An inter­view with

Lambert Schmithausen

Pos­i­tion & Affil­i­ation: Pro­fess­or Emer­it­us at Uni­ver­sity of Hamburg
Date: August 29, 2019 in Ham­burg, Germany
Inter­viewed by: Anna Sehnalova
Tran­script by: Rachael Griffiths

Cite this archive

Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. (2021, Decem­ber 2). An inter­view with Lam­bert Schmithausen. Retrieved 31 Janu­ary 2023, from
“An inter­view with Lam­bert Schmithausen.” Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies, 2 Dec. 2021,
Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. 2021. An inter­view with Lam­bert Schmithausen. [online], Avail­able at: [Accessed 31 Janu­ary 2023]
Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. “An inter­view with Lam­bert Schmithausen.” 2021, Decem­ber 2.

Dis­claim­er: The views and opin­ions expressed in this inter­view are those of the inter­viewee and do not neces­sar­ily rep­res­ent the offi­cial pos­i­tion of the Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies project.


List of Acronyms: LS=Lam­bert Schmithausen, IN= Inter­view­er

Family and background

IN:      Thank you Prof Schmithausen for agree­ing to this inter­view, it is a great pleas­ure. Could I start by ask­ing about your fam­ily and background?

LS:      My fath­er was a sculptor, and my moth­er organ­ised the selling and buy­ing, and we lived in Cologne.

When I went to high school, I had a teach­er who was a spe­cial­ist in Semit­ic lan­guages. Dur­ing the war he had been kicked out of the uni­ver­sity because he was not a Nation­al Social­ist. After the war he became a high school teach­er. He gave classes in His­tory, and when he talked about the Cru­saders, he also some­times wrote things in Arab­ic on the black­board. This fas­cin­ated me, and so I star­ted learn­ing Arab­ic, just for adventure.

In this way, I became inter­ested in Ori­ent­al lan­guages and also learnt a little bit of Chinese and Sanskrit. Later on, my interest shif­ted from lan­guages to Ori­ent­al reli­gions. In this con­nec­tion I came to read one of Edward Conze’s books on Buddhism, which some­how fas­cin­ated me and made me choose Indo­logy as my main sub­ject at the university.

Liv­ing in Cologne, I could study at the uni­ver­sit­ies of Cologne and Bonn at the same time. In Cologne, Indo­logy was newly installed, and the pro­fess­or, Robert Birwé, was a spe­cial­ist in Sanskrit gram­mar and middle Ind­ic. In Bonn, Indo­logy was tra­di­tion­ally well estab­lished. The pro­fess­ors were Paul Hack­er and Hans Losch. This was a lucky coin­cid­ence because Prof Hack­er was an author­ity in Indi­an philo­sophy and reli­gious sys­tems, where­as Prof Losch trained me in Sanskrit poetry.

As for Prof Hack­er, in my first term I was lucky to be allowed to par­ti­cip­ate in his class on a Buddhist text, the Bod­hi­caryāvatāra. In the fol­low­ing terms, I received a sol­id train­ing in vari­ous fields of Indi­an philo­sophy, espe­cially Advaita Vedānta, Purāṇas, Old Hindi (Tulsīdās), and oth­er areas. Besides, I learned some Tibetan by myself.

After three years, Prof Hack­er advised me to go to some oth­er uni­ver­sity “in order to not become the mag­ni­fy­ing glass of the mis­takes of your teach­er”, as he said. So, togeth­er with my wife I went to Vienna, to Prof Erich Frauwall­ner, a fam­ous schol­ar of Indi­an Philo­sophy. Under his guid­ance, I wrote my dis­ser­ta­tion on Maṇḍanamiśra’s Vibhramaviveka and the Indi­an the­or­ies of error (or mis­per­cep­tion) and did my PhD in 1963.

Dur­ing my stay in Vienna, I had excel­lent fel­low stu­dents: Tilmann Vet­ter (who later became pro­fess­or of Buddhist Stud­ies in Leiden) and Ernst Steinkell­ner (who became pro­fess­or of Buddhism and Tibet­o­logy in Vienna). We always col­lab­or­ated very fruit­fully and became friends for the rest of our life.

After one more year in Vienna I returned to Prof Hack­er, and we moved to Mün­ster where he had accep­ted a chair in the mean­time. After com­plet­ing my habil­it­a­tion thes­is on basic prob­lems of Yogācāra Buddhism in 1966, I was gran­ted the venia legendi (Lat­in for “per­mis­sion for lec­tur­ing”) for Indo­logy and became a teach­er (Dozent), and later (1970) a pro­fess­or at Mün­ster Uni­ver­sity. In this way, I could con­tin­ue with my work quite well for a couple of years.

From 1973 onward, I held the chair for Buddhist Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­sity of Ham­burg until my retire­ment in 2005.


High school and early interests

IN:      Could you tell me a bit more about your teach­er at high school? What was his name?

LS:      Dr Kin­der­mann. He was a spe­cial­ist in Semit­ic lan­guages but knew many oth­er lan­guages, too. He had stud­ied Chinese and Sanskrit as well.


IN:      Was he a teach­er at the uni­ver­sity in Cologne?

LS:      He had a teach­ing assign­ment at the uni­ver­sity, where he gave lec­tures on Semit­ic lan­guages includ­ing Cunei­form texts.


IN:      What did you find so fas­cin­at­ing about the lan­guages and the cultures?

LS:      For a child of 12 or 13 years, being con­fron­ted with words in Ori­ent­al scripts is a kind of adven­ture, some­thing enigmatic.

Later on, the con­tent became the import­ant point. When I was 17, I had some prob­lems with explain­ing the world. The Buddhist answer was some­thing new and some­thing worth study­ing more closely. My old fas­cin­a­tion for lan­guages had become sec­ond­ary. Even so, as a Buddho­lo­gist you are free to learn as many lan­guages as you like.


IN:      How did you become inter­ested in languages?

LS:      I think that was mainly due to Dr Kin­der­mann, though even before lan­guages were some­thing that inter­ested me. To be sure, I am not such a geni­us in learn­ing lan­guages as some oth­er per­sons I know, who just keep everything they read in their mind. My memory is not that good. Even so, learn­ing lan­guages was some­thing that I liked. But as I told you, later on my main interest shif­ted from the lan­guages to the con­tent, espe­cially the philo­soph­ic­al and reli­gious ideas, and in this per­spect­ive study­ing Indo­logy was most prom­ising. Dr Kin­der­mann, with his insight into the respect­ive focus of the main Asi­an cul­tures, once said: “If you’re inter­ested in these things then you should study Indo­logy.” And he was right, I think.


IN:      Did you also learn European lan­guages as a child?

LS:     Yes, of course, I learned some Span­ish, Itali­an, and French, and a little Por­tuguese and Rus­si­an, mainly for the sake of read­ing. Between the ages of 15 and 18, when I trav­elled with friends to Italy and Spain, and in 1963 when I went to Italy with my wife, I fairly man­aged to speak these two languages.


IN:      Was it com­mon at the time to study many lan­guages at high school?

