Professor Emeritus of Buddhist Studies, Japanese Religions
Ph.D. in East Asian Studies, Princeton University
M.A. in Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan
B.A. from Harvard University
Kenneth Kraft, professor emeritus of religious studies at Lehigh University, is a scholar of Japanese Zen and socially engaged Buddhism. At Lehigh he served as chair of the Religion Studies department and as director of the College Seminar Program. In 2005, he received a Lindback Foundation award for distinguished teaching by a senior member of the faculty. Kraft has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the Stanford University Japan Center in Kyoto. In 1984-85, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies.
Kraft’s 1992 book Eloquent Zen: Daito and Early Japanese Zen was selected as an “Outstanding Academic Book” by Choice magazine. His anthology of present-day Zen masters and scholars, Zen: Tradition and Transition, is widely used in college courses; the book was translated into French in 1993. Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism, coedited with Stephanie Kaza, brings together ancient and contemporary Buddhist teachings about human/nature relations. The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism explores spiritually based responses to social and environmental issues; a Spanish edition was published in 2001. He has also edited two books of essays, Zen Teaching, Zen Practice and Inner Peace, World Peace: Essays on Buddhism and Nonviolence.
His service on advisory boards has included The Buddhism Project: Art, Buddhism, and Contemporary Culture (New York); Buddhist Peace Fellowship (Berkeley, California); Forum on Religion and Ecology (Yale University); Journal of Buddhist Ethics; Religion Working Group on Genetically Modified Organisms (University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics); Rochester Zen Center (Rochester, New York); and World Faiths Development Dialogue (World Bank).
Kraft holds a Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University, an M.A. in Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. from Harvard University. He retired from Lehigh University in January 2015.
Publications & Awards:
Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism. Shambhala Publications, 2000. Coeditor.
Zen Teaching, Zen Practice: Philip Kapleau and The Three Pillars of Zen. Weatherhill, 2000. Editor.
The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism: A New Map of the Path. Weatherhill, 1999.
Eloquent Zen: Daito and Early Japanese Zen. University of Hawaii Press, 1992.
Inner Peace, World Peace: Essays on Buddhism and Nonviolence. State University of New York Press, 1992. Editor.
Zen: Tradition and Transition. Grove Press, 1988. Editor.
Articles and Chapters
“New Voices in Engaged Buddhist Studies,” in Christopher Queen, ed., Engaged Buddhism in the West. Wisdom Publications, 2000.
“Nuclear Ecology and Engaged Buddhism,” in Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Williams, eds., Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds. Harvard University Press, 1997.
“Practical Zen — A Conversation with Kenneth Kraft,” in Philip Kapleau, Awakening to Zen. Scribner, 1997.
“Practicing Peace: Social Engagement in Western Buddhism,” in Journal of Buddhist Ethics 2, 1995.
“The Greening of Buddhist Practice,” in Cross Currents 44:2, 1994.
“Meditation in Action: The Emergence of Engaged Buddhism,” in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review 2:3, 1993.
Preface to the 25th-anniversary edition of Philip Kapleau’s The Three Pillars of Zen. Doubleday, 1989.
“Engaged Buddhism: An Introduction,” in Fred Eppsteiner, ed., The Path of Compassion. Parallax Press, 1988.
Buddhism and Ecology
Buddhism in the Modern World
Buddhist Visions of a Good Society
Classics of Asian Religions
Japan’s Response to the West
Religion and the Ecological Crisis
Religions of Japan