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PhD position in Buddhist Studies


Khyentse Foundation announces the availability of support for a 4-year PhD position at Leiden University in Buddhist Studies. The successful candidate will carry out research on a theme in Buddhist Studies under the supervision of Prof. dr. Jonathan A. Silk.


Buddhist Studies at Leiden University focuses in the first place on Indian Buddhism, and on preparing scholars to edit, translate and study Buddhist scriptures, chiefly Mahāyāna sūtras. Although any topic within Buddhist Studies is possible, preference will be given to candidates who wish to focus on an area of special interest to Prof. Silk, which normally might include work on an edition and critical study of one or more Mahāyāna sūtras. However, other approaches will be considered, and if you are interested, by all means apply with your idea for another type of project.


The successful applicant will have high level knowledge of the relevant Buddhist languages, optimally Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit.


Key responsibilities


Selection Criteria


The Leiden Situation

The Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden’s historic city centre and in modern buildings in The Hague.  For more information:


The PhD candidate will work in the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies ( LIAS is comprised of a School of Asian Studies and a School of Middle-Eastern Studies, with international staff and student populations. Current staff  in LIAS has expertise in the fields of Anthropology, Archaeology, Art Studies, Buddhist Studies, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Language Pedagogy, Law, Linguistics, Literary Studies, Material Culture Studies, Performance Studies, Philology, Philosophy, Political Economy, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Visual Culture Studies.


Prof. Silk currently heads an ERC-funded project called "Open Philology," ( aimed at creating digital tools for the study of Buddhist scriptures, in the first place the Mahāratnakūṭa collection of 49 sūtras. His team at present comprises 3 post-doctoral fellows, a programmer, and 2 PhD students, along with other PhD students not employed by the project. The overall environment is a vital and active one.


Terms and conditions of Support

Khyentse Foundation offers financial support for 4 years of study, with continuation of funding after the first year, and every subsequent year, contingent on good progress toward the PhD degree. Such progress will be determined at the sole discretion of Prof. Silk.


Financial support is offered in the amount of €25,000 per annum. Any taxes or other costs are solely the responsibility of the student. Students must purchase their own insurance. Payment will be made at the beginning of each year of study. Study may begin at any point in the year, but Leiden semesters begin in September and February, and the position would optimally begin 1 September.


Leiden University offers access to its libraries and an email account, but no guaranteed work space. Flex desks are available on a first-come first-served basis. We may be able to offer assistance in locating housing.



Queries can be directed to Jonathan Silk, email:



Applications should be sent as soon as possible. Consideration will begin on 15 March 2020, and continue until a candidate is selected. Applications should be in English, and be submitted directly to Prof. Silk at:

Please ensure that you include in a single PDF document named ‘FAMILY NAME – Given name:


J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
The Netherlands

copies of my publications may be found at