Robert has worked widely in Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, especially focusing on Tibetan tantric ritual, including both contemporary and historical sources of different periods. He completed his BA in Theology and Religious Studies at Bristol in 1985), continuing his studies into Buddhist Tantric texts at SOAS and Oxford, and was awarded a PhD from the University of Leiden in 1996 for a thesis on rNying-ma'i rGyud-'bum (NGB) and its editing. Part of this thesis was published in a revised version in 1996 as A Scripture of the Ancient Tantra Collection. The Phur-pa bcu-gnyis (Oxford and Gartmore: Kiscadale); a revised version is in preparation. He has taught at the University of Wales, Lampeter and at the University of Bristol and from 1999 to 2001 was Gastprofessor für Tibetologie, at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. From 1998 to 2001 he was co-director with Prof David Germano (University of Virginia, USA) of the Nyingma Tantras Research Project (an international project to promote research into the NGB).
He is currently Numata Research Officer, and Member of the Buddhist Studies Unit at the University of Oxford.
- Early rNying ma tantric tradition
- Critically editing old Tibetan texts
- Dunhuang tantric texts
- bDud 'joms gter ma tradition
- 1996. A Scripture of the Ancient Tantra Collection. The Phur-pa bcu-gnyis. Oxford and Gartmore: Kiscadale.
- (with Cathy Cantwell) 2007 The Kilaya Nirvana Tantra and the Vajra Wrath Tantra: two texts from the Ancient Tantra Collection, Vienna, The Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. vi, 289 pages, plus editions of texts on cd (529 pages).
- (with Cathy Cantwell) Forthcoming. Early Tibetan Documents on Phur pa from Dunhuang. (Output of our recently completed Oxford AHRC project, A Detailed Study of the Complete Dunhuang Phur-pa Materials, 2004-2007)
Book Chapters and Refereed Journal Articles:
- (with Cathy Cantwell) "The creation and transmission of a textual corpus in the twentieth century: the 'Chi med srog thig", in Jean-Luc Achard, Anne Chayet, Françoise Robin, Cristina Scherrer-Schaub (eds) in press, Publishing and Editing: the evolution and future of writing in Tibet. Munich: Indus Verlag, Collectanea Himalayica.
- (with Cathy Cantwell) "The Dunhuang Thabs kyi zhags pa padma 'phreng Manuscript: a source for understanding the transmission of Mahayoga in Tibet. A progress report". To appear in Kapstein and Imaeda, eds, OTDO monograph series.
- (with Cathy Cantwell) "Continuity and Change in Tibetan Mahayoga Ritual: Some Evidence from the Tabzhag (Thabs zhags) Manuscript and other Dunhuang Texts", in Cabezón, José (ed.) 2009, Tibetan Ritual, New York, OUP.
- (with Cathy Cantwell) "The Dunhuang Phur pa Corpus: A Survey", and "Why did the Phur pa tradition become so prominent in Tibet?", in Almogi, Orna, ed. 2009 Contributions to Tibetan Buddhist Literature. PIATS 2006: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Eleventh Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Königswinter 2006. Beiträge zur Zentralasienforschung 14. Halle: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (pp. 248-276 and 277-314).
- (with Cathy Cantwell) "Enduring myths: smrang, rabs and ritual in the Dunhuang texts on Padmasambhava", in Pommaret, Françoise and Jean-Luc Achard (eds) 2008 Tibetan Studies in Honor of Samten Karmay, Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines (Langues et Cultures de l'Aire Tibétaines, CNRS, Paris), Vol.15, November 2008: 289-312.
- "Asuras' Caves in Buddhism, and some other themes in early Buddhist tantras reminiscent of the later Padmasambhava legends", Issue 3 of Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, 2007.
- Textual Criticism of the Rnying ma'i rgyud 'bum Tradition. In Tibetan Buddhist Literature and Praxis, Ron Davidson and C. Wedemeyer (eds), Brill, Leiden, 2006: 95-121.
- (with Jean-Luc Achard, Cathy Cantwell, Michael Kowalewski) "The sGang steng rNying ma'i rGyud 'bum manuscript from Bhutan", Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines (Langues et Cultures de l'Aire Tibétaines, CNRS, Paris), Special Edition, Vol.11, June 2006. ISSN:1768-2959.
- (with Cathy Cantwell) "A Dunhuang Phurpa Consecration Rite: IOL Tib J 331.II's Consecrations Section", in Matthew Kapstein and Sam van Schaik (eds) Chinese and Tibetan Tantra at Dunhuang, in Special edition of Studies in Central and East Asian Religions, Brill, Leiden [in press].
- 'Pelliot tibétain 349: A Dunhuang Tibetan Text on rDo rje Phur pa'. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (JIABS) 2004, 27(1):129-164.
- The Figure of Mahesvara/Rudra in the rNying-ma-pa Tantric Tradition. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (JIABS) 21(2): 271-310, 1998.
- Caskets of Treasures and Visions of Buddhas. In Indian Insights: Buddhism, Brahmanism and Bhakti, ed. S. Hamilton & P. Connolly, pp.137-152. London: Luzac Oriental, 1997.
- Were the gSar-ma-pa polemicists justified in rejecting some rNying-ma-pa Tantras? In Tibetan Studies, vol.1, ed. H.Krasser, M.Torsten Much, E.Steinkellner, H.Tauscher. Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1997.
- The Sa-skya Pandita, the White Panacea, and Clerical Buddhism's Current Credibility Crisis. Tibet Journal 22(3): 79-105, 1997.
- Scriptural Revelation in India and Tibet: Indian Precursors of the gTer-ma tradition. Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 6th Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, Fagernes 1992, ed. Per Kvaerne. Oslo: Instituttet for Sammenlignende Kulturforskning, 1994.
- (with Cathy Cantwell) A Dunhuang Manuscript on Vajrakilaya. Tibet Journal 19(1): 54-67, 1994.
- Contributions to Tibetan Medical Paintings : Illustrations to the Blue Beryl Treatise of Sangye Gyamtso (1653-1705), ed. Yuri Parfionovitch, Fernand Meyer, and Gyurme Dorje. 2 vols. New York: Abrams, 1992.
- Observations on the Tibetan Phur-pa and the Indian Kila. Buddhist Forum vol. 2, ed. T.Skorupski. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1991.
- Tibetan Phur-pas and Indian Kilas. Tibet Journal 15 (1): 3-41, 1990
At the University of Oxford:
- A Critical Edition of the Thabs-kyi zhags-pa padmo 'phreng-ba and a Comparative Study of its Commentary (AHRC)
- A Comparative Study of the Earliest Bon and Buddhist Phur pa traditions (AHRC)
At Cardiff University
At the University of Oxford:
- Beginning 'Ancient Tantras' Text Restorations: Critical Editions & Studies of Two Seminal Early Tibetan Scriptures, 2002-2005 (AHRB)
- A Detailed Study of the Complete Dunhuang Phur-pa Materials, 2004-2007 (AHRB)
At the University of Kent:
- Fully descriptive analytic catalogue of the Waddell Manuscript NGB (rNying ma'i rgyud 'bum), including miniature paintings & other artwork, 1999-2002 (AHRB)
Rob also works as a researcher at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, where he is Numata Research Officer, and Member of the Buddhist Studies Unit.
Page revised 10 October 2010
by Geoffrey Samuel.