JAMES HUGH SANFORD
James Sanford took a BA with honors in Linguistics at the University of California at Berkely in 1960 and a Phd in Far Eastern Languages and Cultures from Harvard in 1972. He has taught various aspects of East Asian Religions at the University of North Carolina since 1971. He has two major publications: Zen-Man Ikkyu, Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions and Scholars Press, 1981, and Flowing Traces: Buddhism in the Literary and Visual Arts of Japan, co-edited with Masatoshi Nagatomi and William R. LaFleur, Princeton University press, 1992. In addition, Sanford has published articles and chapters, on Zen Buddhism and Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, and translations of Chinese Buddhist Poetry. He is currently engaged in work on Japanese tantrism, texts from the Chinese Inner Alchemy (Neitan) tradition, and a book of Ch'an poems in the "harmony" genre, co-authored with Jerome P. Seaton. He is co-founder, with Charles D. Orzech, of the Society for Tantric Studies.
Department of Religious Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
101 Saunders Hall
Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-3225
Phone: (919) 962-3932
January 24, 1938
A.B. 1960, University of California, Berkeley; Linguistics (Honors)
1961, U.S. Army Language School; Mandarin Chinese
1963-65, University of Washington, Seattle; Japanese Literature and Language
1965-66. Inter-University Center of Japanese Studies,Tokyo, Japan; Japanese Language and Research
Ph.D. 1972, Harvard University; Far Eastern Languages.
July 1982 to present, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
July 1993-January 1994, Acting Chair, Curriculum in Asian Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
July 1988-July 1989, Acting Chair, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1971-82, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1970-71, Administrative Assistant (half-time) Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University
History of Religions: History & Mythology
Far Eastern Buddhism
Primary Research Interests:
Japanese religion, especially popular forms of Buddhism from the medieval to late pre-modern periods. Current research in progress: The Tachikawa-ry_ "heresy" of Shingon Buddhism.
Honors, Awards, and Grants:
1960, Phi Beta Kappa, Honors A.B.
1963, Japan-America Society Scholarship
1964-65, 65-66. 66-67, 67-68, National Defense Language Fellowships
1968-69, 69-70, Harvard Graduate Fellowships
Autumn 1969, 1970-71, Harvard Teaching Fellowships
Summer 1975, University of North Carolina Research Council Grant
Summer 1977, OOE Grant to participate in the Charlotte Consortium SASAAAS Faculty Development Seminar in Indian Arts and Religions in India
1980-83, co-principal researcher, NEH grant, "Japanese Buddhism: Humanistic Inquiries"
Autumn 1990, Pogue Research Fellowship
"Insects," translation of a prose-poem by Hagiwara Sakutar_, Japan Quarterly, Autumn 1969, pp. 330-331.
"Japan's 'Laughing Mushrooms'," Economic Botany, Vol. 26, No. 2, 1972, pp. 174-181.
"Shakuhachi Zen: The Fukesh_/Komus_," Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 32, No. 4, Winter 1977, pp. 411-440.
"Mandalas of the Heart: Two prose Works by Ikky_ S_jun," Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 35, No. 3, Autumn 1980, pp. 273-298.
With Jerome P. Seaton, "Four Poems by Shih-te," White Pine Journal 24-25, 1980, pp. 9-10.
Zen-Man Ikky_. Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions and Scholars Press, 1981, 321 pp.
With Arthur Tobias and J.P. Seaton, The View from Cold Mountain: Poems of Han-shan and Shih-te. White Pine Press, 1981, 33 pp.
"Ikky_ S_jun," Encyclopedia of Japan, 1983.
"Sokushin J_butsu," Encyclopedia of Japan, 1983.
"Paradigms and Poems: A Review of LaFleur's, The Karma of Words," a review-essay in The Eastern Buddhist, Vol. 17 (n.s.), No. 2, Autumn 1984, pp. 124-133.
"The Nine Faces of Death: 'Su Tung-po's' Kuz_-shi," The Eastern Buddhist, vol. 21 (n.s.), No. 2, Autumn 1988, pp. 54-77.