LS:      The high school I went to was a gram­mar school, so we had to learn Lat­in and Greek. And Eng­lish, of course. French and Hebrew were optional.


IN:      How was it grow­ing up in post war Germany?

LS:      I was fairly lucky. We lived some­what out­side the city. We had a garden with fruit trees, veget­ables and chick­en and thus man­aged to survive.


IN:      Did you have siblings?

LS:      No, I was alone.


University education and the development of Tibetan studies at the University of Hamburg

IN:      Could you tell us a bit more about your uni­ver­sity edu­ca­tion? What did it look like?

LS:      As I told you, in Cologne I stud­ied with Prof Birwé. Espe­cially nat­ive Sanskrit gram­mar, though only on the basis of com­par­at­ively easy sources, not enough for me to become thor­oughly famil­i­ar with this field. Besides, we read some poetry as well as Ved­ic texts, and I was intro­duced by him into Middle Ind­ic (Prakrit and Pali).

I have already giv­en some inform­a­tion on my study with Prof Hack­er and Prof Losch. Let me add that Prof Losch expec­ted me to pre­pare rather long pieces of dif­fi­cult texts for each ses­sion and thus made sure that my flu­ency in read­ing Sanskrit improved con­sid­er­ably. Prof Hack­er, on the oth­er hand, intro­duced me into the tech­nic­al lan­guage of Indi­an philo­soph­ic­al texts and into the meth­ods of tex­tu­al ana­lys­is in order to dis­cov­er strat­i­fic­a­tion and doc­trin­al nuances and developments.

While study­ing in Bonn and Cologne, I also par­ti­cip­ated in classes on Ara­bi­an sources, but after mov­ing to Vienna I mainly con­cen­trated on Brahmanical and Buddhist philo­sophy. Like Prof Hack­er, Prof Frauwall­ner, too, taught us to explore the texts in terms of tex­tu­al his­tory and his­tory of ideas.


IN:      Was it mostly tex­tu­al studies?

LS:      Mainly, yes. But the texts were, above all, read and stud­ied as vehicles of ideas. Our interest was, in the first place, to under­stand these ideas, their rela­tions and their development.

As for spoken lan­guage, in Bonn there was a lec­turer for Hindi, and Prof Hack­er also read mod­ern Hindi and Bengali lit­er­at­ure with us, but speak­ing these lan­guages was not my main aim since at that time I had no plan to travel to India. It is only much later that I vis­ited India and/or Sri Lanka, twice with my fam­ily and once alone. From a schol­arly point of view, it became much more import­ant for me to go to Japan, where we have been six times for a peri­od of one to three months.


IN:      You men­tioned you stud­ied Tibetan by your­self. How did you do that?

LS:      By buy­ing the gram­mars of H.A. Jäsch­ke and Mar­celle Lalou, which were the most access­ible gram­mar books at that time, and by try­ing to read Tibetan texts trans­lated from Sanskrit. In Vienna some­times such Tibetan texts were used in class. So, you got accus­tomed to this kind of Tibetan. I don’t think Prof Frauwall­ner had worked much with autoch­thon­ous Tibetan lit­er­at­ure; he was, after all, an Indo­lo­gist who used Chinese and Tibetan in order to be able to include those parts of the Indi­an Buddhist tra­di­tion which had been lost in their ori­gin­al lan­guage and had only sur­vived in Tibetan and/or Chinese translations.

As for myself, I had no access to autoch­thon­ous Tibetan sources but only to Tibetan trans­la­tions of Indi­an texts. In Mün­ster I was just an Indo­lo­gist. My spe­cial field was the Indi­an Buddhist tra­di­tion, but I also gave oth­er classes. My chair in Ham­burg, too, was for Indo­logy, but with the addi­tion, in brack­ets, of Buddho­logy and Tibet­o­logy. In the advert­ise­ment it was spe­cified that the applic­ant was expec­ted to study and teach Indi­an Buddhism on the basis of its sources both in their ori­gin­al lan­guages and in the form of their non-Indi­an trans­mis­sions. Tibet­o­logy should be cared for. Thus, to apply for this pos­i­tion did­n’t pre-sup­­pose that you were a Tibet­o­lo­gist, but it was expec­ted that you were inter­ested in Tibet­o­logy and would care for Tibet­o­logy as a sub­ject. This was pos­sible thanks to the pres­ence of a nat­ive Tibetan lec­turer, Geshe Gendün Lodrö, and excel­lent lib­rary facilities.

The intro­duc­tion of Tibet­o­logy as a spe­cial course of stud­ies at Ham­burg uni­ver­sity dates back to 1959, when Prof Lud­wig Als­dorf was head of the depart­ment. The com­pet­ent schol­ar at that time was Dr Frank-Richard Hamm. But when, in 1964, Dr Hamm had left Ham­burg for a chair in Ber­lin, Prof Als­dorf man­aged to estab­lish, at his insti­tute, a second chair for Indo­logy, ded­ic­ated to Indi­an Buddhism, includ­ing its non-Indi­an trans­mis­sions in Tibetan, Chinese and Cent­ral Asi­an lan­guages, and also Tibetology.

In 1966, the newly estab­lished chair was offered to Prof Franz Bernhard. He was pre­cisely this kind of Buddho­lo­gist who was well equipped to read trans­la­tions of Buddhist texts in all kinds of lan­guages. In order to fully estab­lish Tibetan Stud­ies, he con­sul­ted the Dalai Lama and asked him to send a first­class tra­di­tion­al Tibetan schol­ar to Ham­burg. In response, Geshe Gendün Lodrö was sent to Ham­burg and was employed as a lec­turer. He was a Gelugpa monk but thor­oughly famil­i­ar with all the dif­fer­ent tra­di­tions of Tibetan Buddhism.

From 1968 to 1972, Tibetan Stud­ies were sub­stan­tially pro­moted also by Prof Bernhard’s assist­ant, Dr Michael Hahn. In his new pos­i­tion, Prof Bernhard had ded­ic­ated him­self to an explor­a­tion of the area of Tibetan cul­ture in the Him­alaya, which he vis­ited repeatedly. Unfor­tu­nately, on his third jour­ney (to Mus­tang) in 1971, he fell ill severely and died at the age of just forty – a tre­mend­ous loss for Buddhist and Tibetan Studies.

In 1973, I had the sad hon­our to become his suc­cessor. Being famil­i­ar merely with Indi­an Buddhist texts and their Tibetan and Chinese trans­la­tions but com­pletely ignor­ant of the autoch­thon­ous Tibetan lit­er­at­ure, I was eager to get at least some idea. So, what I did was to give classes togeth­er with Gendün Lodrö Rinpoche for some years. We had two of them a week where we read autoch­thon­ous Tibetan texts, like Tuken Chökyi Nyima’s Drupta Shelgyi Mélong (Grub mtha’ shel gyi me long) or Longchenpa’s Chöy­ing Rinpoché Dzö (Chos dby­ings rin po che’i mdzod). Read­ing the lat­ter was par­tic­u­larly fas­cin­at­ing for me. Had I been a stu­dent, Dzokchen (rdzogs chen) would cer­tainly have become one of my spe­cial fields of study.

