Natasha Heller studies Chinese Buddhism in the context of cultural and intellectual history. Her research includes both the pre-modern period (10th through 14th c.) and the contemporary era. Her first book, Illusory Abiding: The Cultural Construction of the Chan Monk Zhongfeng Mingben (Harvard University Asia Center in 2014) is study of the literary works of an eminent monk of the Yuan dynasty. Heller’s current book project concerns picture books published by Buddhist organizations in Taiwan, and how such children’s fiction not only teaches young people about the Buddhist tradition, but also addresses how they should relate to clergy, family members, and society. Other research interests include the circulation of Pure Land miracle tales, and the relationship between religion and technology.
Department: Religious Studies