Paula Arai

Paula Arai (Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, Harvard University) is author of several books. Steeped in ethnographic research, she takes an embodied approach to her work and finds poetic immersive storytelling a potent medium for conveying the experiences of transformative healing she researches. Her books include The Little Book of Zen Healing: Japanese Rituals for Beauty, Harmony, and Love, Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra—The Buddhist Art of Iwasaki Tsuneo, Women Living Zen: Japanese Buddhist Nuns, and Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Buddhist Women’s Rituals. She is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Practice. Specializing in Japanese Sōtō Zen Buddhist women, Arai trained under the tutelage of Aoyama Shundō Rōshi at the Aichi Senmon Nisōdō nunnery in Nagoya and maintains decades-long relationships with her laywomen consociates in Japan. An active public speaker, Arai also leads workshops on healing rituals. She holds the Eshinni & Kakushinni Chair of Women and Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley.