Students and Alumni

Students and Alumni of Asian and Comparative Studies


Michael R. Sheehy (PhD 2007) is the founder and executive director of the Jonang Foundation. As a nonprofit corporation and online educational resource, the Jonang Foundation works with the living Jonang tradition in order to support the Jonangpa inside Tibet as well as to promote understanding of this little-known Tibetan Buddhist tradition through research and scholarship.

The mission and vision facilitate greater preservation, documentation, revivification, and transmission of the Jonang lineage from its ancient ancestors up to the living tradition; collection, conservation and diffusion of Jonang art and literature; translation of seminal Jonang historical, philosophical and contemplative Tibetan literary works into Western languages; development of educational institutions including schools, monasteries, retreat facilities and libraries that support the Jonang; and promotion of the distinct intellectual, creative and spiritual Jonang heritage.

Zinai Shih (PhD 2002) is the vice-director of the Luminary Buddhist Institute in Taiwan, which provides a four-year Buddhist course for international ordained Buddhist females to become Buddhist teachers and leaders in their communities.

She taught the Development of Buddhism in Middle Asia in the Department of Eastern Languages and Cultures Department at UC Berkeley in 2003, as a visiting faculty.

In addition, she has developed some unique programs in Taiwan sponsored by Gaya Foundation, such as the Prenatal Education for Women and Families through integrating body-mind-spirit approaches, which also received supporting funds from the Women and Children Department of Taipei City Government in 2008.

She believes that “The vision of CIIS responds to the need of the collective consciousness in our post modern time by integrating both rational masculine and intuitive feminine mind and East-and-West cultures and spiritual paths; this met my personal goal of pursuing a path to be a Buddhist practitioner in a modernized setting."

Murshida Rabia Ana Perez-Christi (PhD 1999) is the Chair of the Global PhD program at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA.

She is a lineage holder and National Representative of the Sufi Movement International and is an ordained minister and senior teacher (Murshida).

She has lectured internationally bringing the subject of the unity of religious ideals, feminist philosophy, nonviolent communication methods and social psychology to many universities around the globe.

She has dedicated years of work assisting aid organizations in their support of countries where natural disaster, war, and famine have disabled the communities. She was the director of the Prison Library Project, which encouraged inmates and families to seek supportive educational and counseling assistance.

She worked with Mother Teresa setting up the Mission of Charity center in San Francisco and supported her efforts with the poor at the Kalighat in Calcutta, India.

She has a black belt in Shorin-Ryu Karate and studied with Sensei Jack Saito and Sensei Richard Kim of San Francisco. She also studied Kendo for over a decade with the revered Kendo master, Revered Sui Shin Kan, in New York.

