom in Śāntideva for Buddhists and Christians.” Buddhist-Christian Studies Journal Vol. 41, November 2021, pp. 169-176. 

“Sustainable Compassion Training: Integrating Meditation Theory with Psychological Science,” co-authored with Paul Condon. Frontiers in Psychology 11, September 2020. | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02249 

“Contrasting Tsongkhapa and Longchenpa:  Buddhist Diversity, Fractal Theory and Comparative Theology,” in New Paths for Interreligious Theology: Perry Schmidt-Leukel’s Fractal Interpretation of Religious Diversity, ed. by Allan Race and Paul Knitter (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2019).   

 “How Buddhist and Christian Liberation Epistemologies Should Inform and Correct Each Other,Buddhist-Christian Studies Journal, Vol. 39, November 2019.

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