Jonathan C. Gold is Professor in the Department of Religion and Director of the Center for Culture, Society and Religion. A scholar of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, he is especially interested in Buddhist approaches to meaning, ethics, language and learning. He is the author of The Dharma’s Gatekeepers: Sakya Paṇḍita on Buddhist Scholarship in Tibet (2007) and Paving the Great Way: Vasubandhu’s Unifying Buddhist Philosophy (2015) as well as numerous articles, including recently “Wholesome Mind Ethics: A Buddhist Paradigm” in the Journal of Value Inquiry and the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries on Vasubandhu and Sakya Paṇḍita. He is co-editor, with Douglas S. Duckworth, of Readings of Śāntideva’s Guide to Bodhisattva Practice (Bodhicaryāvatāra) (2019). In his current work he is developing a Buddhist approach to politics and social thought.
ABC Religion & Ethics, “Trump’s karma, and ours”:
Conference Talk “What Use is Buddhist Philosophy? Constructing the Path for Academia,”
Numata Symposium on Buddhist Philosophy: The State of the Field, University of California, Berkeley, September 2019.
Co-presenting with Elaine Pagels at the Aspen Ideas Festival 2019 on the topic of ‘Jesus, Buddha, and the Search for Meaning’:
Opinion piece in Sightings, “Was it Kavanaugh’s Guilty Conscience, or His Karma?”:
Panel on “Approaches to Translation & Transmission”
2017 Tsadra Foundation Conference on Tibetan Translation
Interview with Robert Wright on “The Wright Show”, meaningoflife.tv:
Interview with Ronney Mourad on “Ultimate Concerns” Podcast:
Courses – Spring 2022
REL 281: Buddhist Philosophy
(EM) Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit Total Course Enrollment no limit
Professor(s): Jonathan Gold
11:00am -11:50am TTH Lecture/Precept
Traditions Stream Requirement: Religions of Asia
An introduction to the Indian Buddhist philosophical tradition from the time of the Buddha until its decline (c. 400 B.C.E – 1200 C.E.). Topics include Buddhism’s view of the world, the person, and the path to nirvana; equanimity, compassion and meditation as core elements in Buddhist ethics; early Buddhist metaphysics; the doctrine of “emptiness” and its various interpretations in the Great Vehicle schools; Buddhist epistemology and philosophy of language; and modern attempts to apply Buddhist philosophy to contemporary philosophical issues.
REL 517: Religion and Public Life
Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit Total Enrollment 10
Professor(s): Jonathan Gold
12:00pm – 1:20pm T
Presentation and critical discussion of research in progress by participants, dealing with the social scientific study of religion, religion and public policy, and religion and contemporary social issues. Note: REL 517 (fall) and REL 517 (spring) constitute this year-long workshop. In order to receive credit and/or a grade, students must take the course both semesters.