Jim Ryan

Jim Ryan

Program Director and Professor
Asian and Comparative Studies

CIIS Main Building
4th Floor
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Jim Ryan received his Ph.D. (1985) in South Asian Literature (Tamil) from the University of California, Berkeley. He began teaching at CIIS in 1981, and became core faculty in 1986. He is currently the Director of the Asian and Comparative Studies program in the Philosophy and Religion department.

Jim's general interests are in the culture, history, and philosophies of India. He is specifically interested in the various forms of Hindu tantra, particularly the Kashmir Shaiva traditions, the tradition of Sri Aurobindo, and the "modernized" tantra of Haridas Chaudhuri.

A secondary interest is in Jainism and the historical interplay between the non-theistic philosophical traditions and Hinduism.

He is currently working with G. Vijayavenugopal on the third volume of his complete translation of Cīvakacintāmai: The Hero Cīvakaṉ, the Gem that Fulfills All Wishes, by Tiruttakkatēvar, the first time this highly revered 9th century Tamil epic has been translated into any language. 

Work History

Core Faculty, Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy, California Institute of Integral Studies, 1986 to present

Vice-President, Cultural Integration Fellowship, 1999-2007

Bibliographer for the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), 1987-1990

Lecturer in Tamil, University of California, Berkeley, 1987-1988

Adjunct Faculty, California Institute of Integral Studies, 1981-1985

Select Publications

Books

(2011) James D. Ryan and G. Vijayavenugopal. Cīvakacintāmai: The Hero Cīvakaṉ, the Gem that Fulfills All Wishes, by Tiruttakkatēvar, Verses 1166-1884. Translation, introduction, and notes. Fremont, CA: Jain Publishing Company.

  • This is the second of two volumes of the translation of this highly honored Tamil Jain epic of the 9th century which has never been translated into any other language before.

(2007) Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan. Encyclopedia of Hinduism. New York: Facts on File.

  • This is a book published in the Encyclopedia of World Religions series, a five-volume series with J. Gordon Melton as series editor.

(2005) James D. Ryan. Cīvakacintāmaṇi: The Hero Cīvakaṉ, the Gem that Fulfills All Wishes, by Tiruttakkatēvar, Verses 1-1165. Fremont, CA: Jain Publishing Company.

  • A translation with introduction and notes that represents a substantial contribution to the field of Jain studies. The publisher, Jain Publishing Company, is a well-known publisher that is absorbing Asian Humanities Press. Forward by Padmanabh S. Jaini, Professor Emeritus at University of California, Berkeley, one of the foremost scholars of Jainism in the world. The book also contains an introduction by George L. Hart of University of California, Berkeley, who is one of the leading scholars and translators of old Tamil.   

Book Chapters

"The Heterodoxies in Tamil Nadu," in Keith Yandell and John J. Paul, eds., Religion and Public Culture: Encounters and Identities in South India. Richmond: Curzon, 2000. pp. 232-257.

"The Local and the Traditional in the Cīvakacintāmai," in N.K. Wagle and Olle Qvarnstrom, ed., Approaches to Jaina Studies: Philosophy, Logic, Rituals and Symbols. Toronto: University of Toronto Centre for South Asian Studies, 1999. pp. 260-271.

"Erotic Excess and Sexual Danger in the Cīvakacintāmaṇi," in John E. Cort, ed., Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

Articles

"The Complete Yoga: The Lineage of Integral Education," Revision, Vol. 28, no. 3 (Spring 2006).

"The Distant Presence of the Arthat in Cīvakacintāmai," Jinamanjari, Special American Edition (Fall 2005)

"Divining Grammar: An Indic Perspective on Language and Spirituality," Revision, Vol. 26, no. 3 (Spring 2004), pp. 28-30.  

Conference Presentations

The Grammar of Ultimate Reality: Orality, Literacy, and Sacred Knowledge in Sanskrit Thought, presented in a panel entitled, "Another Dangerous Idea: Linguistic Relativity and Consciousness in the Human Sciences." American Anthropological Association, 102nd Meeting in Chicago, Nov. 19-23, 2003.

On a Mountain Under a Tree: The Distant Presence of the Arhat in Cīvakacintāmaṇi, presented in a panel entitled, "Presences and Absences in South Indian Devotional Traditions: Hindu, Buddhist, Jain." American Academy of Religions Annual Meeting, Nov. 22-26, 1996.   

Public Presentations

Numerous presentations on various topics at the Cultural Integration Fellowship, San Francisco.

Occasional talks at other sites.