Paul G. Hackett

ph2046 AT columbia DOT edu

Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.
-- Wernher von Braun


Ph.D. Religion, Columbia University
M.Phil. Religion, Columbia University
M.L.S. College of Information Studies, University of Maryland - College Park
M.A. History of Religions, University of Virginia
B.S. Physics and Astronomy, University of Arizona
Doctoral Dissertation Barbarian Lands: Theos Bernard, Tibet, and the American Religious Life. (2008)
Thesis advisor: Robert Thurman.

The dissertation presented the first and only comprehensive narrative of the life of Theos Bernard (1908-1947). In the context of this narrative, the dissertation examined such issues as Bernard’s place in the early history of the American subculture and counter-culture informed by Indian concepts of religiosity and the narrative of the genesis and spread of Indian and Buddhist religious traditions in America over the last 150 years. In addition, Bernard’s life and writings are examined as a paradigm of an ethnically American counter-culture religious experience and his academic activities are discussed in terms of their broader implications for the study of religion.

Masters Thesis Approaches to Tibetan Information Retrieval: Segmentation vs. n-grams. (2000)
Thesis advisor: Douglas Oard.

This thesis reported the results of research evaluating automatic word-segmented indexing for Tibetan documents against a system using n-gram indexing in a search and retrieval system. For the thesis an algorithm for automatic sentence- and word-segmentation for Tibetan was designed and implemented in conjunction with a shallow parser performing automatic Part-of-Speech tagging.

Archives Compiled and Resources Developed

Buddhist Canons Research Database (BCRD)

A comprehensive database of texts in the Buddhist canons (currently encompassing the Tibetan canon with Chinese parallels) with hypertext links and a bibliography of related primary and secondary literature (editions and translations), together with full text searching of the Tibetan canons (Kangyur and Tengyur).

The Tibet Mirror Newspaper: 1925-1963

A complete archive of all extant issues of the first Tibetan language newspaper. (Partial collection currently available as part of the Tharchin Collection in the Columbia University Digital Library)

IATS Tibetan Information Technology Panels

Links to information about the “Tibetan Information Technology (IT) Panels” that have occurred at the past five Seminars of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS), with links to some of the papers and presentations given.

Tibetan and Computing

Links to selected resources (fonts, keyboards, spell-checkers, etc.) for Tibetan encoding and data manipulation on the Macintosh, and Windows/Intel PC platforms.

Sanskrit Computing

Information on on-going work in Devanagari OCR.



A Catalogue of the Comparative Kangyur
A Catalogue of the Comparative Kangyur (bka' 'gyur dpe bsdur ma).
NY: American Institute of Buddhist Studies (2013).

A catalogue of the recently published "Comparative" (dpe bsdur ma ) Kangyur, including cross-references and cataloging information for seven other recensions of the Kangyur: Derge, Peking, Narthang, Cone, Lhasa, Lithang, and Urga.
Theos Bernard, the White Lama: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life
Theos Bernard, the White Lama: Tibet, Yoga, and American Religious Life.
NY: Columbia University Press (2012).

The only comprehensive narrative of the life of Theos Bernard (1908-1947). Based on thousands of primary sources and rare archival materials, White Lama recounts the real story behind the purported adventures of this iconic figure and his role in America's religious counterculture.
     Advance Reviews
A Tibetan Verb Lexicon
A Tibetan Verb Lexicon: Verbs, Classes, and Syntactic Frames.
Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications (2003).

A lexicon of Tibetan verbs and paradigms of their usage drawn from the classical literature.

Contributed Volumes

Tibetan and Himalayan Healing
"The Sman rtsis khang: A Survey of Pedagogical and Reference Literature"
in Tibetan and Himalayan Healing: An Anthology for Anthony Aris. (eds. Ramble, Charles and Roesler, Ulrike)
Kathmandu: Vajra Books (2015).
In Vimalakīrti’s House
"On the Epistemological Basis of the Distinction between Sautrāntika and Cittamātra in Tsong-kha-pa’s Legs bshad snying po"
in In Vimalakīrti’s House: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert A. F. Thurman on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday. (eds. Christian K. Wedemeyer, John D. Dunne, and Thomas F. Yarnall)
NY: American Institute of Buddhist Studies (forthcoming, 2015), pp.345-377.
Yoga in Practice
"Theos Bernard and the Early Days of Tantric Yoga in America"
in Yoga in Practice. (ed. David White)
Princeton: Princeton University Press (2011), pp.353-364.
Changing Minds
"Drawing the Steel Bow"
in Changing Minds: Essays in Honor of Paul Jeffrey Hopkins. (ed. Guy Newland)
Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications (2001), pp.291-326.

In Preparation

In Preparation
The Assimilation of Yogic Religions Through Pop Culture.
NY: Lexington Books (forthcoming, 2017).

A volume of essays presenting case studies from comic books, television, cinema, and theater. The essays included consider the possibility that the traditions of India and Tibet have been transmitted in meaningful ways within these mediums, while acknowledging that in several instances they are mere caricatures of Orientalist fascinations.
A Reader of Classical Tibetan.
Boston: Snow Lion Publications (forthcoming, 2017).

A progressive reader in the traditional language and topics of the Tibetan Buddhist educational system with extensive grammatical annotations.

In Preparation
The Illuminating Lamp: Candrakīrti's Commentary on the Guhyasamāja Tantra.
with John Campbell, and David Mellins; in consultation with Robert Thurman
NY: AIBS (in preparation).