Select Dissertation Titles 

2013 Vecchione, Andrea. Koyilkatu: Modern Day Sacred Grove Nature Temples of Tamil Nadu: Traditional Ecological Knowledge Integrated in Modern Times.
2012 Breckenridge-Watts, Sharryn. An Aperspectival Presentiation of Integral Consciousness: Based on Jean Gebser's Structures of Consciousness and the Evolutionary Psychology of Sri Aurobindo.
2012 Nelson, Lawrence William. Chan (Zen) Sickness and the Master's Role in Its Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention.
2011 Egan, Nicholas B. The Five Elements in Tibetan Buddhism: Cosmology, Meditation, and Enlightenment.
2010 Leigh, Hoseok. The Philosophy of Non-duality in Zhaolun.
2010 Kumar, Sanjay V. Cognitive and Cultural Metaphors of Wholeness in the Rgveda.
2010 Eskenazi, Elline Kay. The Roots of New Age Spirituality in United States Social History. 
2010 Dietz, Adam Matthew. The Self-cultivation and Personality of the Superior Person in Confucianism. 
 Dorman, Eric Robert. A Study of the Letters of the Sanskrit Alphabet and Their Metaphysical Role in the Emanation of Manifest Reality as Described in Select Hindu Tantras.
2009 Duong, Joanna. The Influence of Theravada Buddhism on Spiritual and Social Reforms in Cambodia.
2009 Biglieri, Michael David. Passing on Deconstructions: Reading "Derrida" and "Deconstruction" as Prolegomena to Philosophical Comparitism.
2008 Gillis, Janet L. The Inspiration for Altruistic Behavior in Theravada Buddhist Practice."
2008 Lin, Ginny S.  The Tao of Lao Tzu and Yin-Yang in the I Ching’s Ten Wings With Special Reference to Contemporary Crises.
2008 Kaitz, Edward. The Virtue of Courage in Confucius and Mencius: with comparisons to Hindu and classical Greek philosophies.
2008 Sabzevary, Amir. Choiceless Awareness Through Psychological Freedom in the Philosophy of Krishnamurti.
2007 Pirooz, Mehri Zendehnam. An In-depth Study of the Concept of Muttaqeen in the Qur'an and its Implications for Women in Islam.
2007 Reuben, Daniel P. Are You Crazy: An Etymological and Exegetical Survey in the Historicity of Insanity (Unmada) in Hindu Philosophical and Religious Thought.
2007 Sheehy, Michael R. The Gzhan stong Chen mo: A Study of Emptiness According to the Modern Tibetan Buddhist Jo nang Scholar 'Dzam thang Mkhan po Ngag dbang Blo gros Grags pa (1920-75).
2006 Fung, Gordon Lindsay. Filial Piety with Chinese Family Teachings.
2006 Lighthiser, Timothy P. Puggalapannatti-atthakatha of the Mahavihara School of Theravāda Buddhism: A Translation with Notes.
2005 Hart, Tom. Aloning and Atoning: A central Gesture in the Archetype of the Hero.
2005 Harvey, Gregory A. Can Wisdom be Taught?: Uncovering the Truths of Chan Buddhism in the Teachings of Greek Philosophy.
2005 Hendon, Katherine L. Devotion, Idealism, and Abstraction: Perspectives on the Religious Impulse From the Work of Alice A. Bailey.
2005 Roberts, Holly Harlayne. The Philosophy of the Virtue of Humbleness in the Tao Te Ching.
2004 Bellini, Francesco. The Role of Humor in the Transmission of Hindu, Zen and Sufi Traditions.
2003 Dhammapia, Ashin. Nibbana in Theravada Perspective with Special Reference to Buddhism in Burma.
2003 Fung, Gregory. An Exploration of the Pali Buddhist Tipitaka Using Selected Verses of the Dhammapada.
2003 Knaster, Mirka. Transformation of Ethical Speech Among Contemporary Buddhist and Jewish Teachers in America.
2003 Leong, Darryl Todd. Buddhism, Pragmatism, and the Ethics of Experience: Case Studies on Kamma in the Udana.
2003 Sawyer, Peter. A Qualitative Examination of the Ritual Structure and the Spiritual Nature of the Grateful Dead Experience.
2002 Chang, Fu-Ping. Meditation in Early Buddhism: The Interpretation of the Developmental Process of Transformation.
2002 Hu, Xin. The Methodology of Confucius' Philosophy in The Analects.
2001 Alexandre, Chandra Marie-Michael. Through Vulture's Eye--With Peacock's Tail: A Western (Eco)Feminist Engagement with Kali and the Black Madonna as Antinomian Agents of Transformation in a Patriarchal World.
2001 Snyder, Robert Charles. The Spirit of Confucian Philosophy in the Dazhaun.
2001 Crawford, Gary W. The Journey of the Seeker on the Mystical Path: A New Interpretation of the Katha Upanisad.
2001 Sammartino, Liana. Themes of Passage From Dualism to Unity in the Orphic Myths and Christian Discourse Presented in the Light of Paul Ricoeur's Hermeneutics.
2000 Carey, Kathleen E. Beyond the Journey of Christian Initiation: Mystagogia, Women living the Mystery of Faith.
2000 Ow, Gary. Ananda's Path to Becoming an Arahat: How he Overcame the Ten Fetters to Attain the Four Stages of Enlightenment.