Natasha Heller has studied at Brown University (BA, Religious Studies) the University of Michigan (MA, Buddhist Studies), and Harvard University (PhD, East Asian Languages and Civilizations). Before arriving at UCLA, she spent two years as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research engages the relationship between Buddhism and secular culture in China from the Tang dynasty through the Ming. She is currently at work on a monograph that explores the cultural competencies necessary to be a successful monk through the life of the Yuan-dynasty Chan master Zhongfeng Mingben. Other projects in progress also take up the interface between Buddhism and culture, ranging from the reception of a ritual commemoration written by lay Buddhist of the early Ming dynasty, to an examination of rites for rain in monastic codes, to Buddhist themes in tales of injustice and retribution. Her most recent publication is “The Chan Master as Illusionist: Zhongfeng Mingben’s Huanzhu Jiaxun,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 69.2.