Sarah Shaw


Faculty Member; Honorary fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies; Part-time lecturer for the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education 

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies / Wolfson College


Research Interests:

Early Buddhist (Pāli) suttas and Abhidhamma material on meditation

Early Buddhist narrative: literary features of Jātakas and Dhammapada stories

Indian and Asian influences on British nineteenth-century writers

Modern South and Southeast Asian Buddhist ritual, chant and meditation

Some Recent Publications:


The Jātakas: Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta, New Delhi: Penguin, paperback/Penguin Global Classic Series (2006).

Buddhist Meditation: an Anthology of Texts, London: Routledge (2006), hardback, paperback (2008) and e-book (with chapter on Tibet by Georgios Halkias).

An Introduction to Buddhist Meditation, London and New York: Routledge (2008).

Linda Covill, Ulrike Roesler and Sarah Shaw eds., Lives Lived, Lives Imagined: Biographies of Awakening,Boston, MA: Wisdom (2010)

(2013) Co-author, with Dr Naomi Appleton and Professor Toshiya Unebe, of Illuminating the Life of the Buddha: An Eighteenth-Century Siamese Chanting Manual, in the Treasures of the Bodleian Library Series, Bodleian Publications, Oxford.

(2014) The Spirit of Buddhist Meditation, New Haven: Yale University Press.

(2015) The Ten Great Birth Stories of the Buddha: the Mahānipāta of the Jātakatthavaṇṇanā: a translation and introduction to last ten Jātaka stories and their commentaries, with Dr Naomi Appleton, Edinburgh University (Silkworm Books, Thailand/University of Washington Press, Seattle). With a foreword by Professor Peter Skilling and 100 photographs of temple art depictions. 2 volumes (cloth-bound and paperback).


(2010) ‘And that was I – how the Buddha himself creates a path between biography and autobiography’, in L. Covill, U. Roesler and S. Shaw (eds) Lives Lived; Lives Imagined: Biographies of Awakening, Boston, MA: Wisdom, pp. 15–41.

(2012) ‘Breathing Mindfulness: text (Ānāpānasati-Sutta), commentaries and modern contexts’. Buddhist Philosophy and Praxis Conference Conference Volume (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Bangkok, Thailand).  

(2012) ‘Crossing to the farthest shore: how Pāli Jātakas launch the Buddhist image of the boat onto the open seas’. Journal Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, Volume 3 (online resource).

(2013) 'Character, disposition and the qualities of the arahats as a means of communicating Buddhist philosophy in narrative and suttas', in Steven Emmanuel, ed. The Companion to Buddhist Philosophy. Malden, MA/Chichester, Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 452–465.

(2013) ‘The capsized self: sea navigation, shipwrecks and escapes from drowning in early Buddhist narrative’, in Carl Thompson (ed) Shipwreck in Art and Literature: Images and Interpretations from Antiquity to the Present Day. London: Routledge, 27–41.

(2014) ‘Jātaka temple art and changing conditions at the outset of the Rattanakosin period’,In the Shadow of the Golden Age: Art and Identity from Gandhara to the Modern Age, edited by Julia Hegewald. Berlin: EB-Verlag, Studies in Asian Art and Culture (SAAC) series.

(2015) ‘In what way is there a saṅghavacana? Finding the narrator, author and editor in Pāli texts’, in Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, 36/37, 423–458.

(2016) ‘The Discourse on Breathing Mindfulness (Pāli): (Ānāpānasati-Sutta); an introduction and critical translation’, for Louis Komjathy, ed. Contemplative Literature: a Comparative Sourcebook, New York: State of New York Press. (2016) ‘Voices of freedom: friendship, trust and liberation in the poems of early Buddhist Nuns’, The Journal of Oriental Studies, 26. 

(2016), ‘Meditation teaching and suitability: the depiction of temperament in Pāli canonical text and narrative’, in Halvor Eifring ed. Asian Traditions of Meditation, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 122–144. 

Photograph of Sarah Shaw