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Daniel Hirshberg - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Daniel Hirshberg Daniel Hirshberg

Assistant Professor of Religion | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Hirshberg specializes in Tibetan Buddhism.



Daniel Hirshberg Publication







Daniel A Hirshberg is an Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Mary Washington specializing in Tibetan Buddhism. He earned a Ph.D. in Inner Asian and Altaic Studies in 2012 from Harvard University and now teaches courses on Tibetan Buddhism, Asian Religions and Contemplative Studies at the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as the Director of the Contemplative Studies Program and Associate Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Tibetan Buddhism

Contemplative/Meditation Studies

History of Religion


Religious Studies

Accomplishments (14)

Jepson Fellow (professional)

Awarded annually by the University of Mary Washington to junior faculty members to assist in research projects. Professor Hirshberg received the fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year for his project, “Analyzing, Translating, and Teaching the Renowned Testament of the Lotus-Born from Tibet.”

Project Director (professional)

Japan Foundation Institutional Project Support Small Grant ($21,535), 2017.

Professional Development Award (professional)

Research incentive grant awarded by the University of Mary Washington, 2016.

Innovation Grant, President’s Technology Advisory Council (professional)

Awarded by the University of Mary Washington for the project, “Your Brain on Meditation: EEG in the Classroom", 2016.

Faculty Development Grant (professional)

Awarded by the University of Mary Washington, Spring and Summer 2016; Fall 2014.

Research Grant (professional)

Awarded by the University of California, Santa Barbara's Department of Religious Studies, 2012-2013.

Dissertation Completion Fellowship (professional)

Awarded by the Harvard University Graduate Society, 2011-2012.

Teagle Foundation Award for Original Syllabi (professional)

Awarded by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University, 2011.

Inner Asian and Altaic Studies Conference Grant (professional)

Awarded by Harvard University, 2011.

Summer Research Fellowship (professional)

Awarded by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, 2011.

Summer Research Grant (professional)

Awarded by the Harvard Graduate Student Council, 2011.

Barry and Bertha Mumford Scholarship (professional)

Awarded by Harvard University, 2010-2011.

Certificate of Distinction for Excellence in the Teaching of Undergraduates (professional)

Awarded by Harvard College, 2009.

Graduate Student Fellowship (professional)

Awarded by Harvard University, 2005-2009.

Education (3)

Harvard University: Ph.D., Inner Asian and Altaic Studies 2012

Naropa University: M.A., Indo-Tibetan Buddhism 2005

Wesleyan University: B.A., Religion, concentration in Buddhist Studies 1998

Media Appearances (2)

(David Rettinger; Dan Hirshberg) Fredericksburg Sister-City group helping partners in COVID-devastated Nepal

The Free Lance-Star  print


A college professor and director of Academic Integrity Programs, Rettinger has visited Nepal three times, once as a young adult and twice in recent years. In 2018, he and fellow professor Dan Hirshberg, an expert in Asian religions, led a study abroad trip for UMW students.

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Contemplative garden brings ‘Zen’ to UMW

Fredericksburg Today  online


A bonsai workshop last week set the right frame of mind for a progress report on UMW’s new Zen Garden. More than 100 people turned out to learn about the ancient art of tree trimming and hear about the space under construction outside the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies on the Fredericksburg campus...

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Articles (6)

A Post-Incarnate Usurper? Inheritance at the Dawn of Catenate Reincarnation in Tibet

Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines

Daniel Hirshberg

2017 Prior to the earliest institutional reincarnates like the Karmapas, Nyangrel Nyima Özer (Nyang (archaic: Myang) ral nyi ma ’od zer, 1124–92) relied on the recollection of an unbroken sequence or catenate series of preincarnations as the karmic basis for his recovery of the treasures (gter). In contrast to the later treasure tradition, these were uniformly material texts and relics in twelfth-century Tibet...

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Preface: The Tulku (sprul sku) Institution in Tibetan Buddhism

Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines

Daniel A. Hirshberg, Derek F. Maher, and Tsering Wangchuk

2017 On the eve of the Buddha’s enlightenment experience in Bodhgaya, India two and a half millennia ago, his hagiographies report that he fell into a deep contemplative reverie through which he was able to recall his five hundred previous births...

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Karmic foreshadowing on the path of fruition: narrative devices in the biographies of Nyang ral Nyi ma ’od zer

Bulletin of Tibetology

Daniel A. Hirshberg

2010 The earliest accounts of the first great treasure revealer, Nyang ral nyi ma ’od zer (Nyang rel Nyima özer, 1124-1192), are contained within two early biographies. Though both texts contain numerous insertions by later contributors, the core data dealing with Nyi ma ’od zer’s life was likely compiled by direct disciples in the early thirteenth century...

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Biography: Namkha Pel

The Treasury of Lives: A Biographical Encyclopedia of Tibetan Religion

Daniel A. Hirshberg

2013 Ngadak Drowagonpo Namkha Pel (mnga' bdag 'gro ba mgon po nam mkha' dpal) was born to Nyangrel Nyima Ozer (nyang/myang ral nyi ma 'od zer, 1124-1192) and his wife, Jobuma (jo 'bum ma, d.u.) in the mid to late twelfth century...

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Biography: Nyangrel Nyima Ozer

The Treasury of Lives: A Biographical Encyclopedia of Tibetan Religion

Daniel A. Hirshberg

2013 Ngadak Nyangrel Nyima Ozer (mnga' bdag nyang/myang ral nyi ma 'od zer) was born in 1124 (an alternate date of 1136 has occasionally been suggested in western sources, but is almost certainly mistaken) in Lhodrak...

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Tibetan Kingship & Early Buddhist Histories (Book Review)

Dissertation Reviews

Daniel A. Hirshberg

2013 A review of Transforming Tibetan Kingship: The portrayal of Khri srong lde brtsan in the early Buddhist histories, by Lewis J. A. Doney. Applying Paul Ricoeur’s three-level theory of mimesis to Tibetan historical writing, Lewis Doney traces in meticulous detail the historiographical eclipse of emperor Khri Srong lde brtsan (742–ca. 800) by the Tantric master Padmasambhava in early narratives concerning the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet. The dissertation consists of two parts: Chapters 1-3 provide intensive philological analyses of one particular text across its recensions, which is essential to Doney’s pursuit of legitimately early materials (defined as originating from the eighth to twelfth centuries) concerning Khri Srong lde brtsan. Chapters 4-6 then evaluate the content of their portrayals as they evolved over that period...

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