In the begin­ning, we had only two or three stu­dents. One of them was Felix Erb, who later became our Insti­tute’s lib­rar­i­an. The second per­son was Burkhard Quessel (now Brit­ish Lib­rary), fol­lowed by Franz-Karl Ehrhard (now Prof. em. of Tibet­o­logy at Munich Uni­ver­sity), Chris­toph Cüp­pers (who became the dir­ect­or of the Lumbini Inter­na­tion­al Research Insti­tute in Nepal), Leonard van der Kuijp (now pro­fess­or of Tibet­o­logy in Har­vard), and oth­ers – the audi­ence increased con­sid­er­ably over the years.

This pos­it­ive devel­op­ment came to an end by Rinpoche’s sud­den death in 1979, just a few days before his already sched­uled appoint­ment as a pro­fess­or of Tibet­o­logy. In order to recog­nize Rinpoche’s extraordin­ary qual­i­fic­a­tion and com­mit­ment, the insti­tute had suc­cess­fully applied for pro­mot­ing him from the pos­i­tion of a lec­turer to that of a pro­fess­or, and Rinpoche had already been con­grat­u­lated by the pres­id­ent of the uni­ver­sity, but it was not for him to live to the appointment.

Even though Rinpoche’s untimely death deprived us of an excep­tion­al col­league, the trans­form­a­tion of the lec­turer­’s post into the pos­i­tion of a pro­fess­or of Tibet­o­logy was stable. In this way, Tibet­o­logy had been estab­lished inde­pend­ently, no longer under the care of Indo­logy, and I now could con­cen­trate on my own field which is Indi­an Buddhism.

We first tried to fill the vacant post with anoth­er nat­ive Tibetan schol­ar, but we did not find a suit­able per­son. So, we had to announce the pos­i­tion. For­tu­nately, in 1983 we suc­ceeded in attract­ing a fam­ous spe­cial­ist of both Indo-Tibetan and autoch­thon­ous Tibetan Buddhism, Prof Dav­id Sey­fort Ruegg, and we enjoyed sev­er­al years of most fruit­ful cooper­a­tion. After Prof Sey­fort Rueg­g’s early retire­ment in 1990, Prof Dav­id Jack­son became his suc­cessor, a schol­ar whose field cov­ers not only the ideas and his­tory of Tibetan Buddhism but also Tibetan art.

When in 2007 Prof Jack­son decided to aban­don his post and to go back to Amer­ica, he was suc­ceeded by Prof Dorji Wangchuk, a Bhu­tanese trained in tra­di­tion­al Tibetan Buddhist schol­ar­ship, who had come to Ham­burg because he wanted to study the back­ground of his cul­ture, i.e., Indi­an Buddhism in the ori­gin­al lan­guages. He became my stu­dent and wrote his PhD dis­ser­ta­tion on the concept of bod­h­i­citta in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism (2007). He thus com­bines, in his per­son and in his work, tra­di­tion­al Tibetan schol­ar­ship with mod­ern West­ern schol­ar­ship. His wife, too, Dr Orna Almogi, is an excel­lent Tibet­o­lo­gist. As a stu­dent of Prof Jack­son, she wrote her PhD thes­is on ‘Rong-zom-pa’s Dis­courses on Buddhology’.


IN:       Can you tell us a bit about Rinpoche? Which year did he arrive?

LS:      In 1967 he came from Dre­pung. In 1974, he pub­lished a book, Ge­schich­te der Kloster-Uni­versität Dre­pung, which is a unique doc­u­ment­a­tion, in Tibetan, of his memor­ies about this mon­as­tery-uni­ver­­s­ity. He had accom­pan­ied the Dalai Lama to India when he had to escape. I think he was a mem­ber of the Dalai Lama’s closest circle.

Rinpoche was very good with stu­dents, they liked him. He was a kind of real guru for them in a pos­it­ive sense. Some­body whom they admired, both per­son­ally and as a schol­ar. For me, he was a real friend.


Position at the University of Hamburg

IN:      What respons­ib­il­it­ies did you have when you were the head of the insti­tute in Hamburg?

LS:      Most of the time, my col­league Prof Albrecht Wez­ler, the suc­cessor of Prof Als­dorf, was the head of the insti­tute, while I had to rep­res­ent the insti­tute in the depart­ment com­mit­tee (Fachbereich­s­rat).

Apart from this, my main duty, besides research work, was of course teach­ing, and advising young schol­ars writ­ing their MA thes­is or dis­ser­ta­tion. I usu­ally spent some time on look­ing at dis­ser­ta­tions before they were handed in and to give some advice or sug­gest improve­ments. I some­times also had to assess Tibet­o­lo­gic­al dis­ser­ta­tions, espe­cially before Tibet­o­logy had its own pro­fess­or, or, later, as a second examiner.


IN:      Which sub­jects did you teach?

LS:      Mainly Indi­an Buddhism, mostly on the basis of read­ing texts in Sanskrit, Pāli or Tibetan, some­times also Chinese, but also by giv­ing lec­tures, e.g. on Buddhist philo­sophy or Buddhist eth­ics, or more spe­cial sub­jects like “Buddhism and viol­ence”. Still, I some­times also gave classes on Hindu and Jaina sources. I had a peri­od when I was par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in Kash­mir Shaiv­ism, which is Prof Alex­is Sander­son’s area. He once came as a vis­it­or and gave a bril­liant lecture.


IN:      Who would you say were your most import­ant students?

LS:      I had the priv­ilege of being the super­visor of 20 excel­lent and import­ant PhD stu­dents, not only from Ger­many but also from Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. One of them (Prof Michael Zim­mer­mann) became my suc­cessor. From the point of view of Tibet­o­logy, I may refer to those men­tioned above in con­nec­tion with my classes togeth­er with Gendün Lodrö, but I should add Kodo Yot­suya (pro­fess­or at Komaza­wa Uni­ver­sity, Tokyo) and, as at least partly Tibet­o­lo­gists, Achim Bay­er (pro­fess­or at Kanaza­wa Seiryo Uni­ver­sity) and Jow­ita Kramer (pro­fess­or at the Uni­ver­sity of Munich).


IN:      When you were learn­ing and teach­ing lan­guages, how did you read Tibetan?

LS:      To pro­nounce Tibetan as Tibetans now do, I learnt from Rinpoche. Before that time, I read old Tibetan as it was prob­ably pro­nounced by the Tibetans in the early period.


Position at the University of Münster

IN:      Could you say a bit more about your time at Münster?

LS:      On the one hand, I had suf­fi­cient time to con­tin­ue my Yogācāra stud­ies. In my classes, I read texts, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, with a small num­ber of stu­dents. For example, we read parts of the Rat­n­ag­o­travibhāga. With a stu­dent of Prof Hack­er who was work­ing on Dvaita-Vedānta (a the­ist­ic, dual­ist­ic sys­tem of inter­pret­ing the Upan­iṣad­ic tra­di­tion) I read texts of Mad­hva, the main author of this strand. Apart from this, I also con­tin­ued to par­ti­cip­ate in classes of Prof Hack­er, and also in classes of Prof Claus Haebler (chair of Indo-Ger­­­man­ic lan­guages) on Ved­ic texts, but we also had a com­mon class on the old Indi­an treat­ise on polit­ics (Arthaśāstra) ascribed to Kauṭilya.

