Anne Waldman

Jan Willis

Jan Willis is a Professor of Religion Emerita at Wesleyan University as well as a visiting professor at Agnes Scott College. She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland, and the U.S. for five decades, and has taught courses in Buddhism almost as long. Her work has explored meditation, hagiography, women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and race; her most recent book is Dharma Matters: Women, Race, and Tantra.


Recent Articles

Peace sign written in light at night.

Peace Begins With Peaceful Actions

To change the world, says Jan Willis, we need hope. And hope grows from nonviolent actions, no matter how small.

10 Steps to Tame the Elephant

For generations, Tibetan practitioners have been guided by a chart outlining the nine stages of samatha meditation. Jan Willis takes us through the map and introduces us to the characters along the way.

The Four Noble Truths Are a Plan of Action

Buddhist teacher and scholar Jan Willis on the Buddha’s central teaching — his diagnosis and cure for suffering.

Buddha #BlackLivesMatter Buddhism Jan Willis Diversity Race Lion's Roar Practice

We Cry Out for Justice

There will only be justice in America, says Jan Willis, when we see all people as our equals. She offers an ancient Buddhist meditation to help us do that.

The Final Truth

She gave birth to twins, but only one survived. Kate Inglis on how, when a body dies, love is the final truth it leaves behind.

The Path We Walk as Women

In the commentary to the Fall 2019 special women’s issue of Buddhadharma, Jan Willis reminds us of the powerful role of women in Buddhism, historically and today.

the 14th Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama: The Lamp for Our Path

Jan Willis reflects on why the world needs His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his message of compassion, peace, and joyfulness more than ever.

Why We Can’t Breathe

We can’t breathe! In Buddhist meditation, our breathing is essential. Anapana, meditation on the breath, was the Buddha’s first meditation instruction and the basis for all further meditative endeavors. Breathing is not only life-sustaining and calming; it is a foremost teaching aid. Breathing, we sense immediately our necessary connection to what is other than ourselves. Without the exchange of air —inner and…

East Meets South

Jan Willis reviews "Dixie Dharma", by Jeff Wilson, in the Winter 2012 issue of Buddhadharma.

Yes, We’re Buddhists Too!

Jan Willis examines the subtle—and not so subtle—racism that exists in American Buddhism.

A Professor’s Dilemma

Jan Willis on teaching Buddhism in an academic classroom, and what kind of Buddhist understanding her students are receiving.

The Cho-mos of Ladakh: From Servants to Practitioners

Jan Willis reveals why and how life is getting better for the nuns of Ladakh after the Sakyadhita conference in 1995.