Faculty Profile

Daniel Cozort

Professor of Religion (1988)

Contact Information


Waidner-Boyd Lee Spahr Library Study Room 15


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


  • Ganoe Award for Inspirational Teaching, 2011-12

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

RELG 122 What is Buddhism?
A study of Asia's most influential religion that focuses on the contemporary "embodiment" of religion in culture. This course will explore ways in which Buddhists have used visual arts, music, drama, asceticism, devotion, etc., to attain spiritual goals and express enlightenment. It will look at both monastic and popular Buddhism, concentrating on South and Southeast Asia but with some reference to East Asia and the West.

RELG 311 Buddhism and the Environment
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. Offered every two years

RELG 550 Independent Research

Spring 2019

RELG 201 Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is probably the world's most varied and complex religion, combining elements of everything found in late Indian Buddhism-huge monastic universities, esoteric rituals involving seemingly bizarre practices, an enormous pantheon of enlightened beings, demons, and others, devotional cults, sublime art-with wild and wooly indigenous Tibetan shamanism and some aspects of Chinese religions. The course examines the development of Buddhism in Tibet as well as its increasing interest and influence in the West.

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.

RELG 550 Independent Research