List Of Buddhists

Erdini QoigyijabuThis list compiles well known individuals who practice or have heavily studied Buddhism.

A number of noted individuals have been Buddhists.

Contents

Historical Buddhist thinkers and founders of schools

Individuals are grouped by nationality, except in cases where the vast majority of their influence was felt elsewhere.

Indian

  • The Buddha Shakyamuni, Siddhartha Gautama
  • Ananda, Siddhartha’s cousin and one of his chief disciples
  • Aryadeva foremost disciple of Nagarjuna, continued the philosophical school of Madhyamika
  • Asanga founder of the Yogachara school, widely considered the most important Mahayana philosopher (with Nagarjuna)
  • Atisha holder of the “mind training” (Tib. lojong) teachings, considered an indirect founder of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Bhavaviveka early expositor of the Svatantrika Madhyamikha
  • Buddhaghosa (Theravadin commentator)
  • Buddhapalita early expositor of the Prasangika Madhyamikha
  • Candragomin renowned grammarian
  • Chandrakirti considered the greatest exponent of Prasangika Madhyamika
  • Dharmakirti famed logician, author of the Seven Treatises; student of Dignana’s student Ishvarasena; said to have debated famed Hindu scholar Shankara
  • Dignaga famed logician
  • Gunaprabha foremost student of Vasubandhu, known for his work the Vinayasutra
  • Kamalashila 8th-century author of important texts on meditation
  • Luipa one of the eighty-four tantric mahasiddas
  • Mahakassapa (Pali, Mahakashyapa Sanskrit) a disciple of the Buddha
  • Moggallana, (Pali, Maudgalyayana Sanskrit) one of the two chief disciples of the Buddha
  • Nagarjuna founder of the Madhyamika school, widely considered the most important Mahayana philosopher (with Asanga)
  • Nagpopa one of the eighty-four tantric mahasiddas
  • Nadapada (Tib. Naropa), Tilopa’s primary disciple, teacher of Marpa the Translator and Khungpo Nyaljor
  • Sakyaprabha prominent expositor of the Vinaya
  • Saraha famed mahasiddha, forefather of the Tibetan Kagyu lineage
  • Sariputta (Pali, Shariputra Sanskrit). one of the two chief disciples of the Buddha
  • Shantarakshita abbot of Nalanda, founder of the Yogachara-Madhyamika who helped Padmasambhava establish Buddhism in Tibet
  • Shantideva (8th century Indian) author of the Bodhisattvacaryavatra
  • Talika (Tib. Tilopa), recipient of four separate transmissions from Nagarjuna, Nagpopa, Luipa, and Khandro Kalpa Zangmo; Naropa‘s teacher
  • Vasubandhu author of the Abhidharmakosha
  • Vimuktisena commentator on texts of Asanga’s

Indo-Greek

  • Dharmaraksita (3rd century BCE), Greek Buddhist missionary of Emperor Ashoka, and a teacher of Nagasena.
  • Mahadharmaraksita (2nd century BCE), Greek Buddhist master during the time of Menander.
  • Nāgasena (2nd century BCE), Buddhist sage questioned about Buddhism by Milinda, the Indo-Greek king in the Milinda Pañha.

Central Asian

  • An Shih Kao, a Parthian monk and the first known Buddhist missionary to China, in 148 CE.
  • Dharmaraksa, a Yueh-Chih Buddhist monk, the first known translator of the Lotus Sutra into Chinese.
  • Jnanagupta (561-592), a monk and tranlator from Gandhara, Pakistan.
  • Kumarajiva (c. 401), a Kuchean monk, and one of the most important translators.
  • Lokaksema, a Kushan monk, the first translator of Mahayana scriptures into Chinese, around 180 CE.
  • Prajna (c. 810). A monk and translator from Kabul, who translated important texts into Chinese and educated the Japanese Kukai in Sanskrit texts.