Translations of two poems by Wang Chi (6th Cent. BCE) and three poems by Ikky_ (1394-1481) in The Literary Review, vol. 32, no. 3, Spring 1989, pp. 357-358.
"The Abominable Tachikawa Skull Ritual," Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 46, No. 4, Spring 1991, pp. 1-20.
"Literary Aspects of Japan's Dual Ga_e_a Cult" in Robert L. Brown, ed., Ganesh: Studies of an Asian God,State University of New York Series in Tantric Studies,1991, pp. 287-335.
Co-edited with William R. LaFleur and Masatoshi Nagatomi, Flowing Traces: Buddhism in the Literary and Visual Arts of Japan, Princeton University Press, 1992, 275 pp.
"Breath of Life: The Esoteric Nenbutsu," in Ian Astley-Kristensen, ed., Esoteric Buddhism in Japan (Society for Buddhist Studies Monograph Number 1), Copenhagen, and Aarhus, 1994, pp. 65-98.
Translations (10 with J.P. Seaton) of 36 Chinese Ch'an poems in J.P. Seaton and Dennis Moloney, eds., A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry, White Pine Press, Fredonia, N.Y., 1994.
Translations (with J.P. Seaton) of two poems by Shih-te and three sets of Shih-te harmony poems, The Literary Review. Vol. 38, No. 3 (1995), pp. 376; 335-337.
"Wind, Waters, Stupas, Mandalas: Fetal Buddhahood in Shingon," Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Vol. 24, Nos. 1-2, Spring 1997, pp. 1-38.
Translations of three poems of Shih Shu in The Literary Review, Vol. 41, No. 3 (1998).
Translations of two poems of Shih Shu in Norton’s World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time, 1998, p. 849.
Papers and Presentations:
October 1969, "Teaching About Japanese Religion(s)" at the Fifteenth Yale Conference on the Teaching of Social Studies Program, "Teaching about Asia at the Secondary Level".
July 1974, Consultant for the Tenth Grade Asian Studies Curriculum Development Project. Held at North Carolina State University. Directed by Dr. Burton Beers, N. C.State University Department of History. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
March 1976, "The Japanese Komus_/Fuke-sh_" at the Washington D.C. and Southeastern Regional Seminar on Japan. University of Maryland.
July 1976, "Modernization and Twentieth Century Japanese Fiction" for the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural Interchange (CULCON). Held at Duke University. Sponsored by the Japan Foundation. Overall theme: Problems of Modern Japan.
July 1976, Briefing session on "Japanese Religions" for the Projects Abroad: Japan program. Directed by University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Held at Duke University. Sponsored by the U.S. Office of Education. (Nov. 1976) Debriefing session for same project.
October 1976, "Practical Immanentalism and Ikky_ Zenji" as part of a panel on "The Esoteric (mikky_) Tradition of Japanese Buddhism" presented at the Washington and Southeastern States Regional Seminar on Japan. University of Maryland.
October 1976, "Zen and the Art of the Flute: the Fuke sect of Japan" at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, St. Louis.
February 1977, "The Flute-Playing Zen Monks of Japan" for the Princeton University Program in Asian Studies.
March 1977, "Anti-structure and Ikky_ Zenji" at the Southeast Regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Atlanta.
December 1977, "Ri and Ji (Principle and Phenomena) in Japanese Buddhism," as part of a "Workshop on Japanese Buddhist Responses to Buddhist Symbols" held at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Francisco.
January 1978, Chaired "Praxis in South Asian Religions" panel at the Southeast Regional meeting of the Association of Asian Studies, Winston-Salem, N.C.
November 1978, "Fuke-sh_ as a Little Tradition Transformation" at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, New Orleans.
November 1978, Respondent in panel on "Patterns of Japanese Response to Buddhist Symbols" at American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, New Orleans.
November 1979, "The Tachikawa Skull Ritual," American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, New York.
July 1980, "Ga_e_a in Japan," at the second "Japanese Buddhism: Humanistic Inquiries" Conference at the University of Chicago Center for the Advanced Study of Religions.
