Author  DRBU Staff

Dharma Realm Buddhist University is proud to announce that Professor Lauren Bausch has been awarded the distinguished Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in Religious Studies. The Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award, granted by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, allows Professor Bausch to conduct groundbreaking research in India during the 2023-2024 academic year. She will be hosted by the Department of Pali and Buddhist studies, headed by Professor Mahesh Deokar, at Savitribai Phule Pune University in Pune.

Professor Bausch’s project aims to shed light on the philosophy of language and causality in middle and late Vedic texts, and explore its connections with early Buddhism. This research will result in a book that promises to make significant contributions to our understanding of these ancient traditions.

Bausch shared her enthusiasm and gratitude about receiving the award. “I was so happy that I cried while reading the acceptance letter. It is a huge honor to be selected and I can’t wait to be an academic ambassador, representing the United States of America and conducting research in India.”

Bausch, among 800 U.S. citizens awarded this honor, will engage in this research while also acting as a cultural ambassador, strengthening international understanding and fostering academic collaboration.

Bausch is particularly looking forward to carrying out research leading to her first book. “In India I will have direct access to one of the world’s oldest living spiritual traditions, preserved both in Sanskrit texts and among Vedic priests. I am curious to see what kind of result that yields!” Bausch added that she is excited to share her institution’s values of listening closely in shared inquiry and benefiting others with her Indian colleagues and students. “When I go to India as a Fulbrighter in July, I will carry the DRBU mantle along with our great nation’s and I will proudly represent everyone from DRBU who helped me along the way to receive this incredible honor and opportunity.”

Professor Bausch’s journey to this prestigious award started with studying abroad in India at the end of her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, which sparked a profound change in her professional path. Initially envisioning a career as an entertainment lawyer or diplomat, her experience abroad inspired a shift towards the study of ancient texts and thought.

“I volunteered to teach a nonviolence training program based on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi through Franciscans International in Bogotá, Colombia, but I didn’t have enough knowledge or experience to teach the course,” said Bausch. “When I returned to Berkeley, I took up Sanskrit so I would be able to read, in the original language, the texts, like the Bhagavadgītā, that inspired Mahatma Gandhi.”

Bausch’s academic journey, including a PhD in Sanskrit, also from UC Berkeley, has led her to this moment, to contribute significantly to the academic understanding of Vedic texts and their relationship with early Buddhism.

In addition to her research, Bausch is excited to connect with local Vedic and Buddhist practitioners, give lectures, and build a community of Vedic and Buddhist scholars in the US and India. “I look forward to meeting old friends and to making new ones,” she said.

“Professor Bausch’s Fulbright award is a testament to her scholarly excellence and dedication,” says President Susan Rounds of DRBU. “We take immense pride in her achievements and look forward to the new knowledge and perspectives she will bring back to our community. Her journey will undoubtedly inspire other scholars and students at Dharma Realm Buddhist University.”

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Fulbrighters engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions. Notable Fulbright alumni include 62 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, 78 MacArthur Fellows, and 41 who have served as a head of state or government.