Towards the end of my time in Mün­ster (1971/72) I had to act, for one year, as the dean of the sub-fac­ulty (Clas­sic­al Philo­logy, Ori­ent­al Stud­ies, Eth­no­logy). At that time, the uni­ver­sity was in dis­order: stu­dents and assist­ants stood against the ordin­ary pro­fess­ors. There­fore, the job of a dean was passed on to per­sons that stood in between, like me, a “super­nu­mer­ary pro­fess­or”. That year was not really fruit­ful for my schol­arly work, but after all a use­ful experience.


Doctorate research at the University of Vienna

IN:      Could you tell us about your stud­ies in Vienna?

LS:      There were two classes a week with Prof Frauwall­ner at his home, where he had all his books at hand. We – four or five stu­dents – went there in the morn­ing for two hours to read texts with him. The texts con­cerned were usu­ally determ­ined by the dis­ser­ta­tions his stu­dents were work­ing on. Since sev­er­al of his stu­dents were work­ing on works of the Buddhist philo­soph­er Dhar­makīrti, these had top pri­or­ity. But on occa­sion we also read Brahmanical texts, among oth­ers Maṇḍanam­iśra’s Vibhramaviveka when this text had been decided to become the start­ing point of my own dis­ser­ta­tion. If there were Tibetan or Chinese trans­la­tions, Prof Frauwall­ner took for gran­ted that we made use of them. Later on, when a Japan­ese schol­ar had come to Vienna for some time, Prof Frauwall­ner read Abhid­harma texts with us, Indi­an texts that were exist­ent in the form Chinese trans­la­tions only.

When read­ing texts with us, Prof Frauwall­ner usu­ally trans­lated him­self, but of course we were allowed to ask ques­tions.  Some­times he asked one of us to trans­late, but if you stopped for too long then he would take over again. Any­way, in the end we became thor­oughly famil­i­ar with the mater­i­al and learnt how to under­stand the texts and put the right ques­tions. I was indeed very for­tu­nate with my teach­ers, both in Bonn and Cologne and in Vienna.

Apart from Prof Frauwall­ner­’s classes, I also par­ti­cip­ated, togeth­er with my friend Tilmann Vet­ter, in the highly stim­u­lat­ing philo­soph­ic­al lec­tures and sem­inars of Prof Erich Heintel.


IN:      How were the stud­ies organised?

LS:      There was no BA or MA at that time. You just had to write your dis­ser­ta­tion, and if it was found accept­able and you suc­ceeded in passing the viva voce, you were awar­ded your PhD.

In Ger­many, you had to choose a main sub­ject and either a second main sub­ject or two sec­ond­ary sub­jects. In Vienna, in addi­tion to the main sub­ject, one sec­ond­ary sub­ject was enough, but in addi­tion you had to pass two exam­in­a­tions in philosophy.

In the last 10 years of my teach­ing peri­od in Ham­burg, we organ­ised a lec­ture series for a wider pub­lic, i.e., for per­sons who were not registered as stu­dents or aud­it­ors. They sub­scribed and paid a mod­er­ate amount. We could use that money for invit­ing for­eign schol­ars to give a lec­ture. There was one lec­ture a week, then a dis­cus­sion — these people sat togeth­er and dis­cussed — and finally a dis­cus­sion with the lec­turer and with us.

Each term, there were about 50 people who sub­scribed and came. Many of them came year after year to par­ti­cip­ate in this series of lec­tures. For me, too, it was inter­est­ing to listen to dif­fer­ent schol­ars, dis­cuss with them, and have ques­tions from out­siders. The ini­ti­at­or of this lec­ture series was a math­em­atician who was inter­ested in Buddhism and had very good con­tacts with the uni­ver­sity admin­is­tra­tion. Thus, the whole organ­iz­a­tion of the event was done by the uni­ver­sity. We only had to select the them­at­ic frame­work of each lec­ture series and to find suit­able lecturers.


Development of research interests

IN:      You have worked on a num­ber of top­ics with­in Buddhist Stud­ies, how and why did your interests develop?

LS:      In the begin­ning, as a stu­dent in Bonn, I was just inter­ested in Indi­an cul­ture as a whole, but, as I have already stated before, par­tic­u­larly in Buddhism. In the course of study­ing with Prof Hack­er, I also came to be fas­cin­ated by Advaita Ved­anta. In Vienna, it was per­haps the philo­sophy classes of Prof Hein­tel and my dis­cus­sions with Tilmann Vet­ter that aroused a spe­cial interest in Yogācāra Buddhism. Thus, I star­ted to read Yogācāra texts, like Asaṅga’s Mahāyānas­aṁ­graha, helped by Étienne Lamot­te’s French translation.

Still, I was also very much inter­ested in the vari­ous cur­rents of Brahman­ic philo­sophy, and thus I took up Prof Frauwall­ner­’s sug­ges­tion to choose, for my doc­tor­al dis­ser­ta­tion, a crit­ic­al re-edi­­tion of Maṇḍanam­iśra’s Vibhramavivekaḥ, a Mīmāṁsā text on the Indi­an the­or­ies of per­cep­tu­al error, along with an intro­duc­tion dis­cuss­ing the devel­op­ment of these the­or­ies in the dif­fer­ent schools. As I had already stud­ied most of the rel­ev­ant tex­tu­al sources, the com­ple­tion of the dis­ser­ta­tion did not take too much time.

Things turned out to be essen­tially dif­fer­ent in the case of the thes­is I sub­mit­ted for get­ting the venia legendi (i.e. the Habil­it­a­tionss­chrift), which was on the basic Yogācāra con­cepts of ālayavijñāna and vijñap­timātratā. Though the thes­is was accep­ted, when revis­ing it for pub­lic­a­tion I found that basic pre­sup­pos­i­tions from which I had star­ted required recon­sid­er­a­tion. Espe­cially the status of doc­trin­al devel­op­ments in the Yogācār­ab­hūmi, the basic text of the Yogācāra school, had to be recon­sidered. There­fore, I kept the thes­is unpub­lished, and it is only after thor­oughly study­ing the sources for a longer time that I could pub­lish my res­ults in a com­pletely revised form in sev­er­al art­icles and in my book on ālayavijñāna (Tokyo 1987).

Around 1980, I became very alarmed by what now seems to be widely recog­nized: the envir­on­ment­al prob­lems. Not so much cli­mate change – this was not yet the cent­ral issue at that time – but rather the destruc­tion of eco-sys­tems and the exterm­in­a­tion of spe­cies. I real­ized that there were tre­mend­ous problems.

In the begin­ning, this insight had no con­nec­tion with my schol­arly work. But later on I thought it might be mean­ing­ful to explore how these devel­op­ments and the human atti­tudes respons­ible for them would be eval­u­ated from the per­spect­ive of tra­di­tion­al Buddhist texts. So, I star­ted to study Buddhist texts from a new point of view, namely from the point of view of an envir­on­ment­al eth­ics. The res­ults of my invest­ig­a­tion have been pub­lished in sev­er­al papers.