A translation of Candrakīrti's "Illuminating Lamp" (pradīpoddyotana) commentary on the Guhyasamāja Tantra.

Selected Papers

Tibetan Information Technology

Automatic Parallel Text Alignment for Tibetan, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Pāli texts
Paper presented at the Fourteenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies
(IATS-XIV), Bergen, Norway, June 2016.

Computational Methods in Support of Translating Buddhist Texts and Their Implications
Paper presented at the Translating Buddhist Texts: Reflections on Theory and Method Symposium
USC Dornsife, Los Angeles CA, March 2016.

Digital Resources for Research and Translation of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon
Paper presented at the Thirteenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies
(IATS-XIII), Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 2013.

The Use of yig-cha and chos-kyi-rnam-grangs in Computing Lexical Cohesion for Tibetan Topic Boundary Detection
Paper presented at the Twelfth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS-XII), Vancouver, British Columbia, August 2010.

An Entropy-based Assessment of the Tibetan Unicode Encoding
Paper presented at the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS-X), Oxford, United Kingdom, September 2003.

(with Doug Oard) Comparison of Word-Based and Syllable-Based Retrieval for Tibetan
Presented as a poster at the Information Retrieval for Asian Languages Workshop in Hong Kong in September, 2000. Available as a PDF version.

Automatic Segmentation and Part-Of-Speech Tagging For Tibetan
Paper presented at the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS-9), Leiden, The Netherlands, June 2000.

A Comparative Study of Knowledge-Based Approaches for Cross-Language Information Retrieval
A technical report describing the use of bilingual dictionaries and translation lexicons for information retrieval. CS-TR-3897 Available from the UMIACS Tech. Report Library

(with Doug Oard) Document Translation for Cross-Language Text Retrieval at the University of Maryland
Paper presented at the Sixth Text REtrieval Conference (TREC-6), Gaithersburg MD, November 1997. Available as a PDF version.

Tibetan and Buddhist Studies

Re-making, Re-marking, or Re-using? Hermeneutical Strategies and Challenges in the Guhyasamāja Commentarial Literature
Buddhist Studies Review (in press, 2016).

The Future is Not What it Used To Be: Religion, the Yogic, and Tibet in Star Trek and Doctor Who
Paper presented at the 2015 American Academy of Religion Conference (AAR 2010), Atlanta, Nov. 21 - Nov. 24, 2015.

Hermeneutical Strategies and Challenges in the Guhyasamāja Literature
Paper presented at the Seventeenth Conference of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS-17), Vienna, Austria, Aug 18-23, 2014.

On the Construction of a Sādhana from a Root Tantra: A Case Study in the Guhyasamāja System
Paper presented at the Evolution of Tantric Ritual Symposium, University of California, Berkeley, CA, Mar. 14-16, 2014.

仏教の経典データベース ["The Buddhist Canons Research Database: Resources and Data Structures"]
Paper presented at the International Symposium: Humanities Studies in the Digital Age and the Role of Buddhist Studies, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 16-17, 2013.

The AIBS Comprehensive Kangyur and Tengyur Catalogue: Bibliographic Resources for Translators, Scholars, and Students
Paper presented at the Sixteenth Conference of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS-16), Jinshan, Taiwan, R.O.C., June 20-25, 2011.

On the Comparative Bka'-bstan-'gyur
Paper presented at the Sixteenth Conference of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS-16), Jinshan, Taiwan, R.O.C., June 20-25, 2011.

Patterns of Engagement: From 'Hinduism and Science' to 'Buddhism and Science'
Paper presented at the 2010 American Academy of Religion Conference (AAR 2010), Atlanta, Oct. 31 - Nov. 1, 2010.

Looking For a Lost Gita: Gedun Chopel's Tibetan Translation of the Bhakti Chapter
Namarupa, vol. 7 (2007), pp.41-45.

Theos Bernard and the Twentieth Century Mythology of Tibet
Paper presented at the Fourteenth International Association of Buddhist Studies Conference (IABS-XIV), London, Aug. 29 - Sept. 4, 2005.

Book Review: Jeffrey Hopkins. Emptiness in the Mind-Only School of Buddhism:
Dynamic Responses to Dzong-ka-ba's The Essence of Eloquence: I.
Journal of Buddhist Ethics 6 (1999): 232-235. Available in PDF. [cached]

Book Review: Georges Dreyfus. Recognizing Reality. Center for South Asian Studies Newsletter, Fall 1996.
Available in HTML.

Current Research

The "Illuminating Lamp" (pradīpodyotana)
An NEH funded project to translate the Guhyasamāja root tantra, together with the Illuminating Lamp commentary attributed to Candrakīrti.

The Jñānapada Commentarial Lineage of Guhyasamāja
Translations and analyses of works by the Indian siddha Buddhaśrījñānapada (sangs rgyas ye shes zhabs) and his commentarial descendants on the theories and practices associated with the Mañjuvajra form of Guhyasamāja.

Previous Research

The Life and Works of Theos Bernard (1908-1947)
The biography of an early pioneer of Indo-Tibetan studies at Columbia University.

Fieldwork and professional development

May 2006 - September 2006: Dissertation Research in Tibet and Northern India (Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, and Spiti).

February 2001 - March 2001: Text Acquisitions in North China and Eastern Tibet.

November 1999 - December 1999: Text Acquisitions in North India.

March 1996 - April 1996: Text Acquisitions in North, Central and South India.

1991 - 2001: Private study with the venerable Geshe Jampel Thardo of Drepung Loseling Monastic University