Author, scholar and Buddhist practitioner, Douglas Osto teachesdoug.wedding.1 Asian Philosophy at Massey University, New Zealand. He also offers private instruction as a mindfulness coach,  hypnotherapist, and spiritual consultant. Doug has 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 his free time, he enjoys relaxing with his partner Krystal and his five children, training in Kung Fu, hiking and running. In addition to his academic writing, he self-publishes books on meditation, self-help and translations of Buddhist and Hindu texts.

For more about Doug, see his “Autobiographical Sketch” on H-Buddhism.

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:

Doug is currently carrying out a study investigating accounts of paranormal phenomena reported by contemporary Buddhists throughout the world. Inspired in part by the recent publication of the book Mind Beyond Brain: Buddhism, Science and the Paranormal by David Presti, et alia (Columbia University Press, 2018), Doug aims to write a monograph that will complement the research in this book.

 Doug would like to invite anyone interested to participate in this research by filling out an anonymous online questionnaire.

The questionnaire can be accessed by clicking on this link: 



Selected Academic Publications:

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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