In con­nec­tion with the prob­lem of the Buddhist atti­tude towards nature, I came to be con­fron­ted with more spe­cial prob­lems. One of these was the ques­tion of the sen­tience or insen­tience of plants in Buddhism, finally dealt with in my book, Plants in Early Buddhism and the Far East­ern Idea of the Buddha-Nature of Grasses and Trees (Lumbini 2009).

Anoth­er issue was the ques­tion of meat eat­ing and veget­ari­an­ism in the Buddhist tra­di­tion, addressed in a couple of papers and now in my last book, Fleis­chverzehr und Veget­ar­is­mus im indis­chen Buddhis­mus (Ham­burg Buddhist Stud­ies 12, 2020). For the sake of a sound philo­lo­gic­al basis, this book also includes a crit­ic­al edi­tion and extens­ively annot­ated trans­la­tion of three text por­tions from Mahāyānasūtras against meat eat­ing: one from the Mahā­pari­nirvāṇasūtra, one from the Aṅguli­mālīyasūtra, and one from the Laṅkāvatārasūtra.


IN:      Why was the envir­on­ment import­ant to you in the first place?

LS:      Well, since my child­hood I’ve liked anim­als and plants. A world without anim­als, plants and unspoilt nature would­n’t suit me.

I admit that even in wild nature anim­al life is not free from suf­fer­ing. In this regard, Buddhists are right. But would there be less suf­fer­ing in a world with nature des­troyed, provided that it remains hab­it­able at all?


IN:      Has your insight into Buddhist philo­sophy influ­enced your life?

LS:     Per­haps the emphas­is on imper­man­ence. And, of course, Buddhist eth­ics. Like Buddhists, I respect anim­als as sen­tient beings and try my best not to hurt them as far as pos­sible. Per­haps, Buddhism also motiv­ated me to try to be a bit less greedy, ill-willed and conceited.


IN:      Do you have a favour­ite Buddhist philosopher?

LS:      Not par­tic­u­larly. The text that took most of my time, the Yogācār­ab­hūmi, though tra­di­tion­ally ascribed to Asaṅga or Maitreya, is almost cer­tainly a compilation.


IN:      Could you sum­mar­ise the devel­op­ment of Buddhist Stud­ies, Indi­an Stud­ies, and Tibetan Stud­ies in Ger­many and Aus­tria over the years? Per­haps the major changes?

LS:      That would need more pre­par­a­tion, so I must con­fine myself to a few hints. Around 1960, at the time when I was a stu­dent, there were only a lim­ited num­ber of chairs for Indo­logy. Schol­ars were work­ing in vari­ous fields of Indi­an Stud­ies, includ­ing Indi­an Buddhism. Prof Helmut Hoff­mann in Munich was also a Tibet­o­lo­gist. In the 1960s, Tibet­o­logy developed in Bonn, and a chair for Buddhist Stud­ies includ­ing Tibet­o­logy was estab­lished not only, as has already been described, in Ham­burg, but also in Vienna (Prof Ernst Steinkell­ner). At the same time, sev­er­al uni­ver­sit­ies estab­lished new pos­i­tions for Indi­an Stud­ies, but since ca. 2000 there has been an increas­ing tend­ency to reduce their num­ber dra­mat­ic­ally. Still, among the remain­ing Indo­lo­gists, the per­cent­age of those who study Buddhism is com­par­at­ively high.


IN:      Were you part of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­ation for Tibetan Stud­ies (IATS) or Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­ation of Buddhist Stud­ies (IABS)?

LS:      I was only part of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­ation of Buddhist Stud­ies, but I par­ti­cip­ated in the meet­ings only once.


Reflections on career, biggest challenges, achievements, and contributions

IN:      What has your career in Buddhist and Tibetan Stud­ies giv­en you?

LS:      Study­ing Buddhism has taught me that the world and our fel­low sen­tient beings could be under­stood in a way decis­ively dif­fer­ent from the one I had been accus­tomed to in the con­text of our own culture.


IN:      What top­ics might you like to pur­sue in the future?

LS:      I have not yet decided. First, I would like to quietly read some books and texts I had no time to read so far.


IN:      Look­ing back, what did you find the most inter­est­ing in your work, and what did you find the most challenging?

LS:     Well, this depends on the age. In my young­er years, it was the way the Yogācāra sys­tem explains the world in way com­pletely dif­fer­ent from an ordin­ary per­son’s world view, and the basis on which this was done, viz., med­it­at­ive exper­i­ence. Later, the most inter­est­ing and at the same time the most chal­len­ging work was that on the devel­op­ments of the Buddhist view of the nature of plants, and the prob­lems involved.


IN:      What do you see as your most sig­ni­fic­ant aca­dem­ic contribution(s) and why?

LS:     I should like to leave the answer to my col­leagues. From my point of view, my most sig­ni­fic­ant aca­dem­ic con­tri­bu­tion was per­haps that I was for­tu­nate to have a great num­ber of excel­lent stu­dents and that I some­how suc­ceeded in train­ing them well.


A message for future generations of students and researchers

IN:      What would you say to cur­rent and future gen­er­a­tions of Tibet­o­lo­gists and Buddhologists?

LS:     Keep your eyes and mind open. Be ready to change or give up your pos­i­tion if you find that it might not be the right or best one. And do not get involved in end­less dis­putes if neither party is able to con­vince the oth­er, for in such cases it may be bet­ter to leave the decision the later, unpre­ju­diced scholars.

Additional info

Books and booklets

1. Maṇḍanam­iśra’s Vibhramavivekaḥ, mit ein­er Stud­ie zu Entwicklung der indis­chen Irrtumslehre. Öster­reichis­che Akademie der Wis­senschaften, philo­soph­isch-his­t­or­is­che Klasse, Sitzungs­berichte, 247. Band, 1. Abhand­lung. Wien 1965.

2. Der Nir­vāṇa-Abschnitt in der Vin­iś­cay­as­aṃ­gra­haḥ der Yogācār­ab­hūmiḥ . Öster­reichis­che Akademie der Wis­senschaften, philo­soph­isch-his­t­or­is­che Klasse, Sitzungs­berichte, 264. Band, 2. Abhand­lung. Wien 1969.

3. Ālayavijñāna. On the Ori­gin and Early Devel­op­ment of a Cent­ral Concept of Yogācāra Philo­sophy. 2 vols. Stu­dia Philo­lo­gica Buddh­ica, Mono­graph Series, 4a and 4b. Tokyo 1987.

4. The Prob­lem of the Sen­tience of Plants in Earli­est Buddhism. Stu­dia Philo­lo­gica Buddh­ica, Mono­graph Series, 6. Tokyo 1991.

4a. Plants as Sen­tient Beings in Earli­est Buddhism. The A. L. Basham Lec­ture for 1989. Can­berra 1991.

