Universiteit Leiden

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Channa Li

Guest Researcher

C. Li
+31 71 527 1766

Fields of interest

My fields of interests range widely from the Buddhist cultures and materials along the Silk Road, to the significance of Buddhist narratives in shaping the history of Indian, Tibetan and Chinese society. I obtain multi-disciplinary background of Sinology, Tibetology and Budhology. On one hand, I’m interested in old Dunhuang Tibetan manuscripts and the narratives in the early writing of Tibetan histories; on the other hand, I show great enthusiasm for the practice of Buddhist translation and the textual history of Buddhist literature. One of my focus is to sort out Tibetan sūtras translated from Chinese over a long time (from the imperial era to the time when the great bulk of texts was compiled into Kanjurs, c.a. the 15th century) compared with the parallel translations from Sanskrit. My Ph.D interest is to investigate how early Buddhist narratives, as literary tools, serve religious goals and to identify what strategies Buddhist narrators utilized to convey their religious beliefs.

PhD research

Challenging the Buddha’s Authority: How Buddhist Narrative Traditions Negotiate Religious Authority.

A research based on the exploration of the early Buddha’s biography, narrative traditions around Devadatta and Sariputra, as well the “multi-Buddha” cosmos.

Supervisor: prof. Jonathan Silk



Ph.D, Buddhist Studies, LIAS, Leiden University, 2013-2018.  
M.A., Historical and Philological Studies of Tibetan Buddhism, Renmin University of China, 2011-2013.  
B.A., Historical and Philological Studies of China’s Western Region, School of Chinese Classics,  Renmin University of China, 2007-2011. 


National Scholarship for Academic Excellence, 2009-2012 
Outstanding Graduate among Beijing Students, 2013 
Outstanding Graduate, Renmin University of China, 2011



  • Forthcoming in Dec. 2016. “Authorship Lost in Transmission: Elusive Attributions of Two Tibetan Sūtra Translations”. In Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines.
  • Forthcoming in 2018. Gagottaraparipcchā and Maitreyaparipcchā: Chinese Sūtras in Tibetan Translation. Harvard Oriental Series. Co-authored with J.A. Silk.
  • Forthcoming 2017, Entry of  “Devadatta” in the Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism.
  • In Chinese. “Studies on the Orally Transmitted Collection of Verses of  Avalokiteśvara Sadhāna discovered in Heishui cheng,  Xixia Tangut”, in Texts, Histories, Figures and Iconographies: Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 2013
  • In Chinese. “Tibetan Avalokiteśvara Cult from the Ninth to Eleventh Century: Focus on the Dunhuang Tibetan Manuscripts”, in  Contributions to the First Cross-Strait Conference on Sino-Tibetan Buddhism, Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 2012, pp. 36-76.
  • In Chinese. “The Origin of the Dance of Sixteen Heavenly Devils and the Related Chinese and Tibetan Sources on it” in Historical and Philological Studies of China’s Western Regions (5), 2012, with Weirong Shen, pp 325-387.
  • In Chinese. “The Avalokiteśvara Cult in the Medieval Tibet”, in Contributions to the International Seminar on Esoteric Buddhismin Tang Dynasty, Vol. iv, Shaanxi: Shaanxi Normal University Education Press, 2012, pp.256-293.
  • In Chinese.  “A Textual Research on whether Zhang Qian Brought Pomegranates to the Han Dynasty”, in Theory Study (2010), pp.164-166.

Guest Researcher

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS India en Tibet


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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