Michael Radich

Associate Professor School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies


Teaching in 2017

Research interests

Buddhism, Chinese thought, Asian religions.

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I took up my post at VUW in 2005, and received my doctorate from Harvard University in 2007. In 2009, I spent three months at Kyōto University as a visiting scholar, at the invitation of Professor Shingū Kazushige. My first monograph, published in 2011, treats the history of the Buddhist story of the sins and redemption of King Ajātaśatru, as it changed across two thousand years of Buddhist history in India, China and Japan. In the winter term of 2013-2014, I was the Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Hamburg University Numata Center for Buddhist Studies. I also spent the entirety of 2015 in Hamburg, this time on a Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, hosted by Prof. Dr. Michael Zimmermann.

I teach mainly Asian Religions and Buddhism. I currently pursue research in the following areas:

  • the transmission of Buddhism to China from India and various other intermediate transition zones;
  • the translation of Buddhist texts into Chinese;
  • doctrines about the special bodies of the Buddha;
  • problems of authorship and ascription in the Chinese Buddhist canon;
  • the development of computer-assisted methods and tools for the philological examination of classical Buddhist  texts, especially in Chinese;
  • the works of Paramārtha (499-569), an important Indian missionary-monk to China;
  • tathāgatagarbha/Buddha-nature doctrine;
  • the Mahāparinirvāṇa-mahāsūtra;
  • features and conditions of the rise and early development of Mahāyāna Buddhism.

Selected publications

  • “Problems of Attribution, Style, and Dating Relating to the “Great Cloud Sūtras” in the Chinese Buddhist Canon (T 387, T 388/S.6916).” In Buddhist Transformations and Interactions: Papers in Honor of Antonino Forte, edited by Victor Mair, Tansen Sen, and Chen Jinhua, 235-289. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2017
  • “Were the Ekottarika-āgama 增壹阿含經 T 125 and the Madhyama-āgama 中阿含經 T 26 Translated by the Same Person? An Assessment on the Basis of Translation Style.” In Research on the Madhyama-āgama, edited by Dhammadinnā, 209-237. Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts Research Series 5. Taipei: Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation, 2017. (with Anālayo Bhikkhu).
  • "Perfected Embodiment: A Buddhist-Inspired Challenge to Contemporary Theories of the Body." In Refiguring the Body: Embodiment in South Asian Religions, edited by Barbara A. Holdrege and Karen Pechelis, 17-58. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2016.
  • マイケル・ラディッチ. “Chō toshite no tamashii, arui wa chō no tamashii 蝶としての魂 あるいは蝶の魂 [Butterfly Souls].” Special Issue for the Retirement of Professor Shingū Kazushige 新宮一成教授 退職記念号. Ningen sonzairon 人間存在論/Menschenontologie 22 (2016): 17-27.
  • “A ‘Prehistory’ to Chinese Debates on the Survival of Death by the Spirit, with a Focus on the Term shishen 識神/shenshi 神識.” Journal of Chinese Religions 44, no. 2 (2016): 105-126.
  • “Tibetan Evidence for the Sources of Chapters of the Synoptic Suvarṇaprabhāsottama-sūtra T664 Ascribed to Paramārtha”. Buddhist Studies Review 32, no. 2 (2015): 245-270.
  • The Mahāparinirvāṇa-mahāsūtra and the Emergence of Tathāgatagarbha Doctrine. Hamburg Buddhist Studies 5. Edited by Michael Zimmermann. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2015.
  • Review of The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism. By Paul Copp. Sheng Yen Series in Buddhist Studies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Tang Studies 33 (2015): 91-110.
  • "Tathāgatagarbha Scriptures." In Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Volume One: Literature and Languages, edited by Jonathan Silk, Oskar von Hinüber, and Vincent Eltschinger, 261-273. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
  • Lin, Chen-kuo and Michael Radich, eds. A Distant Mirror: Articulating Indic Ideas in Sixth and Seventh Century Chinese Buddhism. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2014.
  • Radich, Michael. "Ideas about 'Consciousness' in Fifth and Sixth Century Chinese Buddhist Debates on the Survival of Death by the Spirit, and the Chinese Background to *Amalavijñāna." In A Distant Mirror: Articulating Indic Ideas in Sixth and Seventh Century Chinese Buddhism, edited by Chen-kuo Lin and Michael Radich, 471-512. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2014.
  • Radich, Michael and Chen-kuo Lin. "Introduction." In A Distant Mirror: Articulating Indic Ideas in Sixth and Seventh Century Chinese Buddhism, edited by Chen-kuo Lin and Michael Radich, 15-31. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press, 2014.
  • "On the Sources, Style and Authorship of Chapters of the Synoptic Suvarṇaprabhāsottama-sūtra T664 Ascribed to Paramārtha (Part 1)." Annual Report of The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology 17 (2014): 207-244.
  • "Immortal Buddhas and Their Indestructible Embodiments: The Advent of the Concept of Vajrakāya." Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies  34 (2011 [2013]): 227-290.
  • "External Evidence Relating to Works Ascribed to Paramārtha, with a Focus on Traditional Chinese Catalogues." In Shintai sanzō kenkyū ronshū 真諦三藏研究論集 [Studies of the Works and Influence of Paramartha], edited by Funayama Tōru 船山徹, 39-102[L]. Kyoto: Kyōto daigaku jinbun kagaku kenkyūjo/Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, 2012.
  • How Ajātaśatru Was Reformed: The Domestication of "Ajase" and Stories in Buddhist History. Studia Philologica Buddhica Monograph Series XXVII. Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 2011.
  • "Alternative Models of Freedom in Buddhism." In Human Beings and Freedom: An Interdiciplinary Perspective, edited by J. L. Shaw and Michael Hemmingsen, 326-331. Kolkata: Punthi Pustak, 2011.
  • "Embodiments of the Buddha in Sarvâstivāda Doctrine: With Special Reference to the *Mahavibhāṣā." Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology 13 (2010): 121-172
  • "Budda no 'karada' ['Bodies' of the Buddha]." Jinkan Forum ['Forum', Bulletin of the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University] 26(2010): 48-53.
  • "The Doctrine of *Amalavijñāna in Paramārtha (499-569), and Later Authors to Approximately 800 C.E." Zinbun 41 (2008): 45-174.
  • "Being Irrational": Lacan, the Objet a, and the Golden Mean (Tokyo: Gakuju Shoin, 2004), translation of Shingū Kazushige, Rakan no seishinbunseki (Kōdansha).
  • "Shôbôgenzô kaiin zanmai", translated with Carl Bielefeldt, Dharma Eye, No. 14 (Spring, 2004).
  • "Problems and Opportunities in the Study of the Bodies of the Buddha", New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 9, 1 (June, 2007): 46-69.

Administrative responsibilities

Programme director.