James Gentry was born in the United States and first became interested in Buddhism during a trip to India, Nepal, and Tibet in 1994. Since then, he has studied Buddhist theory and practice as an undergraduate and graduate student in academic institutions in North America, and in monastic institutions in Nepal, India, and China. His Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard University, which involved the study of the roles of sacred objects, such as relics and amulets, in the lives of Tibetan Buddhists, was published as Power Objects in Tibetan Buddhism: The Life, Writings, and Legacy of Sokdokpa Lodrö Gyeltsen. James’s research has led him to live in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, China, and India for nearly a decade.
Before joining Stanford, James was on the faculty of the University of Virginia. He has taught at Rangjung Yeshe Institute’s Centre for Buddhist Studies at Kathmandu University, where he served as director of its Master of Arts program in Translation, Textual Interpretation, and Philology. He has also served as editor-in-chief of the project 84000.