Head: Birgit Kellner
In the field of Buddhist Studies, the Institute primarily pursues research on the history of ideas in South, East and Central Asia, especially philosophical ideas, on the basis of newly available source materials in original languages. This research is also linked to investigations into institutional (monastic) frameworks and socioreligious contexts.
Special attention is being paid to exploring two currents whose influence extended beyond the Indian subcontinent: the logico-epistemological tradition of Dignāga (ca. 480–540) and Dharmakīrti (mid-6th–mid-7th century), and the philosophy of Madhyamaka. As far as research activities on Indian Buddhism are concerned, these are currently concentrating on Sanskrit manuscripts preserved on the territory of the People's Republic of China – in the Autonomous Region of Tibet (TAR) – which are being studied on the basis of a co-operation agreement concluded in 2004 with the China Tibetology Research Center (CTRC) in Beijing. Sinological research is concentrated on the historical translation of Buddhist texts into Chinese, and on examining associated developments in cultural and intellectual history.