Dr. Flavio A. Geisshuesler is a historian of religions with an expertise in the contemplative systems of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Although the contemporary conception of practices like mindfulness meditation appears to be largely bereft of specific cultural content, meditation techniques never arise in a vacuum, but rather in interaction with other societal domains, such as myth, history, philosophy, science, art, literature, or politics. Reconstructing the place of specific meditation techniques within these larger contemplative systems through rigorous textual studies, his research engages questions related to three specific areas of inquiry: 1) the history of meditation practices in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, 2) the theory of meditation and its functioning as it is articulated in Buddhism and in contemporary society, 3) and interdisciplinary methods that allow for a better understanding of meditation as a complex phenomenon where universal cognitive structures meet unique cultural contexts.
Flavio’s academic career is marked marked by a far-reaching international itinerary, which allowed him to acquire proficiency in more than a dozen languages. He earned two PhDs from the universities of Virginia (USA) and Bern (Switzerland), conducted extensive dissertation research in Italy, India, and Nepal, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses at universities in Switzerland, the United States, and Israel. His research has been funded by the United States Department of Education (Foreign Language and Area Studies, Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad), the Swiss National Science Foundation (doc.mobility), the Khyentse Foundation, the Lady Davis Foundation, and the Azrieli Foundation. His first monograph was published by Brill in the Numen Book Series and is entitled The Life and Work of Ernesto De Martino: Italian Perspectives on Apocalypse and Rebirth in the Modern Study of Religion (2021).
Geisshuesler, Flavio A. 2021. The Life and Work of Ernesto De Martino: Italian Perspectives on Apocalypse and Rebirth in the Modern Study of Religion. Numen Religion Series. Leiden: Brill.
Geisshuesler, Flavio A. 2020. “From Grounded Identity to Receptive Creativity: The Mythical-Historical Formation of the Nyingma School and the Potential of Collective Trauma.” International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture 30: 233–69.
Geisshuesler, Flavio A. 2020. “Luminous Bodies, Playful Children, and Abusive Grandmothers: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disorganized Attachment in the Early History of Great Perfection (RDzogs Chen) Buddhism.” Religions 11 (3): 114.
Geisshuesler, Flavio A. 2019. “A Parapsychologist, an Anthropologist, and a Vitalist Walk into a Laboratory: Ernesto de Martino, Mircea Eliade, and a Forgotten Chapter in the Disciplinary History of Religious Studies.” Religions 10 (304): 1–22.
Geisshuesler, Flavio A. 2019. “The 7E Model of the Human Mind: Articulating a Plastic Self for the Cognitive Science of Religion.” Journal of Cognition and Culture 19: 450–76.