Dr. Jan-Ulrich Sobisch

Bild von Jan-Ulrich Sobisch

Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung "Schicksal, Freiheit und Prognose. Bewältigungsstrategien in Ostasien und Europa"
Hartmannstr. 14
91052 Erlangen

IKGF Visiting Fellow May 2017 – October 2017

(Last change of profile by end of stay)

IKGF Research Project:

The Dice Divination of the Tibetan Protectress A phyi Chos kyi sgrol ma

Curriculum Vitae

I have studied Tibetology as my major at Hamburg University (1985-1992, Prof. Seyfort Ruegg), alongside Classical Indology (1986-1992, Profs. Schmithausen and Wezler), and Philosophy (1990-1992, Prof. Schnädelbach). During my dissertation (Prof. David Jackson), I worked on a genre of Tibetan literature that debates theories of simultaneously practising without conflicts and within a single mental continuum the ethics and vows of sravakas, bodhisattvas and mantra adepts. During these period (1994-1999) I also worked part-time on the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project for Prof. Wezler, during which I discovered, among the microfilms made available to us, the 30-volume complete works of A mes zhabs (1597-1659), one of the most prolific Tibetan writers on history and mantra. This enabled me to obtain two stipends from the German Research Council (DFG) that enabled me to study the manuscripts of A mes zhabs' works (leading to the publication of a catalogue and study) and his documents of transmission (gsan yig or thob yig). The latter project I passed on to a successor when I accepted the position of assistant professor in Copenhagen. Within A mes zhabs' works, I found numerous writings on the Hevajra Tantra and the connected Path with Its Fruits cycle (lam 'bras). These I researched in my early years in Copenhagen, leading to the publication of a study of the Indian and Tibetan literatures of these teachings. In 2006, I received tenure in Copenhagen and devoted extended effort into building a study program for Tibetan that included classical, Buddhist, and modern studies. My research over the past ten years has focused on the early 'Bri gung bKa' brgyud pas and their unique dGongs gcig, a text that had a tremendous impact on the formation of the bKa' brgyud pas from the 13th c. onwards. My monograph on this work is accepted for publication in the Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Studies Series of Wisdom Publications. Unfortunately, the Danish government initiated a series of dramatic budget cuts that resulted in the dismissal of over 500 individuals from the University of Copenhagen. In order to save the larger programs, like Chinese and Religious Studies, my institute leadership decided to sacrifice the smaller subjects like Tibetan, Sanskrit and Thai Studies, and my tenure was ended, with six month's notice, in February, 2016. In the same year, I was granted the Humboldt Research Award in recognition of my overall research achievements to date.

Selected Publications


The Buddhas' SINGLE INTENTION by Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön with the commentary LIGHT OF THE SUN by the first Chungtsang Rinpoche Rigdzin Chökyi Dragpa, translated in cooperation with the Ven. Khenpo Rangdrol, (Indian and Tibetan Studies Series), Boston: Wisdom Publications (forthcoming).
2008 Hevajra and Lam-'bras Literature of India and Tibet as Seen Through the Eyes of A-mes-zhabs (Contributions to Tibetan Studies 6), Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.
2007 Life, Transmissions, and Works of A-mes-zhabs Ngag-dbang-kun-dga'-bsod-nams, the Great 17th Century Sa-skya-pa Bibliophile (Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, VOHD, Supplementband 38), Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.
2002 Three-Vow Theories in Tibetan Buddhism: A Comparative Study of Major Traditions from the Twelfth Through Nineteenth Centuries (Contributions to Tibetan Studies 1), Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.

Books Edited

2015 Dorje Sherab: Illuminator, a Light of Gnosis: The Great Commentary on the Single Intention, The Manuscript at the Musée Guimet in Paris brought to France by Alexandra David-Néel, München: Edition Garchen Stiftung.
2014 (co-edited with Jörg B. Quenzer and Dmitry Bondarev) Manuscript Cultures: Mapping the Field, (Studies in Manuscript Cultures 1), Berlin: De Gruyter.
2014 (co-edited with C. Sommerschuh) Funkensprühen des kostbaren Vajra: Der Lebensweg der völligen Befreiung des Dharmaherrn Jigten Sumgön, mit der Biografie des Verfassers "Donnerklang des Ruhms", München: Edition Garchen Stiftung.
2014 (co-edited with C. Jürgens) Ein Meer von Nektar: Die entscheidenden Punkte für eine Klausur in den Bergen, von Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön, München: Edition Garchen Stiftung.