5. Buddhism and Nature. The Lec­ture delivered on the Occa­sion of the EXPO 1990: An Enlarged Ver­sion with Notes. Stu­dia Philo­lo­gica Buddh­ica, Occa­sion­al Paper Series, 7. Tokyo 1991.

6. Maitri and Magic. Aspects of the Buddhist Atti­tude Towards the Dan­ger­ous in Nature. Öster­reichis­che Akademie der Wis­senschaften, philo­soph­isch-his­t­or­is­che Klasse, Sitzungs­berichte, 652. Band. Wien 1997.


1. Vor­stel­lungs­freie und vor­stel­lende Wahrnehmung bei Śālikanātha.
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Süd- und Ostas­i­ens 7 (1963), 104–115.

2. Sautrāntika-Voraus­­set­zun­­­gen in Viṃśatikā und Triṃśikā .
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Süd- und Ostas­i­ens, 11 (1967), 109–136.

2a. “Nijūron” to “San­jūron” ni mir­are­ru Kyōryōbu-teki zen­tei [übers. von Y. Kaji].
In: Buddhist Sem­in­ar 37 (1983), 73–96. [Jap. Übers. von 2.]

3. Zur advait­ischen The­or­ie der Objekterkenntnis.
In: Beiträge zur Geistes­geschichte Indi­ens. Fest­s­chrift für Erich Frauwall­ner, Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Süd- und Ostas­i­ens 12–13 (1968–1969), 329–360.

4. Some Remarks on the Prob­lem of the Date of Vācaspatimitāra.
In: Journ­al of the Bihar Research Soci­ety 54 (1968), 158–164.

5. Ich und Erlösung im Buddhismus.
In: Zeits­chrift für Mis­sion­swis­senschaft und Reli­gion­swis­senschaft 53 (1969), 157–170.

6. Zur Lit­er­at­urgeschichte der älter­en Yogācāra-Schule.
In: Zeits­chrift der Deutschen Mor­gen­ländis­chen Gesell­schaft. Sup­ple­menta I: Vorträge des XVII. Deutschen Ori­ent­al­ist­entages in Würzburg, Wies­baden 1969, 811–823.

7. Zu den Rezen­sion­en des Udānav­ar­gaḥ -.
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 14 (1970), 47–124.

8. Zur Lehre von der vor­stel­lungs­freien Wahrnehmung bei Praśastapāda.
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 14 (1970), 125–129.

9. Philo­lo­gis­che Bemerkun­gen zum Rat­n­ag­o­travibhāga-.
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 15 (1971), 123–177.

10. The Defin­i­tion of Pratyakṣam in the Abhid­harmasamuc­caya-.
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 16 (1972), 153–163.

11. Zu D. Sey­fort Rueggs Buch “La théor­ie du tathāgatagarbha et du gotra” [Besprechung­sauf­satz].
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 17 (1973), 123–160.

12. Spirituelle Prax­is und philo­soph­is­che The­or­ie im Buddhismus.
In: Zeits­chrift für Mis­sion­swis­senschaft und Reli­gion­swis­senschaft 57 (1973), 161–186.

13. On the Prob­lem of the Rela­tion of Spir­itu­al Prac­tice and Philo­soph­ic­al The­ory in Buddhism.
In: Cul­tur­al Depart­ment, Embassy of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many, New Del­hi (ed.), Ger­man Schol­ars on India. Con­tri­bu­tions to Indi­an Stud­ies, Vol. II, Bom­bay 1976, 235–250.

14. Die vier Konzen­tra­tion­en der Aufmerksamkeit. Zur geschicht­lichen Entwicklung ein­er spirituel­len Prax­is des Buddhismus.
In: Zeits­chrift für Mis­sion­swis­senschaft und Reli­gion­swis­senschaft 60 (1976), 241–266.

15. Zu Rahula Wal­polas Über­set­zung von Asaṅ­gas Abhid­harmasamuc­caya [Besprechung­sauf­satz].
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 20 (1976), 111–122.

16. Zur buddhistischen Lehre von der dre­ifachen Leidhaftigkeit
In: Zeits­chrift der Deutschen Mor­gen­ländis­chen Gesell­schaft. Sup­ple­menta III: Vorträge des XIX. Deutschen Ori­ent­al­ist­entages in Freiburg, Wies­baden 1977, 918–931.

17. Tex­t­geschicht­liche Beo­bach­tun­gen zum 1. Kapitel der Aṣṭasāhas­rikā Pra­jñāpāram­itā .
In: Lewis Lan­caster (ed.), Pra­jñāpāram­itā and Related Sys­tems. Stud­ies in Hon­or of Edward Conze, Berke­ley Buddhist Series 1, Berke­ley 1977, 35–80.

18. Zur Struk­tur der erlösenden Erfahrung im indis­chen Buddhismus.
In: Ger­hard Ober­ham­mer (ed.), Transzenden­zer­fahrung, Vollzug­sho­ri­zont des Heils, Wien 1978, 97–119.

19. Some Aspects of the Con­cep­tion of Ego in Buddhism: Satkāy­adṛṣṭiAsmimāna and Kliṣṭaman­as [ins Japan­is­che übers. Von K. Yokoyama].
In: Bukkyō-gaku 7 (1979), 1–18.

20. On some Aspects of Descrip­tions or The­or­ies of “Lib­er­at­ing Insight” and “Enlight­en­ment” in Early Buddhism.
In: Klaus Bruhn und Albrecht Wez­ler (eds), Stud­i­en zum Jain­is­mus und Buddhis­mus. Gedenk­s­chrift für Lud­wig Als­dorf, Alt- und Neu-Indis­­che Stud­i­en 23, Wies­baden 1981, 199–250.

21. Versen­kung­s­prax­is und erlösende Erfahrung in der Śrāvak­ab­hūmi .
In: Ger­hard Ober­ham­mer (ed.), Epi­phanie des Heils, Wien 1982, 59–85.

22. Die let­zten Seiten der Śrāvak­ab­hūmi.
In: L. A. Her­cus et al. (eds), Indo­lo­gic­al and Buddhist Stud­ies. Volume in Hon­our of Pro­fess­or J. W. de Jong on his Six­tieth Birth­day, Can­berra 1982, 457–489.

23. The Darśanamārga Sec­tion of the Abhid­harmasamuc­caya and its Inter­pret­a­tion by Tibetan Com­ment­at­ors (with Spe­cial Ref­er­ence to Bu ston Rin chen grub).
In: E. Steinkell­ner und H. Tauscher (eds), Con­tri­bu­tions on Tibetan and Buddhist Reli­gion and Philo­sophy. Pro­ceed­ings of the Csoma de Körös Sym­posi­um held at Velm-Vienna, Aus­tria, 13–19 Septem­ber 1981, Vol. 2, Wien 1983, 259–274.

24. On the Vijñap­timātra Pas­sage in Saṃd­hinir­mocanasūtra VIII.7.
In: Stud­ies of Mys­ti­cism in Hon­our of the 1150th Anniversary of Kobo-Daishi’s Nir­vāṇam, Acta Indo­lo­gica 6 (1984), 433–455.

