Aaron P. Proffitt プロフィット・アーロン, PhD.

Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies


  • Office: Humanities 241
  • Telephone: 518-442-4122
  • E-mail: aproffitt@albany.edu
  • Spring 2019 Office Hours: M W 1:30-2:30 and by appointment

Professor Proffitt joined the East Asian Studies Department in 2015. He teaches various courses on East Asian religions, Buddhism, the academic study of religion, and is the faculty advisor for the UAlbany Buddhist Student Group. His research focuses on 12th-13th century Japanese Buddhism in the context of broader East Asian and Mahayana theories of ritual speech (mantra, spells, etc.), the afterlife, and debates about the relationship between Buddhist practice and the attainment of enlightenment. His monograph, Esoteric Pure Land Buddhism in Early Medieval Japan: A Translation and Analysis of Dōhan’s Himitsu nenbutsu shō, is under contract with the Pure Land Buddhist Studies Series through the University of Hawaii Press. This work examines Esoteric Pure Land Buddhist thought and practice in China and Japan through the lens of the Koyasan scholar-monk Dōhan (1179-1252), and will contain the first fully annotated English language translation of all three fascicles of the Himitsu nenbutsu shō..

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Courses Offered:

Selected Online Publications 

Doctoral Dissertation 

“Mysteries of Speech and Breath: Dōhan’s 道範 (1179-1252) Himitsu nenbutsu shō 祕密念佛抄 and Esoteric Pure Land Buddhism.” PhD diss., University of Michigan, 2015.

 Journal Articles

 Dohan no himitsu nenbutsu shiso: Kenmitsu bunka to mikkyo jodokyo 道範の秘密念仏思想:顕密文化と密教浄土教” [The Esoteric Nenbutsu Thought of Dohan: Kenmitsu Culture and Esoteric Pure Land Buddhism]. Journal of World Buddhist Cultures 『世界仏教文化研究』 Vol. 1 (2018): 117-138.

 “Nenbutsu Mandala Visualization in Dōhan’s Himitsu nenbutsu shō: An Investigation into Medieval Japanese Vajrayāna Pure Land.” Pacific World: 3rd Series No. 15 (Fall 2013): 153-159.

 Magazine Articles

 “Who was Kobo Daishi?” Tricycle: The Buddhist Review (Summer 2018)

Last updated September 7, 2018