Robert M. Gimello

Gimello 2

Emeritus Faculty 
Research Professor of Theology and of East Asian Languages & Cultures 
World Religions and World Church


B.A. & M.A., Seton Hall University, 1964‐65

Ph.D. Columbia University, 1976

Post‐Doctoral Study at Tokyo University, 1979

Research and Teaching Interests

Gimello is an historian of Buddhism with special interests also in the Theology of Religions and in Comparative Mysticism. In the field of Buddhist Studies he concentrates especially on the Buddhism of East Asia (China, Korea, & Japan), most particularly on the Buddhism of medieval and early modern China. The traditions of Buddhist thought and practice on which most of his work has focused are Huayan (The “Flower‐Ornament” Tradition), Chan (Zen), and Esoteric (Tantric) Buddhism, in the study of all of which he is particularly concerned with the relationships between Buddhist thought or doctrine and Buddhist contemplative and liturgical practice.

In the area of Theology of Religions, against the background of contemporary debates about the theological implications of religious pluralism, and in critical response to major trends in the ongoing Buddhist‐Christian dialogue, he is concerned chiefly with the question of what Catholic theology can, or should, or must make of Buddhism.

In the field of the study of mysticism he joins regularly in the debates, chiefly among philosophers of religion, about the differences and similarities among various mystical traditions and about the relationship between mystical experience and the practices and beliefs that comprise religious traditions.

In addition to his previous employment at Dartmouth College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Arizona, and Harvard University, he has held visiting appointments at the University of London, the University of Heidelberg, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, the Charles University in Prague, and the Chung Hwa Institute for Buddhist Studies in Taipei. In the spring‐summer term of 2010 he will serve as the Shinnyō‐en Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at Stanford University.

Gimello has served in the past as President of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religion, was a founding member of the Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism, and has recently joined the editorial board of the journal, Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture.


Recent Publications


Co-edited with Frédéric Girard and Imre Hamar. 2013. Avataṃsaka Buddhism in East Asia: Origins and Adaptations of a Visual Culture. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Co-edited with Robert E. Buswell, Jr. 1992. Paths to Liberation: The Mārga and Its Transformations in Buddhist Thought. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

A Flowering of Chinese Buddhism: Essays on the Huayan Tradition, co‐edited with Imre Hamar (Budapest) and Frédéric Girard (Paris).

Co-edited with Peter N. Gregory. 1984. Studies in Chan and Huayan. Honolulu: Univ. of Hawai’i Press.

Book Chapters:

2012. “A Depth of Otherness: Buddhism and the Benedict’s Theology of Religions,” in Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI, edited by John C. Cavadini, pp. 114-141. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.

2010. “Echoes of the Dìlùn 地論 (Asaṅga’s Treatise on the Ten Stages of the Bodhisattva Path) in the Thought of Ŭisang 義湘,” in Jiron shisō no keisei to hen’yō 地論思想の形成と変容 (The

Formation and Transformation of the Thought of the Treatise on the Stages), ed. by the Geumgang University Center for the Study of Buddhist Culture 金剛大學校佛教文化研究

所. Tokyo: Kokusho kankōkai 国書刊行会.


2014. “Shijian yu chushijian “huaijing”: Wutaishan “shensheng” foshan de youlai 世间与出世间“坏 境”:五台山与“神圣”佛山的由来 (Environments Worldly and Otherworldly: Wutaishan and the Origin of a “Sacred” Buddhist Mountain), Fayin 法音 (Voice of the Dharma) July: #359, 29-32.


331 Malloy Hall