An inter­view with

Tom Tillemans

Pos­i­tion & Affil­i­ation: Pro­fess­or Emer­it­us of Buddhist Stud­ies, Uni­ver­sity of Lausanne
Date: March 30, 2019 in Puid­oux, Switzerland
Inter­viewed by: Anna Sehnalova

Cite this archive

Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. (2021, Decem­ber 2). An inter­view with Tom Tille­mans. Retrieved 30 Janu­ary 2023, from
“An inter­view with Tom Tille­mans.” Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies, 2 Dec. 2021,
Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. 2021. An inter­view with Tom Tille­mans. [online], Avail­able at: [Accessed 30 Janu­ary 2023]
Oral His­tory of Tibetan Stud­ies. “An inter­view with Tom Tille­mans.” 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.


Additional info


2014: Bill Viola: Pas­sions (with Kath­leen Bühler), Kun­st­mu­seum Bern/Cathedral of Berne
2014: Kos­mos – Wel­tent­würfe im Ver­gleich (with Albert Lutz et al.), Museum Riet­berg Zürich/Verlag Scheide­g­ger & Spiess AG, Zürich, ISBN 978–3‑85881–451‑7
2011: Quentin Roosevelt’s China – Ances­tral Realms of the Naxi (with Christine Math­ieu and Cindy Ho), Rubin Museum of Art, New York / Arnold­sche Art Pub­lish­ers, Stuttgart
2010: Grain of Empti­ness – Buddhism-inspired con­tem­por­ary art (with Mary Jane Jac­ob) Rubin Museum of Art, New York, ISBN 978–0‑9772131–9‑1
2009: Man­dala – Sac­red Circle in Tibetan Buddhism (with Helen Abbott) Arnold­sche /Rubin Museum of Art, Stuttgart/New York, ISBN 978–3‑89790–305‑0
2005: The Vir­tu­al Man­dala – The Tibetan Book of the Dead/ Das tibet­ische Toten­buch (with Clau­dio Dal Pra), Art Adven­tures, Zürich, ISBN 3–9522726‑7–1 (part 1), ISBN 978–3‑9522726–8‑8 (part 2)
2005: Die Dalai Lamas – Tibets Reink­arna­tion­en des Bod­hisat­tva Avalokiteshvara, Arnold­sche Art Pub­lish­ers, Stut­tgart,ISBN 3–89790–219–2
2005: The Dalai Lamas – A Visu­al His­tory, Ser­in­dia, Pub­lic­a­tions, Chica­go, ISBN 1–932476–22–9
2005: Les Dalaï-Lamas – Les 14 réin­carn­a­tions du bod­hisat­tva Avalokiteshvara, Favre, Lausanne, ISBN 2–8289–0840–2
2004: Man­dala – Cercle sac­ré du bouddhisme tibé­tain, Favre, Lausanne, ISBN 2–8289–0772–4
2004: Dream­world Tibet – West­ern Illu­sions, Weath­er­hill, Trum­bu­ll, ISBN 083‑4805–464
2003: Bam­bus im alten Japan / Bam­boo in Old Japan, Arnold­sche Art Pub­lish­ers, Stut­tgart, (with Pat­riz­ia Jirka-Schmitz) ISBN 3–89790–190–0
2002: Peter Aufschnaiter’s Eight Years in Tibet, Orch­id Press, Bangkok, ISBN 974–524–012–5
2000: Traum­welt Tibet – West­liche Trug­b­ilder, Haupt, Bern-Stut­t­gart-Wien, ISBN 3–258–05639–0
2000: Deit­ies of Tibetan Buddhism – The Zürich Paint­ings of the Icons Worth­while to See (with Mar­tin Will­son), Wis­dom Pub­lic­a­tions, Boston, ISBN 0–86171–098–3
1999: Man­dala – Il cer­cio sac­ro del buddhismo tibetano, Sov­era editore, ISBN 88–8124–074–2
1998: Man­dala – Pos­vat­ny kruh tibet­ského buddhis­mu, Vol­vox Glob­at­or, Praha, ISBN 80–7207–145–9
1998: De Man­dala – De hei­lige cirkel van het Tibetaans boeddhisme, Asoka, ISBN 90 5670 021 9
1997: The Man­dala – Sac­red Circle in Tibetan Buddhism, Shambhala, Boston, ISBN 1–57062–296–5
1994: Irgend­wo in Bhutan – Wo Frauen (fast immer) das Sagen haben, Ver­lag im Waldgut, Frauen­feld, ISBN 3 7294 0202 1
1992: Das Man­dala: Der Hei­lige Kre­is im tan­trischen Buddhis­mus, DuMont, Köln, ISBN 3–7701–2509–6
1993: Anthro­po­logy of Tibet and the Him­alaya (with Charles Ramble), Eth­no­lo­gis­che Schriften Zürich, ESZ 12, Eth­no­lo­gic­al Museum of the Uni­ver­sity of Zurich, ISBN 3–909105–24–6
1984: Nepal – Leben und Über­leben, Eth­no­lo­gis­che Schriften Zürich, ESZ 2, Völkerkun­demu­seum der Uni­versität Zürich
1983: Peter Auf­schnaiter – Sein Leben in Tibet, Steiger Ver­lag, Inns­bruck, ISBN 3–85423–016–8
1982: Junge Tibeter in der Sch­weiz – Stud­i­en zum Prozess kul­tureller Iden­ti­fika­tion (with Detlef Kan­towsky), Ver­lag Rüeg­ger, Diessen­hofen, ISBN 3 7253 0169 7
1982: Frem­den-Bilder, Eth­no­lo­gis­che Schriften Zürich, ESZ 1, Völkerkun­demu­seum der Uni­versität Zürich
1980: Feste in Ladakh, Akademis­che Druck- und Ver­lag­san­stalt, Graz, ISBN 3–201–01122–3
1978: Tibetan Stud­ies, presen­ted at the Inter­na­tion­al Sem­in­ar of Young Tibet­o­lo­gists (with Per Kværne), Völkerkun­demu­seum der Uni­versität Zürich
1974: Hein­rich Harrer’s Impres­sion­en aus Tibet, Pin­guin Ver­lag, Innsbruck
1969: Tibet­ische Kunst, Tibeta 69, Bern

