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Professor Bielefeldt specializes in East Asian Buddhism, with particular emphasis on the intellectual history of the Zen tradition. He is the author of Dōgen's Manuals of Zen Meditation and other works on early Japanese Zen, and serves as editor of the Soto Zen Text Project, which prepares annotated translations of the scriptures of the Soto school of Japanese Zen. Bielefeldt, who has been a Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford since 1980, has led travel/study programs to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Bielefeldt founded the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford (HCBSS), formerly the Stanford Center for Buddhist Studies (SCBS).

Key works

A multivolume set of annotated translations of the complete scriptural canon of the Sôtôshû, edited with G. Foulk. In progress

“Expedient Devices, the One Vehicle, and the Lifespan of the Buddha.” In J. Stone and S. Teiser, ed. Readings of the Lotus Sutra. NY: Columbia University Press, 2009

"Practice." In D. Lopez, ed., Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism, pp. 229-244. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005

“Filling the Zen Shū: Notes on the Jisshū yōdō ki.” Cahiers d'Extrême Asie 7 (1993-94), pp. 221-248. Reprinted in Bernard Faure, ed., Chan Buddhism in Ritual Contexts, pp. 179-210. New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003

“Kokan Shiren and the Sectarian Uses of History.” In Jeffrey Mass, ed., The Origins of Japan's Medieval World: Courtiers, Clerics, Warriors, and Peasants in the Fourteenth Century, pp. 295-317. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998

“Disarming the Superpowers: The abhijñā in Eisai and Dōgen.” In Dōgen zenji kenkyū ronshū, ed. by Daihonzan Eiheiji Daionki Kyoku, pp. 1018-1046. Fukui-ken: Eiheiji, 2002

Dōgen’s Manuals of Zen Meditation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998

Prof. Bielefeldt in the News

Shinnyo-en Foundation, 2006
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (Companion to PBS show), 6 July 2001
Stanford Magazine, January/February, 2006
Stanford Daily, May 4, 2000
Slate Magazine, November 15, 2005
Stanford Daily, April 19, 2007
Stanford Report, December 11, 2002
Stanford Daily, April 21, 2000


  • Asian Religions
  • Zen Buddhism
  • Buddhism
  • Soto school of Japanese Zen
  • Eihei Dōgen


Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 1980