Dessislava Vendova

Dessi Vendova entered the doctoral program in Religion at Columbia University in 2012 in the Buddhism sub-field. Dessi began her academic study of Chinese and Chinese studies back in 2000 enrolled as an undergraduate student at the Chinese Studies Department of Sofia University, in her native Bulgaria. In the Fall of 2001 with a full government scholarship she went to Beijing, China, where for the next 8 years she lived and studied, 7 of which she was enrolled in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of Peking University where in July 2006 she received her BA in Chinese Language and Literature and then in July 2009 she received her Master of Arts degree in Classical Chinese Literature specializing in the pre-Tang and Tang dynasty period.

After her graduation from Peking University, Dessi lived in Kyoto for 3 years where from October 2009 until April 2011, with a Japanese Government Research Student Scholarship (Monbukagakusho), she was enrolled as a research student in the Graduate School of Letters of Kyoto University.

For the past several years, Dessi has mainly researched the connection between Classical Chinese stories, Buddhist texts, and Buddhist “former birth stories” (jatakas) in particular. In both her BA and MA graduation theses (written in Chinese) she researches this topic and has found this research intellectually exhilarating and challenging and believes herself fortunate to have found a field that truly fascinates her and which elicits from her a passionate commitment.

Dessi plans to pursue her research of Buddhist narratives and in particular the former lives birth stories and the biography of the Buddha as she finds that this combines perfectly her passion for literature and stories and also her interest in Buddhist and Indian philosophical and ethical ideas. Dessi has begun a research project focusing on the exploration of the connections between textual and iconographic representations of Buddha’s lives stories and reassessment of their role and significance for the spread of Buddhism from India through Central Asia to China.

BA in Chinese Language and Literature (2006, Peking University)

MA in Classical Chinese Literature (2009, Peking University)

MA in Religion (2014, Columbia University)

Research interests: Comparative and interdisciplinary study of Buddhism, Buddhist former births stories literature; the biography of the Buddha; Buddhist Art; East Asian culture and literature.