About

Hello! My name is Dee Emerson Douglas Osto (a.k.a. Dee, Douglas Osto, D.E. Osto, Doug; pronouns: they/them). I am a parent, author, scholar, artist, Buddhist practitioner, martial artist, and nonbinary bodhisattva, who teaches WIN_20200927_12_55_39_Pro (3)Asian Philosophy at Massey University in New Zealand, and offers private instruction as a mindfulness coach,  hypnotherapist, and counsellor. I have a wide range of academic and personal interests such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Asian philosophies and religions, meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, psychotherapy, altered states of consciousness, and martial arts. In my free time, I enjoy relaxing with my partner and five children, training in Kung Fu, hiking and running. In addition to my academic writing, I self-publish books on meditation, self-help, fiction, and translations of Buddhist and Hindu texts.

For more about me, see the “Autobiographical Sketch” on H-Buddhism, or my interview with Chris Kelley here.

Academic Qualifications:

2004 PhD in the Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Dissertation: “The Gaṇḍavyūha-sūtra: a study of wealth, gender and power in an Indian Buddhist narrative.”

1999 MA in Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington

Thesis: “A Study and Translation of the Samantabhadracaryapranidhanam (prose) of the Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra.”

1995 Master of Theological Studies (MTS) in World Religions, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University

1991 BA (Honors) in Religious Studies, Grinnell College

Area of Specialization:
Comparative religion, contemporary Buddhist practice, Mahayana Buddhism, South Asian religions, Asian philosophies, Hinduism, religion and altered states of consciousness.

Current Research:

My current book project has the working title of Contemporary Buddhist Tales of the Paranormal. Using online survey data and in-depth interviews, I investigate stories about paranormal experiences (psi phenomena, precognition, Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences, apparitional encounters, etc.) by contemporary Buddhists throughout the world, and compare these to accounts in traditional Buddhist sources in Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan. I contextualize the study within the current scientific research on the paranormal and investigate the philosophical implications for a new ontology of consciousness.

Selected Academic Publications:

An Indian Tantric Tradition and its Modern Global Revival: Contemporary Nondual Śaivism, New York and London: Routledge, 2020.

An Indian Tantric Tradition and its Modern Global Revival

Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America, New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.

Power, Wealth and Women in Indian Mahayana Buddhism: The Gandavyuha-sutra, London: Routledge, 2008.

Articles & Book Chapters

  • “Altered States and the Origins of the Mahāyāna,” in  Setting Out on the Great Way: Essays on Early Mahāyāna Buddhism, edited by Paul Harrison (Sheffield: Equinox, 2018), pp. 177-205.
  • “No-Self in Sāṃkhya: A Comparative Look at Classical Sāṃkhya and Theravāda Buddhism,” Philosophy East and West  68.1 (January 2018): 201-222.
  • “Merit” in The Buddhist World, edited by John Powers (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 351-366.
  • “Orality, Authority and Conservatism in the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras,” in Dialogue in Early South Asian Religions, edited by Laurie Patton and Brian Black (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 115-135.
  • “A New Translation of the Bhadracarī with Introduction and Notes,” New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 12.2 (December 2010): 1–23.
  • “The Supreme Array Scripture: A new interpretation of the title ‘Gandavyūha-sūtra’,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 37.3 (June 2009): 273–290.
  • “‘Proto-Tantric’ Elements in the Gandavyūha-sūtra Sūtra,”Journal of Religious History 33.2 (June 2009): 165–177.
  • “Soteriology, Asceticism and the Female Body in Two Indian Buddhist Narratives,” Buddhist Studies Review 23.2 (2006): 203–220.

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