L. S. Cousins

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L. S. Cousins
Lance Selwyn Cousins.jpg
Lance Selwyn Cousins, 2012.
Born 07 April 1942
Hitchin, Great Britain
Died 14 March 2015 (aged 72)

Lance Selwyn Cousins (7 April 1942 – 14 March 2015), was a leading scholar in the field of Buddhist Studies. Born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, he studied history and oriental studies at Cambridge University, and took up a post in the Department of Comparative Religion at Manchester University as lecturer and then senior lecturer. After early retirement in the 1990s he settled in Oxford and continued to publish scholarly papers and reviews[1] including a widely cited historical summary such as "The Dating of the Historical Buddha: A Review article," which was published in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.[2] He was a Fellow at Wolfson College University of Oxford and part of the faculty at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. Prior to this, he was briefly President (2002/3) of the Pali Text Society (PTS). Professor Richard Gombrich once described him as the leading authority in the West in the field of abhidhamma.[3]

Cousins helped establish the Pali Canon on the web and assisted many publications being involved with a breadth of translations from Pali to English himself. He had completed two books by the time of his death that are likely to be published soon.[citation needed]

He received several awards including honorary professorships incorporating recognition of his contributions from among other places the Mahamakut Buddhist University, Bangkok, Thailand in 2013.

In addition to his academic work, he was also a teacher of Buddhist meditation in a Thai samatha tradition being a founder member of the Samatha Trust and the Samatha Association. He commenced samatha classes under Nai Boonman in 1963 at Hampstead. He was instrumental in founding the Cambridge University Buddhist Society and its samatha class in the 1960s. When he moved to Manchester in 1967, he started the Manchester University Buddhist Society and the class there that lead to the beginning of several similar classes in the rest of the UK and the eventual establishment of the Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation in Chorlton. He was an influential teacher and conducted several retreats incorporating the UK, particularly at the Samatha Centre, Greenstreete farm in Wales, The USA, Ireland and Sri Lanka.[4]


  1. oxford.academia.edu/LSCousins
  2. INDOLOGY - The Dating of the Historical Buddha: A Review Article Archived December 24, 2010, at WebCite
  3. The State of Buddhist Studies in the World 1972-1997, ed Swearer & Promta, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 2000, page 182
  4. Renowned Buddhist Scholar returns to hold meditation retreat: The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka, 15 Jan 2012 [1]

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