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Dr Christopher V Jones wins prestigious Toshihide Numata Book Award

Congratulations are due to St Peter’s alumnus and former British Academy Research Fellow, Dr Christopher V Jones (2012), who has been announced as this year’s winner of the prestigious Toshihide Numata Book Award.

Dr Jones, whose research is on Indian Buddhist literature of the early centuries CE, surviving either in Sanskrit or in translations into classical Chinese and/or Tibetan, won the award for his book The Buddhist Self: On Tathāgatagarbha and Ātman (University of Hawaii Press, 2020).

The Buddhist Self is a methodical examination of Indian teaching about the tathāgatagarbha (otherwise the presence of one’s “Buddha-nature”) and the extent to which different Buddhist texts and authors articulated this in terms of the self. It is based on the research carried out by Dr Jones as part of his DPhil thesis ‘The use of, and controversy surrounding, the term ātman in the Indian Buddhist tathāgatagarbha literature’, written at St Peter’s and defended in 2015.

The Toshihide Numata Book Award in Buddhism is presented on an annual basis to an outstanding book in the area of Buddhist studies. The selection is made by an external committee that is appointed annually. The Buddhist Self earned strong praise from the members of this year’s committee, who called it a “remarkable achievement,” “a tour-de-force,” and a “masterpiece.” The reviewers noted the author’s sophisticated mastery of sources in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan, as well as his command of the vast body of Japanese scholarship on the topic. Dr Jones was also commended for the manner in which he weaves his diverse and challenging sources into a single coherent and illuminating narrative.

Previous winners of the award, which is presented by The Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, include Prof Roger R. Jackson (Carleton College), Prof Paul Swanson (Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture), and Prof Roy Tzohar (Tel Aviv University).

Christopher V Jones is currently an Affiliated Lecturer and Research Associate at the Faculty of Divinity, and Bye-Fellow of Selwyn College, University of Cambridge.

More information about the Toshihide Numata Book Award and Dr Jones’s research can be found on the University of California, Berkeley, website.

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