Professional and Biographical Information

Scholarly Interests

I am interested in the intellectual, philosophical, religious, and literary history of ancient India and I teach courses in these areas, with a particular emphasis on Buddhism. I work in two classical Indian languages, Sanskrit and Pali. My current projects are focused on emotions in classical Indian thought across many genres, and I am translating the Milindapanha for the Murty Classical Library of India. I have also worked a great deal on the 5th century Theravada thinker Buddhaghosa.

My most recent book is Words for the Heart: A Treasury of Classical Indian Emotions. This book is of interest to scholars and more general readers -- anyone who is interested in emotions and how we talk about them. The Seminary Coop Bookstore in Chicago has listed it as one of their top ten "notables" of 2022

See also this review:



Harvard University — Ph.D. in Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, 1999

Reed College — B.A. in Interdisciplinary Philosophy and Religion, 1991

Selected Publications


The Questions of Milinda (Milindapanha), translated by Maria Heim. Harvard University Press, Murty Classical Library of India. In progress. On MCLI see:

Words for the Heart: A Treasury of Emotions from Classical India. Princeton University Press, 2022 ( 

The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Emotions in Classical Indian Philosophy, edited by Maria Heim, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, and Roy Tzohar. London: Bloomsbury, 2021.

Buddhist Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Elements in Philosophy Series, 2020.

Voice of the Buddha: Buddhaghosa on the Immeasurable Words. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018

The Forerunner of All Things: Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention, and Agency. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Theories of the Gift in South Asia: Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Reflections on Dāna. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Peer Reviewed Articles (some of these are available below)

"Emotions in Ancient and Classical India," in the Routledge Handbook of Emotion Theory, edited by Andrea Scarantino, forthcoming. 

"The Dhammasaṅganī and Vibhaṅga: The Perfectly-Awakened Buddha and the First Abhidhammikas," in the Routledge Handbook of Indian Buddhist Philosophy, edited by William Edelglass, Pierre-Julien Harter, and Sara McClintock. Routledge, 2022.

"Taking Refuge in Jewels," in Jewels, Jewelry, and Other Shiny Things in the Buddhist Imaginary, edited by Vanessa Sasson. Honolulu: University of Hawa'ii Press, 2021. 

“Some Analyses of Feeling,” in The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Emotions in Classical Indian Philosophy, edited by Maria Heim, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, and Roy Tzohar, 2021: 87-105.

“In a Double Way: Nāma-rūpa in Buddhaghosa’s Phenomenology,” co-authored with Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad. Philosophy East and West, 2018 68.4: 1085-1115.

“The ‘Fecundity of Dialogue’ and the Philosophy of ‘Incompletion’.” Buddhist Spiritual Practices: Thinking with Pierre Hadot on Buddhism, Philosophy, and the Path, edited by David Fiordalis. Berkeley: Mangalam Press, 2018: 181-214.

“Emotions.” The Oxford History of Hinduism: Hindu Law, edited by Patrick Olivelle and Donald R. Davis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017: 419-431.

“Visuddhimagga/Buddhaghosa.” Oxford Bibliographies for Buddhism, ed. Richard Payne, et. al. Oxford, 2017.

“Buddhaghosa on the Phenomenology of Love and Compassion.” The Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy, edited by Jonardon Ganeri. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017: 171-189.

“She Who Heard Much: Notes on Receiving, Interpreting, and Transmitting Buddhavacana.” International Journal of Hindu Studies, 2015.

“Recent Work in Moral Anthropology,” co-authored with Anne Monius. Journal of Religious Ethics 2014, 42.2: 385-92.

“Mind in Theravāda Buddhism.” Blackwell Companion to Buddhist Philosophy, ed. Steven Emmanuel (Wiley Blackwell, 2013): 377-94.

“Shame and Apprehension: Notes on the Moral Value of Hiri and Ottappa." Embedded Languages: Studies in the Religion, Culture, and History of Sri Lanka, edited by Carol S. Anderson, Susanne Mrozik, W. M. Wijeratna, and R. M. W. Rajapaksha. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Godage Books (2012): 237-260.

“Buddhist Ethics: A Review Essay.” Journal of Religious Ethics (2011): 39.3: 571-584.

“The Nature of the Beast: Hatred in Comparative Religious and Philosophical Perspective.” Co-authored with Diana Cates, Keith Green, and Joel Gereboff. Journal for the Society of Christian Ethics. (2009): 29, 2:175.

“The Conceit of Self-Loathing.” Journal of Indian Philosophy (2009): 37:61-74.

“Buddhism.” The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion, ed. John Corrigan. Oxford University Press. Oxford (2007): 17-34.

“Dāna as a Moral Category.” Indian Ethics: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges, ed. by Purushottama Bilimoria, Ashgate (2007): 191-209.

“Toward a ‘Wider and Juster Initiative’: Recent Comparative Work in Buddhist Ethics.” Religion Compass, Blackwell (2006): vol. I, 1-13.

“Differentiations in Indian/Hindu Ethics.” The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics, ed. William Schweiker. Malden, MA: Blackwell, (2005): 341-354.

“The Aesthetics of Excess." Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 71.3 (2003): 531-554.

“The Ethics of Esteem.” Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 7 (2000): 26-42.

“Saving Them From Yourself: An Inquiry into the South Asian Gift of Fearlessness.” Journal of Religious Ethics, Fall (1999): 437-462.

“The Author Replies” (a rejoinder to Ariel Glucklich). Journal of Religious Ethics, Fall (1999): 471-475.

Awards, Fellowships, and Distinctions

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 2005-2006

Amherst College, Senior Sabbatical Fellowships, 2008-9; 2012;2017; 2020

Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lecture, Amherst College, April 14, 2005

Amherst College, Faculty Research Award Program, 2005

American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies, Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Research Abroad, 2000

Charlotte W. Newcombe, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Religion and Ethics 1997-98

Fulbright Student Grant (IIE), Study in India, 1996-97

Current Scholarly and Professional Activities

Murty Classical Library of India, Editorial Board

Journal of Religious Ethics, Associate Editor