Dr. Upali Sraman

Lecturer in Buddhist Languages and Cultures

Contact details



School of Divinity
New College
Mound Place

Post code


  • Dr. Sraman is available to meet by appointment.


Dr. Upali Sraman received his Ph.D. in Religion from Emory University. He was born in Bangladesh and has studied at several prestigious universities. He completed his undergraduate degree in Sanskrit at the University of Peradeniya, earned an MA in Buddhist Studies at the Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy, and an MDiv in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard. Dr. Sraman's research focuses on Buddhist narratives, ethics, and texts in Pali, Sanskrit, and Tibetan languages. He is also interested in how Buddhism is practiced and interpreted in modern times, as well as the ways in which different religions in South Asia share religious figures, pilgrimage sites, and devotional practices. Dr. Sraman is proficient in several South Asian languages, including Bengali, Hindi, and Sinhala.


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PhD (Emory University, 2023)

MDiv (Harvard University, 2016)

MA (Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy, 2013)

BA (Hons) (University of Peradeniya, 2011)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Steering Committee Member,  Edinburgh Buddhist Studies.

Undergraduate teaching

Introducing Sanskrit 

Intermediate Sanskrit

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

Dr. Sraman's research interests encompass the following themes

  • Buddhist Narratives
  • Buddhist Monasticism
  • Buddhist Ethics
  • Devotional Practices in Buddhism
  • Theories and Practices of Ethical and Spiritual Self-formation
  • Contemporary Buddhism in South Asia
  • Religious Intersection in South Asia

Invited speaker

  • “Why do Monks Punch Each Other: Humor and Ethics in Buddhist Vinaya Texts.” South Asia Seminar. Emory University. October 7, 2022.
  • “How to Make Sense of the Non-Legal Aspects of Buddhist Monastic Law?” invited talk at the CSLR Colloquy. Center for the Study of Law and Religion. Emory University. 20th November, 2019.
  • Buddhism and Youngsters, Panel Discussion in Tibetan language at the Trans-Himalayan Seminar organized by the Himalayan Buddhist Library and Cultural Centre. Kathmandu. 30th April, 2019.
  • “Is Theravāda the Lower Vehicle?” Invited Talk at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Kathmandu, 7th November, 2018.
  • “Buddhist Understanding of Human Personhood: Doctrine of non-self (anattā),” invited talk, "The Sacred and the Self in World Religions: Explorations in Comparative Theology” lecture series, March 10th, 2015, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • “Bengalizing (Bengali reproductions of) Buddhist Narratives in Modern times”, World Religions Cafe Talk at the Centre for the Study of World Religions, Harvard. Spring 2014.
  • “Sangha (Community) as a Lived Experience”, World Religions Cafe Talk at the Centre for the Study of World Religions, Harvard. Fall 2014.

Papers delivered

  • Rival Monastic Groups and the Messiness of Ethical Practice in Buddhist Vinaya Texts.” Monasticism in South Asia Panel. American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting. Denver, Colorado, November 22, 22.
  • “Examine with Clear Eyes: Filtering Water as an Ethical Practice in Buddhist Monastic Training,” Conference on the Study of Religions of India. Colby College, Maine, June 23-26, 2022.
  • “The Transnational Character of Buddhism in Bangladesh (1864-present)”, “Buddhism in Motion” Panel, “Asia in Motion: Ideas, Institutions, Identities” Conference, Association of Asian Studies, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, 22-24 June, 2015.
  • “Healing through Spiritual Care: Arts and Ethics of Chaplaincy as Gleaned from Some Buddhist Narratives”, Buddhism and Wellbeing Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 28-30 May, 2015.
  • “Connecting with and Distancing from: Transnational Influences in the Formation of Buddhist Identity and Practices in Bangladesh,” Journal of Global Buddhism, Vol.21, 2020: 205-222. 
  • “Cognitive Distortions (vipallāsa) in Theravāda Texts”, in: Understanding Mind, Consciousness and Person. Ed. by Ramala Sharma. New Delhi: Rawat Prakashan. 2021: 115-134.
  • “Understanding Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu Students on Campus”, co-authored with Rahuldeep Singh Gill and Varun Soni, in Educating About Religious Diversity and Interfaith Engagement - A Handbook for Student Affairs. Ed. Kathleen M. Goodman et al., Bloomfield: Stylus Publishing. 2019: 275-290.