Bryan J. Cuevas

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

Contact Information

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

By appointment



FSU Buddhist Studies

Bryan J. Cuevas (Ph.D., University of Virginia) joined the Department of Religion faculty in Fall 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, and the politics of ritual power in premodern Tibetan societies.

Dr. Cuevas has just completed a new book entitled The Rwa pod and Other 'Lost' Works of Rwa lo tsā ba's Vajrabhairava Tradition: A Catalogue of Recently Acquired Tibetan Manuscripts from Mongolia and Khams and Their Significance, to be published in the series Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde (WSTB), University of Vienna. This is a component of a larger project on the history of the cults of Vajrabhairava and Yamāntaka/Yamāri in Tibet, with special focus on the Raluk (Rwa lugs) transmissions and their lineages from the twelfth through early eighteenth centuries. He is also continuing work on a broader study of Tibetan sorcery and the politics of Buddhist ritual magic in Tibet up through the nineteenth century. His previous books include the award-winning translation The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat: The Life of Ra Lotsawa (Penguin Classics, 2015), the biography of Tibet’s most notorious Buddhist sorcerer, which won a Shantarakshita Award for Excellence in Translation from the Tsadra Foundation in 2017; 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). 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, art, and ritual studies.

Dr. Cuevas has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ 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 (NEH), and the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), as well as grants from public and private endowments.


Fall 2021
  • REL3340: Buddhist Tradition
  • RLG5354: Buddhist Historiography: Tibet
  • RLG6298: Tibetan Bibliography
Spring 2021
  • REL3340: Buddhist Tradition
  • RLG5356: Readings in Tibetan