Vincent Tournier - Curriculum Vitae



Vincent Tournier's research is concerned with the development of Indian Buddhist doctrines and practices, especially in the first half of the first millenium A.D. He is working especially on Vinaya texts, narrative litterature, and Mahāyānasūtras in Sanskrit and Middle-Indic. As a historian, he makes use of manuscripts and epigraphical materials spanning from the first centuries of the Christian era to the late medieval period.

His main research topics include the conceptions pertaining to the models of human perfection, the processes of scriptural formation and authentication, as well as the literary motives pertaining to the preservation and transmission of the Dharma.

He is now working as post-doctoral fellow within the VICI project “Buddhism and Social Justice” directed by Prof. Jonathan Silk, and is especially exploring the conceptions and expressions of hierarchy within the Indian and Sri Lankan monastic milieux.

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Vincent Tournier studied History of Religions, Anthropology and Sanskrit at the University of Strasbourg, where in 2005 he obtained a MA in Sciences of Antiquity. He afterwards joined the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris) for his PhD training, under the supervision of Prof. Cristina A. Scherrer-Schaub. In 2008, he was granted a Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, for a research stay at the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology (Tōkyō), and in 2009 he obtained a Gonda Fellowship for a stay as affiliated research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (Leiden). He was also awarded in 2011 a prize from the Treilles Foundation. In 2012, Tournier defended his thesis on The formation of the Mahāvastu and the development of the conceptions pertaining to the bodhisattva and his career (in French).

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Forthcoming (a) “The Elder Mahākāśyapa, His Orthodox Lineage, and the Wish for Buddhahood: Reading anew the Bodhgayā Inscriptions of Mahānāman”. Indo-Iranian Journal

Forthcoming (b) “Protective verses for travellers: a fragment of the Diśāsauvastika-gāthās related to the scriptures of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādins.” In: Buddhist manuscripts, volume IV, ed. by Jens Braarvig. Oslo: Hermes Publishing (Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection).


2012 (a) “The Mahāvastu and the Vinayapitaka of the Mahāsāmghika-Lokottaravādins,” Annual Report of the International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology 15: 87–104. 
View/download (PDF, 313 Kb)

2012 (b) “Matériaux pour une histoire de la légende et du culte de Mahākāśyapa: une relecture d’un fragment inscrit retrouvé à Silao (Bihār) [Materials for a history of the legend and cult of Mahākāśyapa: a new reading of an inscribed fragment found in Silao (Bihār)]”. In: Autour de Bāmiyān. De la Bactriane hellénisée à l'Inde bouddhique, ed. Guillaume Ducœur. p. 375-413. Paris: De Boccard.

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Recent papers and lectures

April 15, 2013 “Aspiring to Buddhahood in 4th to 6th century India: Remarks on the Epigraphic Evidence,” Empires of Faith: South Asia as a Field of Global Religious Interaction from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages, Workshop organized by the Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe”, Ruhr Universität Bochum, April 15–16, 2013.

April 12, 2013 “Protective Verses for Travellers: Notes on a Leather Fragment of the Diśāsauvastika-gāthās recovered from the Bāmiyān Region,” Buddhist Manuscript Culture: Textuality and Materiality, Workshop at the Faculty of Asian Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge, April 12–13, 2013.

June 19, 2012 "Dynastic ideology and the development of the Bodhisattva path," Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Documentation of Inner and South Asian Cultural History, University of Vienna.

June 18, 2012 "Buddha lineages and the iconography of Bāmiyān: A few remarks," Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Documentation of Inner and South Asian Cultural History, University of Vienna.

May 15, 2012 "The 'Extended Canon' of the Mahāsāmghika-Lokottaravādins," Centre for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University. View online

May 4, 2012 "The formation of the Mahāvastu and the development of conceptions pertaining to the bodhisattva and his career," Kharosthī Klub, University of Washington, Seattle.

June 22, 2011 "The Mahāvastu and the Vinaya collection of the Mahāsāmghika-Lokottaravādins: A reassessment", 16th Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS), Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Jinshan, New Taipei City, June 20–25, 2011.

July 28, 2010 "Reading anew the Parinirvāna Narrative introducing the Daśabhūmika of the Mahāvastu (I.63–78)", Second International Workshop on the Mahāparinirvāna-sūtra, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, July 27–29, 2010.

March 19, 2010 "Un lignage monastique et ses aspirations religieuses dans un groupe d'inscriptions de Bodhgayā des Vème–VIème s. apr. J.-C.", Vème Journée 'Monde indien', UMR 7528 – Mondes iranien et indien, Paris.

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