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N. Robert Glass

Associate Professor Emeritus of Philosophy

B.A., University of British ColumbiaM.A., Temple UniversityPh.D., Syracuse University


My teaching and research draw from three areas: my doctoral work on Buddhism and comparative thought; the seven years I spent in a Zen Buddhist seminary completing a Teacher of Buddhism program; and my three years as Director of a Comparative Religion and Culture program, where I traveled around the world with students studying the world’s philosophical and religious traditions. Students spent ten weeks each in Japan, India and Israel with breaks in Thailand and Nepal. During this time I was able to experience firsthand the challenges we all face in trying to understand cultures, texts and traditions other than our own and how life-changing it can be to try to do so. For the past decade I have worked with students as Dean of Global College as the four year curriculum has taken them through countries including Costa Rica, India, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Africa and Turkey.

My book, Working Emptiness: Towards a Third Reading of Buddhism and Postmodern Thought, looks at issues in interpretation as we try to use western philosophers to understand an eastern philosophical tradition.  I followed this up with several other articles on Buddhism and comparative thought.  The title of one of these articles, “A Logic of the Heart: Re-reading Taoism and Zen Buddhism” aptly describes the main argument of my work -- that the work of these traditions is less about moving from thinking to non-thinking in the mind, and more about the cultivation of compassion in the heart.


Buddhism and Comparative Thought; East Asian Philosophy and Religion; The World’s Wisdom Traditions; Cross-Cultural Critical Theory; Mysticism and Ethics


Author, Working Emptiness: Toward a Third Reading of Emptiness in Buddhism and Postmodern Thought Atlanta: Scholars Press (in the American Academy of Religion series, "Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion"), 1995

Author, “Review of Buddhism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives, edited by Stephen Berkwitz, Sophia: International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysical Theology and Ethics.” Sophia: Volume 48/1 (2009): 93-94.

Author, “Review of College Learning for the New Global Century: A Report from the National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America's Promise, and Shared Futures: Global Learning and Liberal Education. By Kevin Hovland, Teaching Theology and Religion.” 11/4 (Oct. 2008): 239-40.

Author, “Review of The Formless Self, “by Joan Stambaugh, Buddhist-Christian Studies (2004): 300-303.

Author, “The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Deleuze and the Positivity of the Second Light,” Deleuze and Religion, ed. Mary Bryden. London: Routledge, 2001, 65-75.

Author, "A Logic of the Heart: Re-reading Taoism and Zen Buddhism," International Philosophical Quarterly 38/4 (December 1998): 383-392.

Author, “Review of Healing Deconstruction: Postmodern Thought in Buddhism and Christianity,” edited by David Loy, and On Deconstructing Life-Worlds: Buddhism, Christianity, Culture, by Robert Magliola, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, volume 5 (1998).

Author, "Theory and Practice in the Experience of Art: John Dewey and the Barnes Foundation," The Journal of Aesthetic Education 31/3 (Fall 1997): 91-105.

Author, "Splits and Gaps in Buddhism and Postmodern Theology." Journal of the American Academy of Religion LXIII/2 (Summer 1995): 303-319


Syracuse University Dissertation Fellowship 1993

Syracuse University - University Fellow 1990-1992

Canada Council Fellowship 1989-1992

Professional Affiliations

Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy

American Academy of Religion

Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education

Former Member American Association of Colleges and Universities

Former Member Institute for International Education

Former Member Forum for Education Abroad