Bryan J. Cuevas

John F. Priest Professor of Religion
Dr. Bryan J. Cuevas

Contact Information

Area
History and Ethnography of Religions
Office Location
120E Dodd Hall
Office Hours

By appointment

Background

buddhist_icon.jpg

 

FSU Buddhist Studies

Bryan J. Cuevas (Ph.D., University of Virginia) joined the Department of Religion faculty in 2000. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Asian religious traditions, specializing in Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhism, Tibetan history, language, and culture. His principal research interests focus on Tibetan history and biography, Buddhist magic and sorcery, the politics of ritual power in premodern Tibetan societies, and the literary history of death narratives and death-related practices.

Dr. Cuevas is the author of Travels in the Netherworld: Buddhist Popular Narratives of Death and the Afterlife in Tibet (Oxford, 2008) and The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Oxford, 2003). He is also the co-editor of The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations, with Jacqueline I. Stone (Kuroda Institute/Hawai'i, 2007) and Power, Politics, and the Reinvention of Tradition: Tibet in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, with Kurtis R. Schaeffer (Brill, 2006). More recently, he is the translator of The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat: The Life of Ra Lotsawa (Penguin Classics, 2015), the biography of Tibet’s most notorious Buddhist sorcerer. His translation won a Shantarakshita Award for Excellence in Translation from the Tsadra Foundation in 2017. His recent articles and reviews have appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Journal of Asian Studies, History of Religions, Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, and Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, as well as contributions to several anthologies on Tibetan literature, history, and ritual studies. He is currently working on a study of Tibetan sorcery and the politics of Buddhist ritual magic in Tibet up through the early nineteenth century.

Dr. Cuevas has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and has held visiting appointments at UC Berkeley, Princeton University, and Emory University. He has also been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.

News

  • Dr. Cuevas has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship
    • cuevas_fellowship.jpg
  • Featured on New Books Network : New Books in Buddhist Studies
    Bryan Cuevas, Travels in the Netherworld: Buddhist Popular Narratives of Death and the Afterlife in Tibet. Oxford University Press, 2008. Interview by Scott Mitchell on September 23, 2011
    To read the article and listen to the podcast, click here.
  • FSU News Item : FSU vaults to top-tier in Asian studies

Recent Courses

spring 2018
REL3340: The Buddhist Tradition

This course surveys the Buddhist tradition from its beginnings through the modem period. Some attention to its contemporary forms. Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC) requirements.

REL4359/RLG5354: Buddhist Biography

Biography is one of the most central and enduring literary genres of the Buddhist tradition. Religious biography (hagiography) is a form of didactic literature that speaks about the ideal Buddhist life, with the Buddha's own life serving as the paradigm for all Buddhists, monks, nuns, and laity alike. But Buddhist biography is more than a popular vehicle for religious instruction; it is also a particular type of historical writing, one that emphasizes individual agency and views the subject as a point at which diverse historical forces converge. This is apparent also in religious autobiography, which promises a more intimate portrait of the “self” in history in relation to the world. In this seminar we examine the nature of Buddhist sacred life writing with a focus on traditional Buddhist hagiography and autobiography in India, Tibet, China, and Japan. Issues addressed will include biography as history, sociocultural constructions of experience, aspects of the self-consciousness of personality, and the availability of particular identity roles transmitted through texts. The course will run on a seminar format with active and in-depth discussion of readings and intensive individual writing projects.

RLG5356: Readings in Tibetan Religious Texts  

This course is a seminar that covers selected primary-source readings in Tibetan language about the religious history of Tibet. Readings are drawn from a variety of historical periods and genres, including history, biography, Buddhist canonical texts, philosophical treatises, ritual manuals, poetry, and epic narrative. The course also introduces students to various tools and methods for the study of classical and modern Tibetan literature.

Fall 2017
REL3340-2: The Buddhist Tradition (Honors)

This course surveys the Buddhist tradition from its beginnings through the modern period.  Some attention to its contemporary forms.  Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC) requirements.

RLG5305-2: Seminar on History of Rel: Tibet History & Historiography
RLG5356: Readings in Tibetan  

This course is a seminar that covers selected primary-source readings in Tibetan language about the religious history of Tibet.  Readings are drawn from a variety of historical periods and genres, including history, biography, Buddhist canonical texts, philosophical treatises, ritual manuals, poetry, and epic narrative.  The course also introduces students to various tools and methods for the study of classical and modern Tibetan literature.