Scholarly and literary explorations of Zen Buddhism

Introduction

Photo on 8-23-16 at 12.51 #3

Hi, I’m Ben Van Overmeire. Currently, I’m a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College. My research focuses on encounter dialogue, a Zen Buddhist genre that is most commonly known as koan riddles such as “What is the sound of one hand clapping” or “What was your name before you were born.” In addition to examining the medieval origins of this genre, I also look at how certain twentieth-century authors, such as Daisetz Suzuki and Jack Kerouac, used this genre in their discussions of Zen. My other research interests include utopian narrative and the possible roles of Buddhism and East-Asian thought in general in a time of environmental emergency.