Dr Karma Phuntsho

(Dr) Lopen Karma Phuntsho was born in Ura village in central Bhutan and had his school education in Bhutan. At the age of seventeen, he left school and became a monk in Cheri Monastery to study Buddhism. In 1987, he went to India to continue his studies in Tibetan monasteries. Karma spent a year at Sera Monastery and ten years in Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, where he was trained to be a Khenpo, a Tibetan monastic abbot. Since 1994, Karma has taught Buddhism and related subjects in both Tibetan and English and has served as an abbot at Shugseb Nunnery and a lecturer at Ngagyur Nyingma Institute.
In 1997, Karma joined Balliol College, Oxford to read for an M.St. in Sanskrit and Classical Indian Religions. He received a D.Phil. in Buddhist Studies from Oxford in 2003. His dissertation was published by RoutledgeCurzon as Mipham’s Dialectics and the Debates on Emptiness, To be, Not to be or Neither. Since then, Karma has worked as a post-doctoral researcher in CNRS, Paris and Research Associate in the Department of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University and the Spalding Fellow in Comparative Religion at Clare Hall. Speaking some eleven languages, he currently serves on many boards as an academic and social worker and has written or collaborated in over 70 books, monographs and articles. His latest magnum opus is the The History of Bhutan, published by Random House.
Lopen Karma Phuntsho is today a leading scholar on Bhutan and teaches Buddhism and Bhutan Studies in the country and abroad. His work focuses on the documentation of Bhutan’s written and intangible cultures and educational intervention in the socio-cultural changes taking place in the country. Combining scholarship, spirituality and social work, he leads the Shejun Agency for Bhutan’s Cultural Documentation and the Loden Foundation, a charity to promote education and social entrepreneurship in Bhutan.
Dr Karma's other works
1. The History of Bhutan, New Delhi: Random House, 2013
2. A Detailed Catalogue of Tibetan Books in Cambridge and Liverpool at http://catalogue.socanth.cam.ac.uk/exist/servlet/db/mssbp.xq.
3. Mipham’s Dialectics and the Debates on Emptiness: To be, Not to be or Neither, London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005
4. Steps to Valid Reasoning: A Treatise on Logic and Epistemology, Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, 1997 (textbook)
Edited Books
1. The Autobiography of Pema Lingpa, (forthcoming)
2. The Biography of Thugse Dawa Gyaltshen, (forthcoming)
3. With Diemberger, Ancient Treasures, New Discoveries: Proceedings of the XIth Seminar of International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2010.
4. Ngagyur Clear Light, Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, 1996.
Articles, Monographs and Book Reviews in English
1. ‘The Provenance and Cataloguing of the Younghusband Collection’, Inner Asia, vol.14, no. 1, pp. 121-130.
2. ‘Reflections on Multidisciplinary Approach in Himalayan Studies: The Case of the Book’, in Mckay and Denjongpa, Buddhist Himalaya: Studies in Religion, History and Culture, Gangtok: Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, 2012, vol. 1.
