Instructor - Tibetan and Tibet
Center for Asian Studies


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

M.A., Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with Tibetan and Sanskrit, Naropa University

B.A., Religion, Wesleyan University

Research Interests

Tibetan Buddhism, historiography, and cultural memory; Contemplative traditions and pedagogy

Regional and Thematic Interests

Tibet and its diaspora; the Himalaya; South Asia; Japanese garden design, aesthetics, and the practice of fostering; Study Abroad and Experiential Education


Dan Hirshberg, Ph.D. is a Visiting Scholar for the Tibet Himalaya Initiative and Lecturer for the Center for Asian Studies and the Religious Studies Department. Much of his research centers on cultural memory, the narrative of Tibet’s 8th ce. conversion to Buddhism, and the apotheosis of its protagonist, Padmasambhava, in both literature and iconography. The former is the focus of his monograph, Remembering the Lotus-Born (Wisdom SITB, 2016). He has repeatedly collaborated on the latter with the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in NYC. Dan has held year-long fellowships at UC Santa Barbara, LMU Munich, and UVa’s Contemplative Sciences Center. Before returning to Boulder, he was associate professor of Asian religions at the University of Mary Washington, where he founded one of the first Contemplative Studies programs for undergrads, established a Japanese-style garden, and led study abroad programs to Nepal and Japan. He also serves as Editor and Chair for the Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association.

Selected Publications

Daniel A. Hirshberg. “Refractions of Lotus Light: The Elaboration and Delimitation of Padmasambhava’s Eight Names.” In Histories of Tibet: Essays in Honor of Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, 115–32. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, 2023.

M. Liss, M.J. Erchull, D.A. Hirshberg, D. Ambuel, & A. Pitts, “Effects of a Meditation and Contemplative Practice Course on College Students’ Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Mental Health.” Journal of Contemplative Inquiry 7.1 (2020): 153–94.

Daniel A. Hirshberg. “Contemplating the Smartphone Dis/Connect.” Spotlight on Teaching: Contemplative Pedagogy in the Religious Studies Classroom, for the American Academy of Religion. Religious Studies News 21.1 (June 2019): 15–20, 49–50.

Daniel A. Hirshberg. “Language Scattered, Treasure Revealed: Tibet’s Sole Cache of First-Millennium Manuscripts.” For the forum, “Origin Stories on the ‘Discovery’ and Interpretation of First-Millennium Manuscripts.” Marginalia/ Los Angeles Review of Books (2018).

Daniel A. Hirshberg. “A Post-Incarnate Usurper? Inheritance at the Dawn of Catenate Reincarnation in Tibet.” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines 38 (Février 2017): 65–83.

Daniel A. Hirshberg. Remembering the Lotus-Born: Padmasambhava in the History of Tibet’s Golden Age. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, 2016.