Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures
William Bodiford has been teaching courses on religion in the cultures of Japan and East Asia, and Buddhist Studies at UCLA since 1992. Formerly, he also has taught at Davidson College (Davidson, North Carolina), the University of Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), and Meiji Gakuin University (Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan). He received his Ph.D. from Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut) in the Department of Religious Studies, where he specialized in Buddhist Studies under the direction of Professor Stanley Weinstein. In addition to Yale, he also received graduate training at the Institute of Health and Sport Science (Taiiku Kagaku Kenkyuka), Tsukuba University (Tsukuba, Japan), where he studied the intellectual history of martial arts in Japan under the direction of Professor Watanabe Ichiro, and at the Graduate School of Buddhist Studies, Komazawa University (Tokyo, Japan), where he studied Asian Religions under the direction of Professors Kagamishima Genryu and Ishikawa Rikizan.
His research spans the medieval, early modern, and contemporary periods of Japanese history. Currently he is investigating religion during the Tokugawa period, especially those aspects of Japanese culture associated with manscripts, printing, secrecy, education, and proselytizing. Although many of his publications focus on Zen Buddhism (especially Soto Zen), he also researches Tendai and Vinaya Buddhist traditions, Shinto, folklore and popular religions, as well as Japanese martial arts and traditional approaches to health and physical culture.
He is a member of the editorial boards of “Cursor Mundi: Viator Studies of the Medieval and Early Modern World” (UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies), “Studies in East Asian Buddhism” and “Classics in East Asian Buddhism” (Kuroda Institute).
Books and Edited Volumes
Sôtô Zen in Medieval Japan. Studies in East Asian Buddhism, no. 8. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1993.
Going Forth: Visions of Buddhist Vinaya. Studies in East Asian Buddhism, no. 18. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005.
Encyclopedia of Buddhism. 2 vols. Associate editor. Robert E. Buswell, Jr., Editor in Chief. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.
Articles, Essays, and Translations
"The Medieval Period: Eleventh to Sixteenth Centuries" [and 1 more contribution]. In The Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religions, edited by Paul L. Swanson and Clark Chilson. Pp. 161–181. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2006.
"Zen and Japanese Swordsmanship Reconsidered." In Budo Perspectives, edited by Alexander Bennett. Pp. 69–103. Auckland: Kendo World Publications, 2005.
"Dogen" [and 1 more entry]. In Encyclopedia of Religion. 2d edition. Edited by Lindsay Jones. Vol. 4, pp. 2385–2387. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005.
"Karma Tales" [and 4 other chapters]. In Buddhist Scriptures. Edited by Donald S. Lopez, Jr. Pp. 24–33. New York: Penguin Books, 2004.
"Monastic Militias" [and 6 other entries]. In Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Edited by Robert E. Buswell, Jr. Vol. 2, pp. 560–561. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.
"Colloquial Transcriptions as Sources for Understanding Zen in Japan." By Ishikawa Rikizan. Translated and Introduced by William M. Bodiford. The Eastern Buddhist, new series, 36, no. 1 (2002): 120–142.
"The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery." By Yamada Shoji. Translated by Earl Hartman. Edited by William M. Bodiford. The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 28, nos. 1–2 (2001): 1–30.
"Religion and Spiritual Development: Japan" [and 1 more entry]. In Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Thomas A. Green. Vol. 2, pp. 472–505. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2001.
"Zen Buddhism." Chapter 14 of Sources of Japanese Tradition. Second edition. Volume One: From Earliest Times to 1600. Compiled by Wm. Theodore de Bary, Donald Keene, George Tanabe, and Paul Varley with the collaboration of William Bodiford, Jurgis Elisonas, and Philip Yampolsky. Pp. 306–335. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.
"Emptiness and Dust: Zen Dharma Transmission Rituals." In Tantra in Practice, edited by David Gordon White. Pp. 299–307. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.
"Kokan Shiren's 'Zen Precept Procedures'" [and 2 other chapters]. In Religions of Japan in Practice, edited by George J. Tanabe, Jr. Pp. 98–108. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.