Chinese

  • Baizhang Huaihai
  • Bodhidharma (legendary first patriarch of Zen in China)
  • Fazang
  • Ba Tuo / Fo Tuo
  • Fa Xian (translator and pilgrim)
  • Seng Chou / 僧稠
  • Joshu (9th century Chinese Zen monk)
  • Huangbo Xiyun
  • Fu Yu / 福裕
  • Jinaluo
  • Fa Ru
  • Hui Guang / 慧光
  • Huineng (6th Patriarch of Zen in China)
  • Ingen (17th century Chinese Zen monk, founder of the Ōbaku sect of Zen)
  • Pu Ji
  • Daoji (Buddhist monk revered as a deity in Taoism)
  • Jnanayasas (translator)
  • Linji (9th century Chinese monk, founder of the Linji school of Zen)
  • Sanghapala (6th century monk (Mon-Khmer?) who translated many texts to Chinese)
  • Shen Xiu (Tang Dynasty,the chief of Shao-Lin Temple,made great contribution to Zen)
  • Xuanzang (brought Yogacara to China to found Faxiang school, significant pilgrim, translator)
  • Ji Gong
  • Yi Jing (pilgrim and translator)
  • Yunmen Wenyan (founder of one of the five Chan schools)
  • Zhiyi (founder of Tiantai school)
  • Zongmi (WG: Tsung-mi; fifth patriarch of Chinese Huayan school)
  • Ou-Yang Jin-Wu
  • Hong Yi (also calligraphist, painter, master of seal carving)

Tibetan

  • Gampopa, a student of Jetsun Milarepa and founder of the Karma Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Dolpopa founder of the Jonang school and the Shentong philosophy
  • Khungpo Nyaljor, founder of the Shangpa Kagyü lineage
  • Longchenpa one of the greatest Nyimgma philosophers
  • Marpa (Marpa the Translator, Marpa of Lhobrag), student of Naropa and a founder of the Kagyü lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Milarepa, a foremost student of Marpa Lotsawa
  • Padmasambhava (Tib. Guru Rinpoche) Indian semi-legendary founder of Nyingma school of Tibetan_Buddhism
  • Sakya Pandita one of the greatest Sakya philosphers
  • Tsongkhapa (14th century Tibetan monk, founder of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism, based upon the Kadam tradition)

Japanese

  • Dogen Zenji (founder of Soto Zen, based upon the Chinese Caodong tradition)
  • Eisai (12th century Japanese monk, travelled to China and returned to found the Japanese Rinzai sect of Zen)
  • Ippen, founder of the Japanese Pure Land Ji sect (Ji-shu)
  • Ikkyu
  • Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769, Rinzai Zen)
  • Honen, founder of the Japanese Pure Land Jodo sect (Jodo-shu)
  • Kukai (9th century Japanese monk, founder of Shingon)
  • Myoe (Japanese monk of the Shingon and Kegon schools, known for his propagation of the Mantra of Light)
  • Nichiren (founder of Nichiren Buddhism)
  • Nikko (founder of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism)
  • Rōben (8th century Japanese monk, invited Simsang to Japan and founded the Kegon tradition, based upon the Korean Hwaeom school)
  • Ryokan (18th century Japanese Zen monk and poet)
  • Saicho (9th century Japanese monk, founder of Tendai tradition, based upon the Chinese Tiantai school)
  • Shinran, founder of the Japanese Pure Land Jodo Shin sect (Jodo Shinshu)
  • Takuan Soho (Zen teacher, and, according to legend, mentor of the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi)

Korean

  • Gihwa (1376-1433) Korean Seon monk; wrote commentaries on the Diamond Sutra and Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment
  • Jinul Korean Seon monk (1158-1210); founder of modern Korean gong’an meditation system
  • Simsang (8th century Korean monk, who at the request of Rōben helped transmit Hwaeom to Japan, thereby founding the Japanese Kegon tradition)
  • Uisang (7th century Korean monk, founder of Hwaeom tradition, based upon the Chinese Huayan school)
  • Weonhyo (617-668) Korean monk; prolific commentator on Mahayana sutras
  • Wonchuk

Thai

  • Somdej Toh (Thai monk specializing in magical amulets)
  • Phramonkolthepmuni (1885-1959) (Thai monk who founded the Dhammakaya Tradition)
  • Khun Yay Mahā Ratana Upāsikā Chandra Khonnokyoong (1909-2000) (Thai nun who founded Wat Phra Dhammakaya)

Historical rulers and political figures

  • Ashoka the Great, Mauryan Emperor of Ancient India
  • Brhadrata, the last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty
  • Menander (Pali: Milinda), 2nd century BCE, an Indo-Greek king of northwestern India, who questioned Nāgasena about Buddhism in the Milinda Pañha
  • Kanishka, ruler of the Kushan Empire
  • Shōtoku (574-622), crown prince and regent of Japan
  • Liang Wudi (梁武帝) (502-549), emperor during the Chinese Liang Dynasty
  • Harshavardhana (606-648), Indian emperor who converted to Buddhism.
  • Wu Zetian
  • Jayavarman VII (1181-1219), king of Cambodia
  • Mongkut, king of Thailand and founder of the Thammayut Nikaya

Modern teachers

Theravada / Vipassana teachers

  • Ajahn Brahm (1951- )
  • Ajahn Chah (1918-1992)
  • Ajahn Mun (1870-1949)
  • Ajahn Sumedho
  • Ven. Ananda Maitreya (1896-1998)
  • Ayya Khema (1923-1997)
  • Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (1927- )
  • Bhikkhu Bodhi (1944- )
  • Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (1906-1993)
  • Dipa Ma (1911-1989)
  • Dhiravamsa
  • Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Luang Phaw Dhammajayo) (b.1944), President of the Dhammakaya Foundation
  • Phrabhavanaviriyakhun (Luang Phaw Dattajeevo) (b.1941), acting abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Thailand
  • S. N. Goenka (1924- )
  • Joseph Goldstein
  • Nyanasamvara Suvaddhana (born 1913), the 19th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand
  • Ven. Ledi Sayadaw (1846-1923)
  • Mahasi Sayadaw (1904-1982)
  • Sharon Salzberg
  • Sayadaw U Pandita (1921- )
  • U Ba Khin (1899-1971)

Tibetan Buddhist teachers

  • Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche (1930-2002)
  • Chögyam Trungpa (1940-1987)
  • Dhardo Rimpoche (1917-1990)
  • Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche (1965- )
  • Erdini Qoigyijabu, (1990-) 11th Panchen Lama (According to People’s Republic of China government)
  • Jigdal Dachen Sakya, 1929- co-founder of Sakya Monastery, 41st generation Sakya, Head of the Sakya School in the USA
  • Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989)
  • Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (1938- )
  • Paltul Rinpoche (1965- )
  • Pema Chodron (1936- )
  • Reginald Ray
  • Tarthang Tulku
  • Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
  • Thrangu Rinpoche (1933- )
  • Trinley Thaye Dorje (1983- ), regarded by many as the 17th Karmapa (see also Karmapa controversy)
  • Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, (1920-1996), Dzogchen, Mahamudra and the New Treasures of Chokgyur Lingpa (Chokling Tersar).
  • Urgyen Trinley Dorje (1985- ), also regarded by many as the 17th Karmapa (see also Karmapa controversy)

Zen teachers

Japanese

  • Kodo Sawaki (1880-1965)
  • Dainin Katagiri
  • D.T. Suzuki
  • Ven. Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi, Rōshi (1931-1995)
  • Kyozan Joshu Sasaki, Rōshi (1907- )
  • Kodo Sawaki (1880-1965)
  • Taizan Maezumi (1931-1995)
  • Soyen Shaku, Rōshi (1859-1919)
  • Nyogen Senzaki, Rōshi (18??-1958)
  • Eido Shimano, Rōshi
  • Shunryu Suzuki, Rōshi (1904-1971)
  • Haku’un Yasutani, Rōshi (1885-1973)

Chinese

  • Ven. Hsing Yun (1927-)
  • Ven. Hsin Ting (1944-)
  • Ven. Hsuan Hua (1918-1995)
  • Ven. Hsu Yun (1840-1959)
  • Ven. Sheng-yen (1931- )

