Ann Heirman

Contact details

Director of the Centre for Buddhist Studies

Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Ghent University
Blandijnberg 2
5th floor, office 150.008
B-9000 Gent

Tel. +32 - 9 - 264 41 56
Fax. +32 - 9 - 264 41 94

Biographical information

Ann Heirman, Ph.D. (1998) in Oriental Languages and Cultures, is Professor at Ghent University (Belgium), where she is teaching Classical and Buddhist Chinese. She has published extensively on Chinese Buddhist monasticism and the development of disciplinary rules, including Rules for Nuns according to the Dharmaguptakavinaya (Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 2015), A Pure Mind in a Clean Body, Bodily Care in the Buddhist Monasteries of Ancient India and China (Academia Press, Ghent, 2012, with Mathieu Torck) and The Spread of Buddhism (edited volume with Stephan Peter Bumbacher, Brill, Leiden, 2007). At Ghent University, she is president of the Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies, an international research centre that focuses on India and China.

Academic career

  • Ph.D. (1998) Oriental Languages and Cultures, Ghent University
  • Research Assistant of the Fund of Scientific Research Flanders (1994-1998)
  • Assistant Professor Oriental Languages and Cultures, Ghent University (1998-2003)
  • Professor Oriental Languages and Cultures, Ghent University (2003 - ...)
  • Member of the Belgian Association for the Study of Religions (Babel)

Research field

My main research field is vinaya and the history of Buddhist monasticism.

Research projects

Project on "Institutional organisation of Buddhist Nunneries in China, between Past and Present"

Promotor of the following PhD's

Current Phd students:

* Chin-yin Chang: ‘Equilibrium – An Empirical Study of Buddhist Monastic Practices in Taiwan: Master Chan Yun’s Eight Precepts’

* Tzu-lung Chiu: ‘Institutional Organization of Buddhist Nunneries’

* Yongbin Dai: ‘Legends of Aśoka and Kunāla, Spreading from India to China and the Hellenistic World’

* Sakda Hemthep: 'Ordination in vinaya texts'

* Anna Sokolova: 'Buddhist literature in the Tang dynasty' (co-supervisor prof. Bart Dessein)

* Ang Zou: 'Mahayanization of the Dharmaguptakavinaya'

Defended PhD's:

* Tom De Rauw: ‘Beyond Buddhist Apology: The Political Use of Buddhism by Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty (r.502-549)’, defended August 25, 2008

* Esther-Maria Guggenmos: ‘"I believe in Buddhism and Travelling", On the Attractiveness of Denoting Oneself a Lay Buddhist in Contemporary Urban Taiwan. An Analysis of Lay Buddhist Self-construction within the Context of Social Change and Buddhist Reformatory Efforts based on Narrative Biographical Interviews’, defended May 18, 2010

* Evelien Vandenhaute: ‘Animal symbolism in eighteenth-century Chinese fantastic literature : Yuan Mei and the writing of Zi Bu Yu’, defended June 18, 2010

* Jian Sun: ‘The Fengzeng System in Song China’, joint PhD, defended Beijing Normal University, Beijing, June 6, 2011 (co-supervisor: prof. You Biao (Beijing Normal University))

* Gudrun Pinte: ‘Lost in translation, a case study of Saṅghabhadra’s Shanjian lü piposha (T.1462)’, defended December 2, 2011

* Tobias Wissler: ‘Good Accounts Make Good Friends: Economic Aspects of Temple Investment Projects in Nineteenth-Century South China’ , defended December 12, 2011

* Julia Schneider: ‘Ethnicity and Sinicization: the Theory of Assimilative Power in the Making of the Chinese Nation-State (1900s-1920s), defended February 4, 2013 (joint PhD Göttingen University; co-supervisors prof. Eric Vanhaute (Ghent Universiy) and Axel Schneider (Göttingen University))

* Ivana Buljan: ‘Elements of the Syncretist Tradition in the CQFL’s Chapters on the Theory of Rulership’, defended July 22, 2013, Zagreb (joint PhD Zagreb University, co-supervisor: prof. Bart Dessein (Ghent University) and prof. Jana Rosker (Zagreb University))

* Claire Maes: ‘Dialogues within the Pāli Vinaya. A Research into the Dynamics and Dialectics of the Pāli Vinaya’s Ascetic other, with a Special Focus on the Jain Ascetic other’, defended July 10, 2015


For a complete bibliography, click here