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Karen Lang

Professor Emeritus
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA), University of Washington
  • Master of Arts (MA), University of Washington
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Washington

Current Research and Teaching

Karen C. Lang is Professor of Buddhist Studies and Indian Religions and Director of the Center for South Asian Studies. As a member of UVA's Religious Studies Department since 1982, she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Buddhist history and philosophy, including seminars on Buddhist and Hindu Ethics, Jainism, Mahayana Budddhism, and Buddhism and Gender, as well as reading courses in Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan. She has received Fulbright, NEH, and AIIS fellowships. Her publications include Four Illusions: Candrakirti's Advice on the Bodhisattva PathAryadeva on the Bodhisattva’s Cultivation of Merit and Knoweldge(translated into German in 2007), and numerous articles on Buddhist philosophy and literature. Professor Lang was a member of the translation team that produced the first English translation of Tsongkhapa’s The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. Her current research and translation interests focus on the work of 7th-century Buddhist philosopher Candrakirti.



  • Catuhsataka: 400 Verse über den Weg zur Erleuchtung. Frankfurt am Main: Angkor Verlag 2007.
  • Four Illusions: Candrakirti’s Advice on the Bodhisattva's Practice of Yoga. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Aryadeva’s Catuhsataka: On the Bodhisattva's Cultivation of Merit and Knowledge, Indiske Studier VII, Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1986.


  • 2010 “The Metta Sutta: The Buddha’s Teaching on Love” in Love, ed. Laura George. Atlas Books, forthcoming
  • 2008 “Candrakirti’s Criticism of Samkhya Concepts of Self” in Proceedings of the Twelfth International Sanskrit Studies Conference, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, pp.1-7.
  • 2008 “Candrakirti on the Medieval Military Culture of South India” in Buddhist Traditions in the Art, Archaeology and Literature of Andhra, ed. Sree Padma Holt, State University of New York Press, pp. 127-150.
  • 2001 “Poetic license in the Buddhist Sanskrit Verses of the Upalipariprccha,” Indo-Iranian Journal 44: 231-240.
  • 2000 Translation of “Four Noble Truths” section of Tsong kha pa's Lam Rim. In The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. eds. Joshua Cutler and Guy Newland. Snow Lion Press, pp. 261-313.
  • 1999 “Women's Roles in Ancient India.“ In Women Roles in the Ancient Civilizations, ed. Bella Vivante. Westport CN: Greenwood Press, pp. 35-61.
  • 1995a “Shaven Heads and Loose Hair: Buddhist Reflections on Sexuality.“ In Off With Her Head: The Denial of Women's Identity in Myth, Religion, and Culture. eds. Howard Eilberg-Schwartz and Wendy Doniger. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 32-52.
  • 1995b “Aryadeva and Candrakirti on Self and Selflessness.“ In Buddhism in Practice, ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jr. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 380-98.
  • 1994 “Meditation as a Tool for Deconstructing the Phenomenal World.“ In Buddhist Forum, III. eds. Tadeusz Skorupski and Ulrich Pagel. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1994: 143-59.
  • 1993 “On the Middle Indic forms found in Candrakirti’s quotations from the ninth chapter of the Samadhirajasutra.“ In Aspects of Buddhist Sanskrit. ed. K. N. Shastri. Sarnath: Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies, pp. 426-459.
  • 1992a “Aryadeva and Candrakirti on the Dharma of Kings.” Asiastische Studien XLVI/1: 31-43.
  • 1992 b “A Dialogue on Death: Tibetan Commentaries on the First Chapter of Aryadeva’s Catuhsataka.“ In Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation, eds. Steven Goodman and Ron Davidson. Albany: SUNY Press, pp. 45-54.
  • 1990 “Spa-tshab Nyi-ma-grags and the Introduction of Prasangika Madhyamaka into Tibet.“ In Reflections on Tibetan Culture, eds. Lawrence Epstein and Richard F. Sherburne (Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellon Press, pp. 127-41.
  • 1988 “Aryadeva’s Citation of Nyaya texts.“ Wiener Zeitschrift fur die Kunde Sudasiens 32: 131-40.
  • 1986 “Lord Death's Snare.“ Feminist Studies in Religion 2/2:63-79.
  • 1982 “Images of Women in Early Buddhism and Christian Gnosticism.“ Buddhist-Christian Studies II: 95-105.
  • 1981 “Via Negativa in Mahayana Buddhism and Gnosticism.“ The Eastern Buddhist XIV/1: 43-60.
  • 1980 “Aryadeva on the Career of the Bodhisattva.“ In Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Edward Richardson, ed. Michael Aris. Westminster: Aris and Phillips, pp. 192-8.

Encyclopedia and Reference Articles

  • 2010 “Candrakirti” in Oxford Bibliographies Online
  • 2007 “Buton” , Canons and Literature” , “Chronicles and pilgrimage records”, “Commentarial works”, ”Hagiographies” , “Jatakas and other narrative collections” “Non-canonical and apocryphal literature” , “Pali canon” , “Ritual texts”, “Tripitaka” in Routledge Curzon Encyclopedia of Buddhism, pp. 190, 195-205, 231-233, 235-237, 384-386, 426-428, 559-561, 583-586, 619-621, 757-765.
  • 2004 “Madhyamaka” In Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Macmillan Press, pp. 479-485.
  • 2003 “Catuhsataka,“ “Sataka,“ and “Aksarasataka.“ In Mahayana Philosophy. ed. Karl Potter (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, pp. 197-228.
  • 1992 “Yamaka.“ In Abhidharma Philosophy, ed. Karl Potter (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, pp. 327-336.

Research Interests: 

Buddhism in India, Sri Lanka and Tibet; the relationship between early Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu texts; Indian philosophy; the relationship between gender and religious discourse and practice.