Professional and Biographical Information

Teaching Interests

I am interested in the intellectual, religious, and literary history of ancient India and I teach courses in these areas, with a particular emphasis on Buddhism.  I have taught at Amherst since 2003.



Harvard University -- Ph.D. in Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, 1999

Reed College -- B.A. in Interdisciplinary Philosophy and Religion, 1991


Selected Publications

The Forerunner of All Things:  Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention, and Agency (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Theories of the Gift in South Asia: Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Reflections on Dāna, (New York: Routledge, 2004).

“Buddhaghosa on the Phenomenology of Love and Compassion.” The Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy, edited by Jonardon Ganeri (forthcoming).

“She Who Heard Much:  Notes on Receiving, Interpreting, and Transmitting Buddhavacana.” International Journal of Hindu Studies, 2015.

“Recent Work in Moral Anthropology,” co-authored with Anne Monius.  Journal of Religious Ethics 2014, 42.2: 385-92. 

“Mind in Theravāda Buddhism.” Blackwell Companion to Buddhist Philosophy, ed. Steven Emmanuel (Wiley Blackwell, 2013):  377-94.

"Shame and Apprehension: Notes on the Moral Value of Hiri and Ottappa." Embedded Languages:  Studies in the Religion, Culture, and History of Sri Lanka, edited by Carol S. Anderson, Susanne Mrozik, W. M. Wijeratna, and R. M. W. Rajapaksha. Colombo, Sri Lanka:  Godage Books (2012):  237-260.

“Buddhist Ethics:  A Review Essay.” Journal of Religious Ethics (2011): 39.3: 571-584.

“The Nature of the Beast:  Hatred in Comparative Religious and Philosophical Perspective.” Co-authored with Diana Cates, Keith Green, and Joel Gereboff. Journal for the Society of Christian Ethics. (2009): 29, 2:175.

“The Conceit of Self-Loathing.” Journal of Indian Philosophy. (2009): 37:61-74.

“Buddhism.” The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion, ed. John Corrigan. Oxford University Press. Oxford (2007): 17-34.

"Dāna as a Moral Category." Indian Ethics: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges, ed. by Purushottama Bilimoria, Ashgate (2007): 191-209.

"Toward a 'Wider and Juster Initiative': Recent Comparative Work in Buddhist Ethics." Religion Compass, Blackwell (2006): vol. I, 1-13.

"Differentiations in Indian/Hindu Ethics."  The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics, ed. William Schweiker. Malden, MA: Blackwell, (2005): 341-354.

"The Aesthetics of Excess." Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 71.3 (2003): 531-554.

"The Ethics of Esteem." Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 7 (2000): 26-42.

"Saving Them From Yourself:  An Inquiry into the South Asian Gift of Fearlessness." Journal of Religious Ethics, Fall (1999): 437-462.

"The Author Replies" (a rejoinder to Ariel Glucklich). Journal of Religious Ethics, Fall (1999): 471-475.


Awards, Fellowships, and Distinctions

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 2005-2006

Amherst College, Senior Sabbatical Fellowship, 2008-9

Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lecture, Amherst College, April 14, 2005

Amherst College, Faculty Research Award Program, 2005

American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies, Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Research Abroad, 2000

Charlotte W. Newcombe, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Religion and Ethics 1997-98

Fulbright Student Grant (IIE), Study in India, 1996-97


Current Scholarly and Professional Activities

Journal of Religious Ethics, Associate Editor

Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) program, Faculty Board

Indian and Chinese Religions Compared, American Academy of Religion, Steering Committee