Leonard Zwilling was born in New York City in 1945. He studied Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan language with Geshe Wangyal at Labsum Shedrub Ling in FreewoodAcres, New Jersey (1967-1969) and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Indian Studies in 1970, going on to receive a masters degree in Hindu Studies (1972), and a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies (1976), also at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His doctoral dissertation, on the theory of apoha in Buddhist logic, was done under the direction of Prof. Geshe Lhundub Sopa. He did pre-doctoral research in Sri Lanka (1973-74) and in Nepal (1975-76), under Ford Foundation and Fulbright-Hayes scholarships respectively.
From 1977-83 Dr. Zwilling taught Asian Religions, Sanskrit and Tibetan at the University of Wisconsin (Madison and Milwaukee), Gustavus Adolphus College, Western Illinois University, and Beloit College.
He received a masters in library science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985, and from 1986-2009 was General Editor (and Bibliographer until 2004) at the Dictionary of American Regional English in the Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is presently Senior Scientist Emeritus.
Dr. Zwilling has published research in a number of fields (see below), including pioneering work on the history of sexuality in ancient India. Since 2005 his research has centered on Ippolito Desideri and the Catholic missions to Tibet, and he is currently working with Michael Sweet on a new and complete English translation of Desideri’s Notizie Istoriche del Tibet.
Selected Publications and Presentations
Translator of chapters on Chinese Buddhism and non-Buddhist religions and Mongolian Buddhism in Thuken Losang Chökyi Nyima, The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems: A Tibetan Study of Asian Religious Thought, Geshé Lhundub Sopa (trans.), Roger R. Jackson (ed.) (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2009), 351-380.
(In preparation) with Michael Sweet, editor and co-translator of Ippolito Desideri, S.J., A Detailed Account of Tibet, anticipated publication 2010 (Wisdom Publications, Boston).
“To Go Where Fr. Andrade Had Been. Another View of the Desideri Mission” Fifteenth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Emory University, Atlanta GA, June, 2008.
with Robert Thurman et al., co-translator of The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature by Maitreyanantha/Asanga (New York: AIBS, 2004).
“Divining Loyalties: Tuken on Chinese Divination in Tibetan Tradition”, 32d Conference On South Asia, Madison WI, Oct. 2003.
with Geshe Sopa and Michael Sweet, Peacock in the Poison Grove, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001.
with Michael Sweet. “The Evolution of Third Sex Constructs in Ancient India: A Study in Ambiguity”, Invented Identities: The Interplay of Gender, Religion and Politics in India, Ed. Julia Leslie. New Delhi, New York: Oxford UP, 2000: 99–132.
“Avoidance and Exclusion: Same-Sex Sexuality in Indian Buddhism.” Queer Dharma. Ed. Winston Leyland, San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1998.
with Michael Sweet. “ ‘Like a City Ablaze’: The Third Sex and the Creation of Sexuality in Jain Religious Literature”, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 6 (1996): 359–84.
“Vadava—Male Mare or Just Plain Horse?”, 24th Conference on South Asia, Madison WI, Oct. 1995.
A TAD Lexicon. Etymology and Linguistic Principles, 3 (1993).
with Michael Sweet, “The First Medicalization: The Taxonomy and Etiology of Queerness in Classical Indian Medicine”, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 3 (1993): 590–607.
“Mongolian Xylographs in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries”, Mongolia Society Bulletin, 9 (1986): 5–11.
Tibetan Blockprints in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries, Occasional Papers of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries, No. 5, 1985.
“Saskya Pandita’s Version of Pramanavarttikam III.3: A Case Study on the Influence of Exegesis Upon Translation in Tibet”, Studies in Indian Philosophy, Ed. Dalsukh Malvania and Nagin Shah, Ahmadabad: L. D. Institute of Indology, 1981: 304–14.
“The Visesastava of Udbhattasiddhasvamin”, Studies in Pali and Buddhism, Ed. A. K. Narain, Delhi: B. R. Publishing, 1979: 402–14.
“The Story of Vyasa and Kasisundari”, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 1.1 (1978): 65–70.
“Some Aspects of Dharmakirti’s Ontology Reconsidered”, Kailash: A Journal of Himalayan Studies, 3.3 (1975): 303–13.
[Drawn up in July 2009]