Tripti Joshi (Editor)

William Bodiford

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Occupation  Professor
Name  William Bodiford
Subject  Religion

Genre  Non-fiction
Nationality  United States
Role  Author
William Bodiford terebesshuzenmesterekBodiford1jpg
Born  December 3, 1955 (age 60) (1955-12-03)
Alma mater  Yale University University of Tsukuba Komazawa University
Notable works  Soto Zen in Medieval Japan
Books  Soto Zen in medieval Japan
Education  University of Tsukuba, Komazawa University, Yale University

William M. Bodiford (born December 3, 1955) is an American professor and author. He teaches Buddhist Studies and the religion of Japan and East Asia at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Education and early career

In his section "Acknowledgments" in his book Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan, Bodiford thanks the monks of the Eihei-ji temple in Japan who "kindly broke the rules" to teach him, before his university education began, about Sōtō Zen and Japanese beer.

Bodiford earned his PhD in Buddhist Studies at Yale University and did additional graduate training at the University of Tsukuba and Komazawa University.

Before moving to UCLA, he taught at Davidson College, the University of Iowa, and Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan.

Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan

Bodiford's book Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan (1993 and 2008) began as his dissertation written at Yale under Stanley Weinstein. Fabio Rambelli, who reviewed the book in 1994 for The Journal of Asian Studies, writes that the author delivers an alternative to the "traditional dichotomy between 'pure' Zen and 'popular' religion". Christopher Ives writes in the Journal of Japanese Studies that the book is the "most important English work on Sōtō Zen to date".

Other activities and research

He presented his paper on the birth of Ise Shinto at the 2008 annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in a session organized by Rambelli. In 2009, Bodiford participated with Shoji Yamada of International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Japan and William R. Lafleur of the University of Pennsylvania in a panel at the AAS annual meeting. In 2011, he sat on a panel with Steven Heine, Taigen Dan Leighton, Shohaku Okumura and others for a conference on Dogen Zenji organized by Heine's school, Florida International University.

Bodiford researches Japanese history from medieval times to the present. He has published works on the Tendai and Vinaya Buddhist traditions, on Shinto, and other subjects. He is an associate editor of Macmillan Reference USA's Encyclopedia of Buddhism.


  • Bodiford, William M. (2008) [1993]. Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824833031. 
  • Bodiford, William M. (2005). Going Forth: Visions of Buddhist Vinaya. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824827872. 
  • Buswell, Robert E. Jr., ed. (2003). Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Bodiford, William (associate editor). Macmillan. ISBN 0028657187. 
  • Articles

  • Bodiford, William M. (1991), Dharma Transmission in Soto Zen. Manzan Dohaku's Reform Movement. In: Monumenta Nipponica, Vol.46, No.4 (Winter, 1991), pp 423-451 
  • Bodiford, William M. (1992), Zen in the Art of Funerals: Ritual Salvation in Japanese Buddhism. In: 'History of Religions' 32, no. 2 (1992): 150 
  • Bodiford, William (1996), "Zen and the Art of Religious Prejudice. Efforts to Reform a Tradition of Social Discrimination" (PDF), Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1996 23/1–2 
  • Bodiford, William M. (2008), Dharma Transmission in Theory and Practice. In: Zen Ritual: Studies of Zen Buddhist Theory in Practice (PDF), Oxford University Press 
  • References

    William Bodiford Wikipedia