Faculty Profile

Daniel Cozort

Associate Professor of Religion (1988)

Contact Information


East College Room 206


Dan Cozort grew up in North Dakota, where he ran cross-country and track and was a successful debater and extemporaneous speaker. At Brown University he majored in religious studies, specializing in Christian theology and ethics. At the graduate school of the University of Virginia, he specialized in Buddhism, learned Tibetan and Sanskrit, and began his collaboration with Tibetan lamas. He did a year of fieldwork in India, traveling broadly and staying in Tibetan monasteries. His teaching career began with a two-year appointment at Bates College in Maine. Coming to Dickinson in 1988, he proposed that the College join the South India Term Abroad consortium, which he directed in Madurai, south India, in 1992-93. In 1991 he organized the Festival of Tibet at Dickinson, which included an art exhibit he curated and was the initial occasion in which Tibetan monks constructed a Buddhist sand painting in the Trout Gallery. The monks returned in 1995 to construct another; he collaborated with Prof. Lonna Malmsheimer on a film to document it. In 2000 he began to teach in the Norwich Humanities Programme in England and in 2003-2005 he was its resident director. Prof. Cozort’s teaching is principally in the area of comparative religion, where he offers courses on Buddhism and Hinduism. However, he has also taught about Native American religions, about love and sex in relation to religion, about happiness, and has taught a variety of courses in the theory of religious studies. Currently, in addition to introductory courses, he frequently offers “Contemplative Practices in Asia,” “Buddhism and the Environment,” and “Spiritual Dimensions of Healing,” a course on the relation of religion and medicine. He is the author of six books: Highest Yoga tantra, Buddhist Philosophy, Unique Tenets of the Middle Way Consequence School, Sand Mandala of Vajrabhairava, Sadhana of Mahakala, and Enlightenment Through Imagination. He has also written numerous book chapters and articles and a film script. Since 2006, he has been the Editor of the Journal of Buddhist Ethics, and he is currently editing the Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics.


  • B.A., Brown University, 1976
  • M.A., University of Virginia, 1983
  • Ph.D., 1989

2015-2016 Academic Year

Fall 2015

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

RELG 121 What is Hinduism?
A study of the dominant religion of south Asia that focuses on the contemporary "embodiment" of religion in culture. This course will explore ways in which religion permeates the Hindu cycle of life, shapes choices such as occupation and marriage partner, and infuses Indian arts. It will ask whether the variation in these patterns over time, among regions of India, in city and country, and among different groups, are diverse "Hinduisms" that nevertheless contain a vital unity.

RELG 311 Buddhism and the Environment
Cross-listed with ENST 311-03.

ENST 311 Buddhism and the Environment
Cross-listed with RELG 311-01.Although protection of the environment is not a Buddhist goal per se, it is involved in the quest for enlightenment. The course will apply the Buddhist perspective to questions about the relations between humans and the rest of nature, to specific environmental problems, to the tradeoffs between human good and protection of other species, and to consumption and consumerism.

Spring 2016

PHIL 205 Topics in Asian Philosophy
Cross-listed with EASN 205-06.

EASN 205 Topics in Asian Philosophy
Cross-listed with PHIL 205-01.

RELG 227 Spiritual Dimension of Heal
The effect of the mind on the body, long a principle of systems of healing around the globe, is again being recognized in modern medicine. This course will be concerned with "integrative medicine" and related topics, such as ancient systems of healing, shamanism in contemporary cultures, the relationship between religious faith and recovery from illness, the appropriation of traditional healing methods by medical professionals and New Age alternative healing practitioners, yoga, meditation and health, the Holistic Medicine movement in the West, and the Positive Psychology movement in the West. Offered every two years.

RELG 314 Seminar on Buddhist Ethics
Buddhism is a non-theistic religion whose ideal is human perfection, described as a state of contentment, happiness, wisdom, love, and compassion. Because this ideal involves the perfection of virtue as well as the attainment of insight, ethics in Buddhism are particularly important. This course will examine ethics in various Buddhist traditions, compare Buddhist ethics to those of other religions, consider Buddhist ethics in the light of the psychology of moral judgments and the findings of cognitive sciences, and reflect on how Buddhists might approach income inequality, environmental degradation and climate change, war and violence, discrimination against women, and contested social issues such as reproductive rights, euthanasia, suicide, and animal rights.