Diane Denis


Assistant Research Professor

Email: diane.denis@ryi.org


Diane Denis joined RYI’s research team in 2017. She brought expertise in the areas of Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan and Sanskrit languages as well as contemplative arts. She became involved in the RYI Public Talk Series in 2018.

Prior to her research appointment at RYI, Denis worked at Laval in the department of Religious Studies, and at Naropa University and Acadia University in the performing arts departments. While at Laval, she founded a Buddhist study group 2008-2013, and at Naropa founded the Student Union and served as coordinator 1993-1995.  She is the founder of a charitable organization based in Canada called The Sahle O Project (1996) involved in giving access to higher education for young women as well as the founder of the Wandering Yogic Wisdom Art Festival (WYWAF) based on 25 years in artistic research.

She works on translations in connection with both Yogācāra and Madhyamaka Thought examining its possible contemporary relevance/applications. Some of her latest research with the ICRC on the interface between Maitreya’s work and the IHL brought her to recently join a group doing research on Buddhism and the refugee crisis. She is also involved with her colleague Julia Stenzel in a series of discussions looking at ways to develop experiential learning at RYI and in Buddhist Studies and with professional artists interested in contemplative approaches to the creative process.

She publishes in both French and English, her recent work includes:

  • Translations from Tibetan into both French and English;
  • A structural analysis of a 4th century Buddhist Indian text titled the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga (the distinction between phenomena and their nature) offering literary insight;
  • A reflection on how this Dharmadharmatāvibhāga could be of used in assessing the situation in times of armed conflict (In connection with the Red Cross inquiry);
  • A Buddhist analysis of Esther Rochon science fiction novels in connection with “l’ écriture migrante” – where she discusses the influence of Buddhist thought on Quebec’s literature as being more than the result of “immigration”. She speaks of the infamous quest for identity offering a feminist angle.

Her current research and writing interests examine the application of Vasubandhu’s method for translation of and research on 4th century Indian texts, including the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga (DDV), the Madhyāntavibhāga (MAV) and the Ratnagotravibhāga. It contributes both to a reflection on a specific historical and philosophical context as well as the interdisciplinary and intercultural conversations, a dialogue, which is naturally placed at the heart of our social concerns. She is also active in the translation of the Madhyāntavibhāga and commentaries into French. Other topics of interest are the relationship between the teaching on not-self and the Tathāgatagarbha; Buddhism and the Refugee Crisis, and Contemplative Arts.

Selected Publications

  • “The Structure of the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga as Revealed by Vasubandhu’s Method Found in the Vhyākhyāyukti”. The Journal of Buddhist Philosophy Forthcoming – 2022
  • “Fundamental Intelligence, a Buddhist Justification for the Universal Protection of Human Rights Under IHL” in a forthcoming volume edited by the International Committee of the Red Cross – 2022
  • L’oeuvre d’Esther Rochon et la pensée bouddhique (submitted to LTP – possible publication 2022)
  • Lumière de sapience, a French translation of the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga and of Mipham’s commentary (submitted)
  • Doctoral Thesis, translation from French to English (in process)

See also

  • “Le rôle d’une spécialiste en études bouddhiques dans l’espace publique québécois actuel” Laval Théologique et Philosophique 2010.
  • “La traduction du terme ‘dharma’ (Tib. chos) dans le contexte du Dharmadharmatāvibhāga, texte bouddhique de l’Inde du IVe siècle” Laval Théologique et Philosophique 2017 
IABSYogācāra – Madhyamaka – Mahāmudrā
AAREarly Buddhism
Researcher with teaching responsibilitiesTranslation studies
Fundamentals of Buddhist Philosophy, Buddha Nature Thought, Yogâcâra Thought, Buddhist Art, Translation from Tibetan and SanskritApplied Buddhism
Contemplative Arts


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