American

  • Anne Hopkins Aitken, (1911-1994) )
  • Robert Baker Aitken, Rōshi (1917- )
  • Tenshin Reb Anderson
  • Zentatsu Richard Baker, Rōshi )
  • John Crook (1930- )
  • Zoketsu Norman Fischer
  • James Ishmael Ford, Rōshi (1948- )
  • Tetsugen Bernard Glassman, Rōshi )
  • Paul Haller, Rōshi )
  • Cheri Huber (self-declared teacher)
  • Master Hughes (1956 — ) (self-declared teacher)
  • Philip Kapleau, Rōshi (1912-2004)
  • Jiyu Kennett, Rōshi (1924-1996)
  • Bodhin Kjolhede, Rōshi (1948- )
  • Jakusho Kwong, Rōshi (1935- )
  • John Daido Loori, Rōshi
  • Kobutsu Shindo Malone, Rōshi )
  • John Tarrant, Roshi (1949 — )
  • Brad Warner, Sensei )

Korean

  • Seung Sahn, Soen Sa (1927-2004)
  • Samu Sunim, (1941-)

Vietnamese

  • Thich Thien An (1926-1980)
  • Thich Nhat Hanh (1926-)

Miscellaneous

  • Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933), (The World’s Debt to Buddha)
  • Natalie Goldberg
  • Daisaku Ikeda
  • Ven. Ching Kung (1927-)
  • Ven. Cheng Yen (1937-)
  • Jan Willis
  • Ven. Dr K Sri Dhammananda (1919-)

Teachers of controversial Buddhist or Buddhist-influenced groups

  • Shoko Asahara (1955- )
  • Li Hongzhi (1952- )
  • Lu Sheng-yen (1945- )
  • Sangharakshita (1925- )
  • Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (1931- )
  • Suma Ching Hai

Modern scholars and authors

  • Sir Edwin Arnold (Light of Asia)
  • Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956)
  • Moni Bagghee (Our Buddha)
  • Egerton C. Baptist (Supreme Science of the Buddha)
  • Stephen Batchelor
  • Susan Blackmore
  • Niels Bohr
  • E.A. Burtt (The Compassionate Buddha)
  • Thomas Cleary
  • Edward Conze (1904-1979), (Buddhism)
  • Albert Einstein («Science & Religion», Princeton University, May 19th, 1939)
  • Prof. Eliot (Buddhism and Hinduism)
  • Mark Epstein (Thoughts Without a Thinker)
  • Anatole France
  • Gertrude Garartt
  • Charles T. Ghoram
  • Ven. Gnanatiloka
  • Daniel Goleman (Destructive Emotions)
  • George Grimm (The Doctrine of the Buddha)
  • Von Glasenapp
  • Nakamura Hajime (1911-1999)
  • Edmond Holmes (The Creed of Buddha)
  • Graham Howe
  • Christmas Humphreys (Buddhism)
  • Aldous Leonard Huxley
  • W.F. Jayasuriya (The Philosophy of Buddism)
  • K.N. Jayatilleke (Buddhism and Peace)
  • Rune Johansson (The Psychology of Nirvana)
  • Carl G. Jung
  • Phra Khantipalo (Tolerance)
  • Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945)
  • Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990)
  • Count Keyserling
  • Holger Kersten (The Original Jesus: The Buddhist Sources of Christianity)
  • Ven. Narada Maha Thera (What is Buddhism?)
  • Ven. A. Mahinda (Blue Print of Happines)
  • Manhae (1879-1944)
  • Abe Masao (born 1915)
  • Geoffrey Mortimer
  • Max Muller
  • Lakhsmi Narasu (The Essence of Buddhism)
  • Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907)
  • Oldenburg
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • Karl Pearson
  • S. Radhakrisnan (Gautama The Buddha)
  • Walpola Rahula
  • Bertrand Russell (Why I am not a Christian)
  • C.A.F. Rhys Davids (1857-1942)
  • T.W. Rhys Davids (1843-1922)
  • Scott Shaw
  • Gary Snyder
  • D.T. Suzuki (1870-1966)
  • Robert Thurman
  • Albert Schweitzer
  • John Walters (Mind Unshaken)
  • H.G. Wells (The Greatest Men in History)
  • Alfred North Whitehead
  • Dudley Wright
  • Ven. Yin Shun (The Way to Buddhahood) (1906-2005)
  • Marquess of Zetland (Legecy of India)

