Paul Fuller

Personal statement

I have lectured in Buddhist Studies, Asian Studies and Religious Studies at universities in Asia, Australia and the UK.

I have two main areas of research. My PhD at the University of Bristol was a study of 'views' (diṭṭhi) in the Pāli canon. This explored the textual basis of discrimination and attachment in early Buddhism. It was published as The Notion of Diṭṭhi in Theravāda Buddhism: The Point of View (Routledge, 2004).

My early research prompted questions about how belief and attachment are factors in modern forms of Buddhism. Therefore I have interests in engaged Buddhism, the prevalence of blasphemy in Buddhist culture, and political and chauvinistic expressions of Buddhism.

My recent research and publications attempt to understand how modern Buddhist movements are anticipated in the earlier textual tradition. It explores possible interpretations of Buddhist identity based on ethnicity and nationalism.

My new book, An Introduction to Engaged Buddhism will be published by Bloomsbury in 2021. It looks at contemporary issues in Buddhism including, politics, sexuality, gender, eco-Buddhism and ethnocentric Buddhism.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (Buddhist Studies) - University of Bristol
  • MA (Buddhist Studies) - University of Bristol
  • MA (1st Class Honours) - University of Edinburgh.

Professional Development

  • July 2008: Tutors' Development Program, University of Sydney.
  • June 2008: “Principles and Practice of University Teaching and Learning” program, run by the Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Sydney.

Other external roles

  • 2016 – 2020: External examiner, University of South Wales.
  • April 2014: External consultation for the validation of the University of the Gloucester MA in Philosophy and Religious Thought.
  • 2008-2011: Reviews Editor: Australian Religion Studies Review.

Areas of research and expertise

  • Early Buddhism
  • Buddhist philosophy
  • Engaged Buddhism
  • Eco-Buddhism
  • Ethnocentric Buddhism.

Research and academic outputs

Publications: books

  • Fuller, Paul . 2021. An Introduction to Engaged Buddhism. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Fuller, Paul. 2004. The Notion of Diṭṭhi in Theravāda Buddhism: The Point of View. Abingdon, OxonRoutledgeCurzon.

Articles: peer reviewed

  • Fuller, Paul. 2021. ‘Buddhism, Covenantal Pluralism, and the Purposes of Religious Literacy.’ The Routledge Handbook of Religious Literacy and Global Engagement, ed. Chris Seiple and Dennis R. Hoover. London: Routledge.
  • Fuller, Paul. 2021. ‘The curious story of how a corpse confirms the wisdom of the Buddha’, Buddhist Studies Review, 2021.
  • Fuller, Paul. 2018.  ‘The narratives of ethnocentric Buddhist identity’, The Journal of the British Association of Religious Studies: 19-44.
  • Fuller, Paul. 2016. ‘The idea of ‘blasphemy’ in the Pali Canon and modern Myanmar’, Journal of Religion and Violence. 4 (2): 159-181.
  • Fuller, Paul. ‘The Dog-Duty Ascetic: Action in the Pali Canon with Reference to the Politics of Action in Modern Burma’, Thai International Journal of Buddhist Studies, 2014.
  • Paul Fuller and David Webster, 2008. ‘A View from the Crossroads: A Dialogue’, Buddhist Studies Review. 25 (1): 106-112.

Other articles

  • Fuller, Paul. 2018. ‘The Blood Sutra: Whatever happened to Buddhism, religion of peace and compassion?’, South China Morning Post, 23 June.
  • Fuller, Paul. 2017. ‘Sitagu Sayadaw and justifiable evils in Buddhism’, New Mandela, 13 November.
  • Fuller, Paul. 2015. ‘Protestant Buddhism: Modern, rational and scientific’, Myanmar Times, 1 April.
  • Fuller, Paul. 2015. ‘Defining ‘dukkha’: The idea of suffering in Buddhism’, Myanmar Times, 18 March.
  • Fuller, Paul.. 2015. ‘Understanding “engaged Buddhism”’, Myanmar Times, 16 February.
  • Fuller, Paul. 2014. ‘The Roots of Intolerance and Prejudice in Buddhism’, Democratic Voice of Burma, 2 August (a different version appeared in New Mandela, 21 July 2014 ‘Causes of Intolerance and Prejudice in Buddhism’).
  • Fuller, Paul. 2014. ‘Ethnocentric Buddhism: A new theme in Burmese Buddhism’, Democratic Voice of Burma, 5 April.
  • Fuller, Paul.. 2012. ‘Religious intolerance, according to the Pali Canon’, Democratic Voice of Burma, 24 November 2013    Paul Fuller, ‘Discrimination: A Buddhist Perspective’, Mizzima, 17 August.   

Book reviews

  • Review of Reiko Ohnuma. 2018. Unfortunate Destiny: Animals in the Indian Buddhist Imagination in Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
  • Review of Alicia Turner. 2017. Saving Buddhism: The Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma. In American Academy of Religion, Reading Religion.
  • Review of Donald Swearer. 2009. Becoming the BuddhaBuddhist Studies Review, Vol. 26, No 2.

Conference papers

  • July 2019: UK Association of Buddhist Studies: SOAS, London: ‘Engaged Buddhism: Compassion, Power and identity’.
  • September 2018: Paper given at the British Association of Religious Studies conference, at the University of Belfast, ‘Engaged Buddhism: Themes and Issues’.
  • September 2017, Cardiff University, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, paper, ‘On teaching Buddhist extremism, fundamentalism and ethnocentric Buddhism’.
  • September 2017: Paper given at the British Association of Religious Studies conference, at the University of Chester, 'The narratives of ethnocentric Buddhist identity'.
  • November 2015: Paper given at the American Academy of Religion conference, Atlanta, USA, ‘Actions speak louder than words: The danger of attachment to views in the Pali Canon and Engaged Buddhism’.
  • March 2013: Paper given at the University of Bristol, ‘David Bowie and Buddhist Modernity’.
  • October 2012: Paper given at the University of Limerick conference, ‘David Bowie, Buddhist Modernism and Charismatic Charms’.
  • June 2010: Paper given at the Australian Association of Buddhist Studies, ‘There was a dog-duty ascetic, who reminded me of Angulimala, it was something to do with his karma, so I consulted the Abhidhamma’.
  • December 2008: Paper given at the Globalising Religions and Culture in the Asia Pacific conference, University of Adelaide, ‘Buddhist Doctrine, Buddhist Practice’.
  • July 2005: Paper given at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, ‘ditthi and attachment in Theravada Buddhism’.
  • March 29th 2003: Paper given at the 28th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religion, University of Oxford, ‘The notion of ditthi in Theravada Buddhism’.
  • March 2000: Paper given at the Fifth Joint Postgraduate Conference, University of Bristol, ‘Cheer up Dighanakha it may never happen: The problems posed by Digahnakha’s outlook in classifying wrong-view (miccha-ditthi) and right-view (samma-ditthi)’.
  • March 1999: Paper given at the Fourth Joint Postgraduate Conference, University of Bristol, ‘What the Buddha thought: How to think and not to think in the Four Primary Nikayas’.

Conferences organised

  • December 2008: University of Sydney: Bhikkhunis in Buddhism: The Lost Feminine.

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