November 1980, "The Kangi-ten Cult at Ikoma," at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Dallas.
December 1981, Chaired "Ethics in Japanese Religions" panel at American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Francisco.
April 1982, "Syncretism and Marginality in Japanese Religion," at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Chicago.
April 1982, "Some Concretizations of the Sokushin J_butsu ('Bodily Buddhahood') Doctrine After K_kai," at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Chicago.
June 1982, "Sokushin J_butsu (Bodily Buddhahood): A Critical Motif in Japanese Buddhist History," at the sixth "Japanese Buddhism: Humanistic Inquiries" Conference, Harvard University.
December 1982, "Episodic and Exemplary: The Shape of Japanese Buddhist Biography" at the Annual meeting of American Academy of Religion, New York.
March 1983, "The Matrix of All Buddhas: Buddhas of the Womb," for a colloquium of the Department of Asian Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.
March 1984, "Japan's Dual Ganesha," at the Association of Asian Studies Annual meeting, Washington, D.C.
April 1987, "A Field Guide to Shingon Buddhism," at the 1987 Society for Tantric Studies, Quail Roost Conference Center, Rougemont, N.C.
March 1988, "Immanental Nembutsu: From Kakuban to the Gonaish_," at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, San Francisco.
October 1988, "D_kin_ Skulls, Horse Penises, and Human Vajras: Aspects of Tachikawa-ry_ Ritual," Annual Meeting of the Society for Tantric Studies, Syracuse, N.Y.
March 1989, "Salvational Embryology in Shingon Buddhism," Annual Meeting of the Association of Asia Studies, Washington, D.C.
May 1989, "Bodily Buddhahood in Shingon Buddhism," as the Hamilton Fund Distinguished Scholar Lecture at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.
August 1989, "The Pure Land Visions of Kakuban and D_han," at the University of Copenhagen and University of Aarhus "Conference on the Esoteric Buddhist Tradition," Samso Island, Denmark.
March 1990, "Between Death and Life, Beyond Life and Death: Spiritual Embryology in Japanese Buddhism," S.E. Regional Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Charlotte, N.C.
April 1990, "Warped Woof: Does Zen Have Tantra-Nature?", Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies, Chicago.
March 1992, "Spiritual Embryology in Japanese Buddhism," Inaugural E. Dale Saunders Lecture on Japanese Buddhism, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
May 1992, "Jewels in the Lotus: Spiritual Gestation in Japanese Buddhism," for "Tantra Occluded," the 1992 Conference of the Society for Tantric Studies, Menlo Park, CA.
March 1993, "Tangled Mandala: Matarajin and the Genshi Kimy_dan Ritual," Stanford University.
April 1993, "Spiritual Embryology Beyond the Pale of Shingon," for Women and Japanese Buddhism Symposium, Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, California.
November 1993, "Matara's Dance: Syncretic Esotericism in Japan," Society for Tantric Studies and 22nd Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin at Madison.
March 1996, "The Many Faces of Matara," for the Object as Insight Symposium on Buddhist Art and Ritual, co-sponsored by Amherst College and the Katonah Museum of Art.
April 1995, "Buddhism in a Chinese Setting," for University of North Carolina Humanities Program Seminar, Seminar on Buddhism.
October 1997, "Shinran's Secret Transmission to Nyoshin: Esoteric Buddhism in a Pure Land Context," Society of Tantric Studies Meeting, University of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, AZ.
American Academy of Religion
Association of Asian Studies
Japanese Religions Group
Society for Tantric Studies (founding member, Steering
India (summer 1977) for seminar in Indian arts and religions
Japan (1965-66) for Japanese language study
Taiwan (1960-61), Military
Professor Masatoshi Nagatomi, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Harvard University
Professor Martin Collcutt, Department of East Asian Studies,Princeton University
Professor James Foard, Department of Religious Studies,Arizona State University
Professor William R. LaFleur, Department of Oriental Studies,University of Pennsylvania
Revised April, 1998