Michael Sheehy, PhD, is the Director of Scholarship and Research Assistant Professor at the Contemplative Sciences Center and Research Assistant Professor in Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. As lead for the Contemplative University, an international digital publishing platform, he facilitates interdisciplinary collaborative work to document historical contemplative practice traditions, develops pedagogical resources that foster human flourishing, and synthesizes research in the contemplative humanities and sciences.
Before joining the Contemplative Sciences Center, Michael was Director of Programs at the Mind & Life Institute, a leading organization for the scientific research on contemplation, where he directed intercultural and interdisciplinary event-based programs. While at Mind & Life, he led the collaborative design and implementation of programs including the Mind & Life Dialogues with the Dalai Lama, the International Symposium for Contemplative Research, and the Research Institutes. For eight years prior, he was the Director of Research at the Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC), an encyclopedic digital library of Tibetan and Buddhist literature, where he led a multicultural research team and worldwide network to publish Buddhist language manuscripts and employ innovative digital research tools.
Michael has conducted extensive fieldwork with scholastic and contemplative communities in Buddhist Asia, including three years training in a monastery in eastern Tibet. His translations and writings give attention to the literary and philosophical histories of marginalized traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Most recently, his research interests abide in the contributions of Buddhism to discourses in the humanities about contemplative experience, and more specifically, in the use of imagination and visualization, the cultural psychology of meditation, and the Buddhism / science dialogue.
He is co-editor of the book, The Other Emptiness: Rethinking the Zhentong Buddhist Discourse in Tibet (SUNY Press, forthcoming), and serves as a steering committee member for the Contemplative Studies unit at the American Academy of Religion.