3. ‘Tibetan-Mongolian Rare Books and Manuscripts Project’ with Diemberger and Quessel in Diemberger and Phuntsho, Ancient Treasures, New Discoveries: Proceedings of the XIth Seminar of International Association for Tibetan Studies, (2010)
4. ‘Unravelling Bhutanese Treasures’ in Diemberger and Phuntsho, Ancient Treasures, New Discoveries: Proceedings of the XIth Seminar of International Association for Tibetan Studies, (2010)
5. Is the grass greener on the ‘Other’ side? (A review article of Meeting the “Other”: Living in the present, gender and sustainability in Bhutan by Rieki Crins), Newsletter 52, Leiden: IIAS, 2009.Also at http://www.iias.nl/article/grass-greener-other-side
6. ‘Gangtey’s Untold Treasures’ in Ardussi and Tobgay (eds), Written Treasures of Bhutan: Mirror of the past and bridge of the future - Proceedings of the first international conference on the rich scriptural heritage of Bhutan, Thimphu: National Library, 2009
7. ‘Ogyen Pema Lingpa, His Life and Legacy’, Dragon’s Gift, the Sacred Arts of Bhutan, Chicago: Serindia Publications, 2008
8. ‘The Marriage of the Media and Religion: For Better or Worse’, Media and Public Culture - Proceedings of the Second International Seminar on Bhutan Studies, Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu, 2007, pp. 19-30 9. ‘’Ju Mipham rNam rgyal rGya mtsho: His Position in the Tibetan Religious Hierarchy and a Synoptic Survey of his Contributions’, in Prats (ed) Volume in Honour of E. Gene Smith, New Delhi: Amnye Machen, 2007
10. ‘Shifting Boundaries: Pramaa and Ontology in Dharmakrti’s Epistemology’, Journal of Indian Philosophy, vol. 33, no. 4, August 2005, pp. 401-19
11. ‘Nominal Persons and The Sound of Their Hands Clapping: a review article of The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk by George B. J. Dreyfus and Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Philosophy by Thubten Jinpa’, Buddhist Studies Review, London, 2004, pp. 225-40
12. Review of John Pettit, Mipham’s Beacon of Certainty in Tibet Journal, Vol. XXIX, No.1, pp. 108-12 Dharamsala, 2004
13. ‘Echoes of Ancient Ethos: Some Reflections on Bhutanese Social Themes’, The Spider and the Piglet, Thimphu: Centre for Bhutan Studies, 2004, pp. 564-80
14. ‘Religion in Bhutan’ in Melton & Baumann (eds) Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio Reference-book House, 2002
15. ‘On the Two Ways of Learning in Bhutan’, Journal of Bhutan Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu, 2000, pp. 104-35
16. Review of Tom Tillemans, Scripture, Logic, Language: Essays on Dharmak??rti and His Tibetan Successors in Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, London, 2000
17. ‘Strengths and Weaknesses of the Four Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism: A Satirical Work by Mi pham’, (submitted for publication) in The Proceedings of the 8th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, 1999
Publications: General
1. The Blessings of Shingkhar, Bhutan Airline Inflight Magazine, 2014
2. ‘Why we do what we do?’ A fortnightly series on Bhutan’s culture, Kuensel, 2014
3. Leveraging Bhutan’s Cultural Heritage, Bhutan Observer, 31 May, 2013.
4. ‘Bhutan’s Rich Written Heritage’, Bhutan, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Thimphu, 2010
5. A Memorial to the Shrine of Three Jewels, at http://blog.tbrc.org on 27 February, 2010
6. ‘So close to nature: A Story of Bhutan’s Spiritual Ecology’, Bhutan, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Thimphu, 2009
7. ‘The Selfless Acts of a Buddha: A tribute to H.H. Drubwang Penor Rinpoche’, at http://blog.tbrc.org/ on 15 April, 2009
8. ‘How the Raven headed the Crown’, Bhutan, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Thimphu, 2008 pp. 62-67
9. ‘Bhutan’s Unique Democracy: a first verdict’, at www.opendemocracy.net/article/institutions/bhutan_s_unique_democracy_a_first_verdict, April, 2008
10. ‘The Story of the Old Man of Gadan’, Bhutan, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Thimphu, 2007
11. ‘Grappling with Change’, Bhutan Now, November, 2006
12. ‘Bhutanese Reforms, Nepali Criticism’, at www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/bhutan_nepal_3996.jsp, October, 2006
13. ‘The Perfection of Wisdom’, Bhutan, Thimphu: Tourism Council of Bhutan, 2006
14. ‘Bhutan’, Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, Gale Group, 2005
15. ‘H.H. Khenpo Jigme Phuntsho: A Tribute and a Translation’, Journal of Bhutan Studies, Thimphu, 2004, vol. 11, pp. 129-35
16. “Memorial to Michael Aris”, European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, 1999