25. Buddhis­mus und Natur.
In: R. Pan­ikkar und W. Strolz (eds), Die Ver­ant­wor­tung des Menschen für eine bewohn­bare Welt in Christ­entum, Hinduis­mus und Buddhis­mus, Freiburg/Basel/Wien 1985, 100–133.

26. Once again Mahāyānas­aṃ­graha I.8.
In: Buddhism and Its Rela­tion to oth­er Reli­gions. Essays in Hon­our of Dr. Shōzen Kumoi on his Sev­en­ti­eth Birth­day, Kyoto 1985, 139–160.

27. Crit­ic­al Response.
In: Ron­ald W. Neufeldt (ed.), Karma and Rebirth, Albany 1986, 203–230.

28. Zur Liste der 57 “kleiner­en Fehler” in der Rat­nāvalī und zum Prob­lem der Schulzuge­hörigkeit Nāgārjunas.
In: Stud­i­en zur Indo­lo­gie und Iran­istik 11/12 (1986), 203–232.

29. Beiträge zur Schulzuge­hörigkeit und Tex­t­geschichte kan­on­is­cher und postkan­on­is­cher Materialien.
In: Heinz Bech­ert (ed.), Zur Schulzuge­hörigkeit von Werken der Hīnayāna-Lit­er­­at­ur, 2. Teil, Abhand­lun­gen der Akademie der Wis­senschaften in Göt­tin­gen, philo­lo­­gisch-his­t­or­is­che Klasse, 3. Folge, Nr. 154, Göt­tin­gen 1987, 304–406.

30. Buddhism and Nature.
In: Buddhism and Nature — Pro­ceed­ings of an Inter­na­tion­al Sym­posi­um on the Occa­sion of EXPO 1990, Tokyo 1991, 22–34.

30a. Budismo y naturaleza.
In: Rev­ista de Estu­di­os Budis­tas 1 (1991), 63–85. [Span. Übers. von 30.]

31. Yogācār­ab­hūmiSopad­hikā and Nirupad­hikā Bhūmi-.
In: Papers in Hon­our of Prof. Dr. Ji Xian­lin on the Occa­sion of His 80th Birth­day, Vol. 2, Pek­ing 1991, 687–709.

32. A Note on Vas­ub­andhu and the Laṅkāvatārasūtra .
In: Études bouddhiques offertes à Jacques May, Asi­at­ische Stud­i­en 46.1 (1992), 392–397.

33. An Attempt to Estim­ate the Dis­tance in Time between Aśoka and the Buddha in Terms of Doc­trin­al History.
In: Heinz Bech­ert (ed.), The Dat­ing of the His­tor­ic­al Buddha/Die Datier­ung des his­tor­ischen Buddha, Part 2, Abhand­lun­gen der Akademie der Wis­senschaften in Göt­tin­gen, philo­lo­­gisch-his­t­or­is­che Klasse, 3. Folge, Nr. 194, Göt­tin­gen 1992, 110–147.

34. Zur Tex­t­geschichte der Pañcāg­nividyā.
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 38 (1994), 43–60.

35. On the Status of Plants in Earli­est Buddhism.
In: Buddhism into the Year 2000. Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence Pro­ceed­ings, Bangkok/Los Angeles 1994, 49–65.

36. Buddhism and Envir­on­ment­al Eth­ics. Some Reflections.
In: Buddhism into the Year 2000. Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence Pro­ceed­ings, Bangkok/Los Angeles 1994, 181–201.

37. Mensch, Tier und Pflan­ze und der Tod in den älter­en Upan­iṣaden .
In: Ger­hard Ober­ham­mer (ed.), Im Tod gewin­nt der Mensch sein Selbst. Das Phäno­men des Todes in asi­at­ischer und abendländis­cher Reli­gion, Wien 1995, 43–74.

37a. Man, Anim­als and Plants in the Rebirth Pas­sages of the Early Upan­iṣads .
In: Journ­al of the Roy­al Asi­at­ic Soci­ety of Sri Lanka, New Series 38 (1993/1994) [1995], 141–162. [modi­f­iz­ierte engl. Fas­sung von 37.]

38. Buddhism and Eco­lo­gic­al Responsibility.
In: Lawrence Surendra, Klaus Schind­ler, Prasann Ramaswamy (eds), Stor­ies they tell — A dia­logue among philo­soph­ers, sci­ent­ists and envir­on­ment­al­ists, Madras 1996, 57–75 und 83–93.

39. Buddhis­mus und Glaubenskriege.
In: Peter Her­rmann (ed.), Glaubenskriege in Ver­gan­gen­heit und Geg­en­wart, Ver­öf­fent­lichun­gen der Joachim-Jungi­us-Gesell­schaft der Wis­senschaften, Ham­burg, Nr. 83, Göt­tin­gen 1996, 63–92.

40. The Early Buddhist Tra­di­tion and Eco­lo­gic­al Ethics.
In: Journ­al of Buddhist Eth­ics 4 (1997), 1–74.

40a. Buddhis­mus und öko­lo­gis­che Ethik. Teil 1
In: Bod­hiblatt 6 (1997), 33–40; Teil 2 in: Bod­hiblatt 7 (1997), 16–24. [deutsche Fas­sung von 40.]

41. Das Jñānaprasthāna-Frag­ment SHT III 823.
In: Petra Kief­fer-Pülz und Jens-Uwe Hart­mann (eds), Bauddhavidyā sud­hākaraḥ . Stud­ies in Hon­our of Heinz Bech­ert on the Occa­sion of His 65th Birth­dayIndica et Tibet­ica 30, Swisttal-Odendorf 1997, 559–569.

42. Tier und Mensch im Buddhismus.
In: Paul Münch in Ver­bindung mit Rain­er Walz (eds), Tiere und Menschen — Geschichte und Aktu­al­ität eines prekären Ver­hält­n­isses, Pader­born 1998, 179–224. [zusam­men mit M. Maithrimurthi]

43. Das Jñānaprasthāna-Frag­ment SHT VII 1752.
In: Paul Har­ris­on u. G. Schopen (Hsg.), Sūry­acandrāya, Essays in Hon­our of Akira Yuyama. On the Occa­sion of His 65th Birth­day, Swisttal-Odendorf 1998

44. Heils­ver­mit­telnde Aspekte der Natur im Buddhismus.
In: G. Ober­ham­mer u. M. Schmück­er (Hsg.), Raum-zeit­­liche Ver­mittlung der Tran­zendenz. Zur “sakra­mentalen” Dimen­sion reli­giöser Tra­di­tion. Wien 1999

45. Aspects of the Buddhist Atti­tude towards War.
In: J. E. M. Houben u. K. R. van Koo­ij (Hsg.), Viol­ence Denied, Leiden 1999

46. A fur­ther Note on ‘Hetu­cakraḍamaru’ 8–9.

In: Journ­al of Indi­an Philo­sophy 27, 1999,79–82.


1. K. Cam­mann, Das Sys­tem des Advaita nach der Lehre Prakāśātmans.
In: Zeits­chrift der Deutschen Mor­gen­ländis­chen Gesell­schaft 117 (1967), 430–433.

