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Bret W. Davis
Bret W. Davis, PhD

To understand what Zen is really all about it is vital not only to study it’s profound, philosophical teachings but also to engage in the practice of Zen, especially meditation.


Loyola University Maryland

About Bret W. Davis

Bret W. Davis is a Professor of Philosophy and the T.J. Higgins, S.J., Chair in Philosophy at Loyola University Maryland, where he also directs The Heart of Zen Meditation Group. He earned his PhD in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University.


Fluent in Japanese, Professor Davis has spent more than 13 years studying and teaching in Japan. He studied Buddhist thought at Otani University and Japanese philosophy at Kyoto University. He also trained as a lay practitioner at Shōkokuji, one of the main Rinzai Zen monasteries in Kyoto. In 2010, he was formally recognized as a teacher (sensei) and director of a Zen center by Kobayashi Gentoku Rōshi, the abbot of Shōkokuji.


Professor Davis has presented academic papers at international conferences in more than a dozen countries and has been invited to lecture at such distinguished institutions as Harvard University, Boston College, the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, East China Normal University, the University of Munich, the University of Freiburg, and the Royal Institute of Philosophy in London. For his research sojourns in Japan and Germany, he has received grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the German Academic Exchange Service, and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. He also received the Nachbahr Award for outstanding scholarly accomplishment in the humanities from Loyola University Maryland.


Professor Davis is the author of Heidegger and the Will, the coeditor of Japanese and Continental Philosophy and Engaging Dōgen’s Zen, and the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Philosophy.

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