Curriculum Vitae for Tom J.F. Tillemans

Date of birth: Dec. 21, 1950 in Haar­lem, Holland

Cit­izen­ships: Cana­dian and Dutch

Present pos­i­tion since 1992: Pro­fess­or of Buddhist Stud­ies, Uni­ver­sity of Lausanne, Switzer­land. (After Aug. 1, 2011 Emer­it­us Pro­fess­or, Uni­ver­sity of Lausanne.)

Other positions

At vari­ous times Invited Pro­fess­or at dif­fer­ent uni­ver­sit­ies, Head of the Depart­ment of Ori­ent­al Lan­guages (Uni­ver­sity of Lausanne) and Asso­ci­ate Dean of the Fac­ulty of Letters.

University Studies

BA Hon­ours (Philo­sophy) from Uni­ver­sity of Brit­ish Columbia, Van­couver, Canada;

Licence ès lettres (Sanskrit, Chinese and Philo­sophy) Lausanne and Geneva;

Doc­tor­ate (Buddhist Stud­ies), Lausanne. Research schol­ar­ship at Hiroshi­ma Uni­ver­sity, Japan.

Research interests

Indi­an and Tibetan Buddhist logic and epi­stem­o­logy; Mad­hya­maka philo­sophy; com­par­at­ive philo­sophy; indi­gen­ous Tibetan gram­mat­ic­al lit­er­at­ure; Tibetan poetry.

Other responsibilities

1.Co-editor ( with Cristina Scher­­rer-Schaub) of the Journ­al of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­ation of Buddhist Stud­ies from 1998–2006.

2.Editor of the series Stud­ies in Indi­an and Tibetan Buddhism. Wis­dom Pub­lic­a­tions, Boston.

3. Gen­er­al Sec­ret­ary of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­ation of Buddhist Stud­ies from 20022010.

4. Pro­ject edit­or for “the 84000” (pro­ject to trans­late the Buddhist canon­ic­al lit­er­at­ure primar­ily from Tibetan sources).

Doctorate theses directed

1. John D. Dunne, Found­a­tions of Dhar­makīrti’s Epi­stem­o­logy. A Study of the

Cent­ral Issues in his Onto­logy, Logic and Epi­stem­o­logy with Par­tic­u­lar Atten­tion to the Svo­pa­jñāvṛtti , Har­vard, 1999.

2. Sara L. McClin­tock, Omni­science and the Rhet­or­ic of Reas­on in the Tat­tvas­aṃ­graha and the Tat­tvas­aṃ­gra­hapañjikā, Har­vard, 2002.

3. Vin­cent Eltschinger, Dhar­makīrti sur les Ecrit­ures et l‘Incréation des Vedas. Autour du Pramāṇavārt­tika k. 213–275 et Svavṛtti. Lausanne, 2003.

4. Ryu­sei Keira, Mad­hya­maka and Epi­stem­o­logy. A study of Kamalaśīla’s Meth­od for prov­ing the Void­ness of all Dharmas. Intro­duc­tion, Annot­ated Trans­la­tions and Tibetan Texts of Selec­ted Sec­tions of the Second Chapter of the Mad­hya­makāloka’. Lausanne, 2003.

5. Pas­cale Hugon. Trésors du rais­on­nement. Sa skya Pan­dita et ses prédé­ces­seurs tibé­tains sur les modes de fonc­tion­nement de la pensée et le fondement de l’in­férence. Edi­tion et tra­duc­tion annotée du quat­rième chapitre du Tshad ma rigs pa’i gter et d’une por­tion de la sec­tion ini­tiale du dixième chapitre. Lausanne, 2005.

6. Toru Tomabe­chi, Etude du Pañcakrama.Introduction et tra­duc­tion annotée. Lausanne, 2006.