2. F. Bernhard, Udānav­arga, Bd. II.
In: Ori­ens 23–24 (1970/71), 620–623.

3. R. E. Emm­er­ick, The Book of Zambasta.
In: Cent­ral Asi­at­ic Journ­al 15.1 (1971), 75–77.

4. W. Rau, Bhartṛhar­is Vākyapadīya.
In: Kratylos 23 (1978), 179–181. 5. E. Conze, The Gil­git Manu­script of the Aṣṭadaśasāhas­rikā­pra­jñāpāram­itā (Chs. 70 to 82).
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 23 (1979), 244–246.

6. E. Conze, Vajracchedikā Pra­jñāpāram­itā.
In: Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Südasi­ens 23 (1979), 246f.

7. J. F. Fisc­her (ed.), Him­alay­an Anthro­po­logy: The Indo-Tibetan Interface.
In: Mit­teilun­gen der Koordinier­ungss­telle für geg­en­warts­bezo­gene Ost- und Südasi­en­forschung der Deutschen Gesell­schaft für Ost- und Südasi­en­kunde 34 (1980), 86–90.

8. H. Bech­ert (ed.), Sanskrit-Wör­ter­­buch der buddhistischen Texte aus den Tur­­fan-Fun­­den, 1. Lieferung.
In: Zeits­chrift der Deutschen Mor­gen­ländis­chen Gesell­schaft 132 (1982), 407–411.

9. H. Bech­ert (ed.), Sanskrit-Wör­ter­­buch der buddhistischen Texte aus den Tur­­fan-Fun­­den, 2. Lieferung.
In: Zeits­chrift der Deutschen Mor­gen­ländis­chen Gesell­schaft 137 (1987), 151–157.

10. Her­man W. Tull, The Ved­ic Ori­gins of Karma. Cos­mos as Man in Ancient Indi­an Myth and Ritual.
In: Indo-Ira­n­i­an Journ­al 37 (1994), 151–158.

11. Samten Gyalt­sen Karmay, The Great Per­fec­tion (rDzogs chen).
In: Ori­ent­al­istische Lit­er­at­urzei­tung 90.3 (1995), 334–336.

Anzeigen und Kurzbesprechungen

1. N. K. Deva­raja, An Intro­duc­tion to Śank­ara’s The­ory of Know­ledge. In: Ori­ent­al­istische Lit­er­at­urzei­tung 61 (1966), 74f.

2. F. Bernhard, Udānav­arga, Bd. I. In: Ori­ens 20 (1967), 257f.

3. A. Gail, Bhakti im Bhāgavata­purāṇa . In: Zeits­chrift für Mis­sion­swis­senschaft und Reli­gion­swis­senschaft, 54 (1970), 317.

4. T. Vet­ter, Maṇḍanam­iśra’s Brah­masiddhiḥ, Brah­makāṇḍaḥ. In: Zeits­chrift der Deutschen Mor­gen­ländis­chen Gesell­schaft 122 (1972), 427f.

5. D. I. Lauf, Das Erbe Tibets. In: Zeits­chrift für Eth­no­lo­gie 98 (1973), 301f.

6. H.-D. Evers, Monks, Priests and Peas­ants. A Study of Buddhism and Social Struc­ture in Cent­ral Ceylon. In: Zeits­chrift für Eth­no­lo­gie 98 (1973), 304.

7. N. Hein, The Mir­acle Plays of Math­urā. In: Zeits­chrift für Mis­sion­swis­senschaft und Reli­gion­swis­senschaft 58 (1974), 66f.

8. P. Oliv­elle, Vāsudevāśrama, Yatid­harmaprakāśa. A Treat­ise on World Renun­ci­ation. In: Zeits­chrift für Mis­sion­swis­senschaft und Reli­gion­swis­senschaft 63 (1979), 314f.

9. L. Joshi, Stud­ies in the Buddhist­ic Cul­ture of India. In: Zeits­chrift der Deutschen Mor­gen­ländis­chen Gesell­schaft 130 (1980), 443f.

10. H. Bech­ert (ed.), Buddhism in Ceylon and Stud­ies on Reli­gious Syn­cret­ism in Buddhist Coun­tries. In: Mundus 19.3 (1983), 191.

Ver­schiedene Kur­zrezen­sion­en und Anzei­gen in der Wien­er Zeits­chrift für die Kunde Süd(- und Ost)asiens, 6 (1962)-11 (1967), 14 (1970), 15 (1971) und 20 (1976).

Contributions to Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias

1. His­tor­isches Wör­ter­buch der Philo­soph­ie, ed. J. Ritter und K. Gründer (Basel: Schwabe): “Advaita”; “Ātman”; “Avidyā”; “Brah­man”; “Māyā”; ” Nir­vāṇa ” u.a.

2. Enciclo­pe­dia Europea, Mil­ano 1976: “Buddha”; “buddhismo” (621–626).

3. Lexikon der Bioethik, Wil­helm Korff, Lutwin Beck u. Paul Mikat (eds), , Bd. 3, Gütersloh 1998: “Buddhis­mus”.


1. Paul Hack­er, Kleine Schriften. Wies­baden 1978.

2. Stud­ies in Earli­est Buddhism and Mad­hya­maka. Pan­els of the VIIth World Sanskrit Con­fer­ence, Vol. II, Leiden, 1990. [zusam­men mit D. Sey­fort Ruegg]


1. Paul Hack­er. In: Zeits­chrift der Deutschen Mor­gen­ländis­chen Gesell­schaft 131 (1981), 1–8.

2. Wolfgang Hel­ck. In: Jahresbericht 1993 der Joachim-Jungi­us-Gesell­schaft der Wis­senschaften, Ham­burg, 82–83.

Lam­bert SCHMITHAUSEN, born 17.11.1939 in Cologne, Germany.

1949–1958 high­school (Gym­nas­i­um) in Cologne.

1958–1963 study of Indo­logy, Philo­sophy and Islam­ic Stud­ies at the uni­ver­sit­ies of Bonn, Cologne and Vienna.

1963 Dr. phil. at the uni­ver­sity of Vienna.

1966 venia legendi (Habil­it­a­tion) at the uni­ver­sity of Münster.

1970 asso­ci­ate pro­fess­or for Indo­logy at the uni­ver­sity of Münster.

1973–2005 chair for Indi­an and Buddhist stud­ies at the uni­ver­sity of Hamburg.

since April 2005 pro­fess­or emer­it­us (uni­ver­sity of Hamburg).

1979 offered chair for Indo­logy at the uni­ver­sity of Mün­ster (declined).

Vis­it­ing pro­fess­or at the Aus­trali­an Nation­al Uni­ver­sity (Can­berra) 1989, at Kyoto Uni­ver­sity (1999 and 2005) and at the Inter­na­tion­al Col­lege for Post­gradu­ate Buddhist Stud­ies, Tokyo (2006, 2012). Cor­res­pond­ing mem­ber of the Aus­tri­an Academy of Sci­ences since 1996 Seni­or mem­ber of the Academy of Sci­ences in Ham­burg (foun­ded 2005).

Mar­ried since 1960 to Helga Schmithausen; 2 children.