Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Karma Lekshe Tsomo
Phone: (619) 260-4600 ext. 4921
Office: Maher Hall 295

Professor, Theology and Religious Studies

  • PhD, University of Hawai‘i, Manoa, Comparative Philosophy
  • MA, University of Hawai‘i, Manoa, Asian Studies
  • MA, University of Hawai‘i, Manoa, in Asian Religions
  • BA, University of California, Berkeley, Oriental Languages (Japanese/Chinese)
  • She studied at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, India for 15 years.

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, a specialist in Buddhist studies, has taught at USD since 2000. She offers classes in Buddhist Thought and Culture, World Religions, Comparative Religious Ethics, Religious and Political Identities in the Global Community, and Negotiating Religious Diversity in India. Her research interests include women in Buddhism, death and dying, Buddhist feminist ethics, Buddhism and bioethics, religion and politics, Buddhist social ethics, and Buddhist transnationalism. She integrates scholarship and social activism through the Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women and Jamyang Foundation, an innovative education project for women in developing countries, with 15 schools in the Indian Himalayas, Bangladesh, and Laos.

Areas of Expertise

Buddhist Studies

Scholarly Work

Professor Tsomo’s doctoral research focused on death and identity in China and Tibet. She is the author of Sisters in Solitude: Two Traditions of Monastic Ethics for Women and Into the Jaws of Yama, Lord of Death: Buddhism, Bioethics, and Death, and numerous articles, including "Gender Equity and Human Rights,” and “Global Exchange: Women in the Transmission and Transformation of Buddhism.” In addition, she edited Eminent Buddhist Women; Buddhist Women and Social Justice: Ideals, Challenges, and Achievements; Innovative Buddhist Women: Swimming Against the Stream; Buddhist Women Across Cultures: Realizations; Out of the Shadows: Socially Engaged Buddhist Women; and Sakyadhita: Daughters of the Buddha.

She has produced several educational videos: “Sacred Ground: Consecrating a Village Temple in Spiti Valley,” “Women in Buddhism: Unity and Diversity,” and “Living and Dying in Buddhist Cultures.” Her current research projects include “Buddhist Women of Indonesia: Multiple Subaltern Narratives” and “Buddhist Ethics and Society: South Asian Women’s Perspectives.”

Areas of Interest

Professor Tsomo emphasizes a dialectical approach to teaching, encouraging students to investigate the assumptions they bring to the study of religion and to dialogue on the fundamental questions of the human experience. She incorporates comparative and experiential approaches, including field research at local churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques. Her classes raise questions about the role of religion in contemporary life, including issues of race, privilege, gender, environment, economic ethics, politics, and violence. She encourages active discussion on issues of global concern, such as secularism, fundamentalism, religious syncretism, and inter-religious dialogue.

Office Hours

Section 01R
1/25 - 5/10 M W 5:30 pm - 6:30 pmTBD - TBD
1/25 - 5/10 T TH 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmTBD - TBD