Modern politicians, activists, and protestors

  • Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Jerry Brown
  • Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
  • Phoolan Devi
  • David Emerson
  • Yohei Kono
  • Norodom Sihanouk
  • Norodom Sihamouni
  • Sulak Sivaraksa
  • Thaksin Shinawatra
  • U Thant
  • Thich Quang Duc
  • Kwik Kian Gie, Indonesian former ministry

Celebrity Buddhists

Asian

  • Jackie Chan, actor
  • Leslie Cheung, actor, musician
  • Maggie Cheung, actor
  • Tisca Chopra, actor, model
  • Stephen Chow, comedy actor
  • Watazumi Doso, Rõshi, shakuhachi flutist
  • William Hung, singer, American Idol
  • Aaron Kwok, popstar, actor
  • Andy Lau, popstar, actor
  • Jet Li, martial artist, actor
  • Anita Mui, pop singer, actor
  • Teresa Teng, singer
  • Faye Wong, singer
  • Sally Yeh, popstar
  • Michelle Yeoh, actor, dancer
  • Ken Chu, popstar (F4_(band))
  • Lee Byung Hun, South Korean actor
  • Jang Dong Gun, South Korean actor

Western

  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, actor
  • Ernestine Anderson, jazz singer
  • Gillian Anderson, actor (The X-Files (Season 7; Eps. «All Things»), Bleak House)
  • Laurie Anderson, musician
  • Andrew Black, poker player
  • Orlando Bloom, actor
  • Kate Bosworth, actor
  • Ellen Burstyn, actor
  • David Carradine, actor (Kung Fu)
  • Leonard Cohen, poet, singer
  • Rob Cohen, film director, producer, writer
  • Mark Copani, actor
  • Penélope Cruz, actor
  • Patrick Duffy, actor
  • Michael Everson, linguist
  • Harrison Ford, actor
  • William Clay Ford, Jr., CEO of Ford
  • Richard Gere, actor
  • Allen Ginsberg, poet
  • Philip Glass, composer
  • Ron Glass, actor
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, actor
  • Herbie Hancock, musician
  • Kirk Hammett, musician
  • Goldie Hawn, actor
  • Frank Herbert, author
  • Bell Hooks, academic
  • Andy Houts, actor
  • Christmas Humphreys, judge, scholar
  • Maxi Jazz, rapper
  • Charles Johnson, writer
  • Steve Jobs, (founder, CEO of Apple Computer)
  • Jack Kerouac, writer, poet
  • Jennifer Lopez, singer, actor
  • Joanna Lumley, actor
  • Melissa Mathison, screenwriter, Kundun, E.T.
  • LisaRaye McCoy, actor
  • Gustav Meyrink, writer, translator, banker
  • John Milius, screenwriter, film director
  • Me’shell Ndegeocello, singer, musician
  • Kathleen Dee-Anne Norris, actor, model
  • Brad Pitt, actor, Seven Years in Tibet
  • Diane Di Prima, poet
  • Keanu Reeves, actor, Little Buddha
  • Bruce Joel Rubin, screenwriter
  • Steven Seagal, actor, martial artist
  • Lisa Simpson, cartoon character The Simpsons («She of Little Faith»)
  • Duncan Sheik, singer-songwriter
  • Wayne Shorter, musician
  • Patti Smith, singer
  • Michael Stipe, singer
  • Oliver Stone, film director
  • Sharon Stone, see also List of Scientologists
  • Uma Thurman, actor, daughter of Robert Thurman
  • Tina Turner, singer («What’s Love Got To Do With It?»)
  • Gene Vincent, musician
  • Mark Wahlberg, model, singer, actor
  • Alice Walker, writer
  • Naomi Watts, actor
  • Ruby Wax, comedy actor
  • Adam Yauch, rapper (MCA of the Beastie Boys)
  • Brad Wilk, Audioslave’s drummer

Sport

  • Roberto Baggio, Italian footballer
  • Fabien Barthez, French footballer
  • Edgar Davids, Dutch footballer
  • Ivan De La Pena, Spanish footballer
  • Milene Domingues, Brazilian female footballer (ex wife of Ronaldo)
  • Phil Jackson, basketball manager
  • Tiger Woods, golfer

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