Alex Wayman, Pioneer of Tibetology, Dies at 83

Columbia News, Nov 3, 2004

New York, USA -- Alex Wayman, pioneer in the field of Tibetology and Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit, died on Sept. 22 at the age of 83.

Wayman joined Columbia in 1966 as a visiting associate professor of religion. In 1967, he was appointed professor of Sanskrit in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. During his tenure, Wayman taught classes in classical Sanskrit, Buddhist hybrid Sanskrit, Indian and Tibetan Religions and the history of astrology.

While at Columbia, he was a member of the administrative committee of the Southern Asian Institute. He also served as senior editor of The Buddhist Traditions Series (with 30 volumes to date) published by Motilal Banarsidass in Delhi, India.

Wayman authored 12 books, including Buddhist Tantric Systems, Untying the Knots in Buddhism, Enlightenment of Vairocan, and A Millennium of Buddhist Logic. He co-authored a translation of the 3rd-century Buddhist scripture Lion's Roar of Queen Shrimala with his wife, Hideko. Her knowledge of Chinese and Japanese sources complemented his research and translation of Sanskrit and Tibetan sources.

An honorary volume, titled Researches in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy (essays in honor of Prof. Alex Wayman), edited by Ram Karan Sharma, was published in 1993 to commemorate the many years that Wayman devoted to scholarly research on Indian topics.

Born Jan. 11, 1921, Wayman received a B.A. (1948), M.A. (1949) and Ph.D. (1959) from UCLA. He is survived by his wife.