Ms. Anna Johnson

Grant Category: Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Program
Field of Specialization: Comparative Religion
Name: Ms. Anna Johnson    
Official Address: University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Indian Host Institution: Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath,
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Duration of Grant &
Start Date :
Duration: 9 months
August 2011

Brief Bio:
Ms. Anna Johnson graduated with Honors from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the department of languages and cultures of Asia. She has studied modern and classical Tibetan in academic environments and traditional monastic settings for the past seven years. While a resident at the Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Gampo Abbey, she completed a monastic college, or shedra, program. The curriculum included the five root texts of traditional Buddhist monastic education, and the four schools of Indian Buddhist philosophy. In 2006, she joined a translator training program in Dehradun, India with funding from the Tara Foundation in Munich, Germany. She was acknowledged in the preface to the publication "Luminous Heart: The Third Karmapa on Consciousness, Wisdom, and Buddha Nature", translated and introduced by Karl Brunnhölzl, having worked on a first draft translation of The Third Karmapa's text, "Distinguishing Consciousness from Wisdom" Her two main interests are Vinaya - the vows taken by Buddhist monks and nuns - and the history and culture of the Tibetan Muslim minority in Lhasa and in exile. She also studies Sanskrit and Urdu. In fall 2012, she will enter a Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor to study with Donald Lopez.
Ms. Johnson's Fulbright-Nehru research is titled as "Islamic Law and the Buddha's rules: comparative ethics in Tibetan diasporic communities." Her research will examine the religious ethics in two Tibetan communities - Muslim and Buddhist. She is specifically interested in contrasting the role of Vinaya, or vow-taking among Buddhist monastics, with the applications of Fiqh among Tibetan Muslims. She will analyze how these scholarly traditions shape community building in exile, and interaction across the two traditions. North India houses a large exiled Tibetan population. She will be based in New Delhi to study Fiqh, and in Sarnath to study Vinaya.