John Makransky is associate professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College and senior faculty advisor to the Center for Buddhist Studies of Kathmandu University, Nepal. He participates in the following academic institutions and groups.
academic institutions & groups
- Boston College Department of Theology (faculty page)
- Boston College Comparative Theology Program
- Center for Buddhist Studies in Nepal
- Foundation for Active Compassion: Social Justice, Social Service, Dharma Teaching.
- American Academy of Religion / Buddhist Theological Reflection Group
- American Academy of Religion / Luce Summer Seminars on Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology
- Society for Comparative Theology
- European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies
- Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies
- Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education
- International Association of Buddhist Studies
regularly offered courses at Boston College
- TH 161, TH 162 - The Religious Quest: Buddhism and Christianity
A two-semester introduction to comparative theology focusing on Buddhism and Christianity. Religious experience, practices, scripture, tradition, historical developments, and systematic understandings. Comparative themes include social service and social ethics, sacred biographies and stories, contemplative practices in their relevance for everyday life, the ecological crisis as a theological issue, feminist perspectives, and Buddhist-Christian dialogue.
- TH 219 - Buddhist Thought and Practice
An introduction to Buddhism that covers historical developments, doctrines and practices of Buddhism in South, Southeast and East Asia.
courses for advanced undergraduate and graduate students (and for graduate students in the Boston Theological Institute)
- TH 454 - Sacred Buddhist Texts
Readings in early Buddhist and Mahayana scriptures. Attending to developments in Buddhist thought and practice and strategies of legitimation in competition with other traditions of India and Central Asia. Graduate theology and divinity students are encouraged to notice parallel issues in other religious traditions raised by their study of Buddhist scriptures.
- TH 472 - Buddhist Ethics: Ancient and Contemporary Expressions
Connections between doctrines, practices and ethical principles in early Buddhist and Mahayana traditions and contemporary approaches to individual cultivation and social values. Readings in ancient texts in translation, manuals of meditation and ethics, and current analyses of Buddhist ethics and society. Graduate theology and divinity students are encouraged to explore how study of Buddhist ethics informs their study of ethics in other traditions.
- TH 505 - Buddhist Philosophy and Spirituality
Focusing on Mahayana Buddhist philosophy in India with connections between philosophical concepts and spiritual practices. Buddhist theological anthropology, ontology, epistemology, ethics, and soteriology are related to practices of ritual, phenomenological investigation, meditation and devotion. Readings from classical and contemporary writings.
- TH 506 - Tibetan Buddhist Traditions
We will study Vajrayana Buddhist thought and practice in Tibet (also known as Tibetan tantric Buddhism). Included is consideration of early Buddhist and Mahayana teachings, philosophical bases of Vajrayana practices, the role of sacred myths and biographies, concepts of tantric mandala, guru, empowerment, inner yogas, unities of wisdom and means, the feminine divine in Tibet, and supporting cultural and social institutions. We will explore Tibetan traditions both through writings of contemporary scholars and Tibetan lamas.
- TH 527 Meditation, Service, and Social Justice Action
Students learn meditations of compassion and wisdom adapted from Tibetan Buddhism for people of all backgrounds and faiths to explore. They are then entered into a process by which their study of meditation theory, their own deepening contemplative experience, critical reflection on writings of social activists, and their practice of social service mutually inform each other, helping them to freshly appropriate their own spiritualities as a basis for service and social action throughout their lives.