Alexander J. O'Neill
I am a scholar, writer, and translator. Currently, I am a researcher at the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. I have a broad range of interests, including Sanskrit Buddhist texts and manuscripts from South Asia, especially Nepal. I have a passion for Newar Buddhism and the Newar language and culture. In addition, I am interested broadly in Mahāyāna Buddhism, ranging from Sanskrit and Newar literature to Chinese and Japanese Buddhist texts and practices.
PhD in Religion, University of Toronto (Title of Doctoral Thesis: "Pustaka Pūjā: A study of Sūtra Worship in Mahāyāna Buddhism").
MA in Religion, University of Toronto (Title of Magistral Thesis, “Thresholds Within”).
Hons. BA with High Distinction, Specialist in the History of Religions and Minor in Philosophy, University of Toronto.
Areas of Academic Specialty
Mahāyāna Buddhism; Newar Buddhism; Sanskrit, Newar, Chinese, and Japanese Buddhist literature; Buddhist book worship; Anthropology and Ethnography; Ritual Studies; Materiality studies and agency; Paratextual studies.
Current Areas of Research
Researcher on the SOAS, University of London and Cambridge University research project "The Emergence of Egophoricity: a diachronic investigation into the marking of the conscious self" a UKRI funded project on egophoricity markers over time in Tibetan and Newar. Principal investigator: Nathan Hill. Co-investigator: Marieke Meelen. Fellow researcher: Christian Faggionato.
The Newar Online Dictionary project, based at the University of Toronto and the University of Virginia.
The life and works of Niṣṭhānanda Vajrācārya.
Various topics in Prajñāpāramitā and Mahāyāna studies.
The Great Collection Sūtra: A Translation of the Mahāsaṃnipāta Sūtra. Vol. 1. Translator, together with Dharmacakṣus Āloka and Charles Patton. London: Dharmakāya Books, 2023.
"Later Mahāyāna References to Book Worship." Annual of the Institute for Comprehensive Studies of Buddhism, Taishō University, no. 42 (2020): 115–131.
"Self-Referential Passages as a Characteristic of Mahāyāna Sūtras." Pacific World 4, no. 1 (2020): 41–57.
"Textual Manifestations: The Use and Significance of the Mahāyāna Literature in Newar Buddhism." European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 53 (2019/2020): 36–65.