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Steven Heine

Steven Heine (born 1950) is a Professor of Religion and History as well as Director of the Institute for Asian Studies. He specializes in East Asian and comparative religions, Japanese Buddhism and intellectual history, Buddhist Studies, and religion and social sciences.


  • Research topics 1
  • Education 2
  • Teaching and research career 3
  • Public lectures 4
  • Grants 5
  • Awards 6
  • Publications 7
    • Books on Dōgen 7.1
    • Books on Zen Buddhism 7.2
    • Co-edited series with Dale S. Wright 7.3
    • Edited books by Masao Abe 7.4
    • Books on Asian religion in contemporary culture: East and West 7.5
  • External links 8

Research topics

Heine's research specialty is medieval East Asian religious studies, especially the transition of Zen Buddhism from China to Japan. He teaches a variety of courses including Modern Asia and Methods in Asian Studies at the graduate and undergraduate levels as well as Japanese Religion and Culture, Zen Buddhism, Asian Values in Business, and Religions of the Silk Road. He is also the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for his outstanding contribution to Japanese Studies.


Steven Heine received a B.A. in Religious Thought from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. He then went on to study at Temple University where he received an M.A. (1976) and PhD (1980) in Religion. After obtaining his degrees, Heine received the Fulbright Fellowship for the study of Dogen’s collected Japanese poetry at Tokyo University and Komazawa University.

Teaching and research career

Heine lectured at Villanova University in Religious Studies from 1982-1987. In 1987, he became an Assistant Professor of Religion at La Salle University and taught there until 1991 when he moved to Penn State University and became an Associate Professor of Religious Studies. He left Penn State University in 1997 to work as Director of Florida International University’s Institute of Asian Studies. Since his arrival at FIU, Steven Heine has expanded Asian Studies and helped facilitate its growth at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The program also has an extensive outreach component. He is also editor of the Japan Studies Review and a review editor for Philosophy East and West.

Since joining Florida International University in 1997, Heine has created and developed the Asian Studies Program as one of the fastest growing interdisciplinary program in the southeastern region of the United States. From 2009-2012, Heine served as the founding Associate Director of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Florida International University (FIU), where he created and implemented the Master of Arts in Global Governance (MAGG) Program, oversaw various programs and centers in SIPA, and created the SIPA InteRegional Initiative. Currently, the Asian Studies Program at FIU offers a Bachelors in Arts in Asian Studies and Master of Arts in Asian Studies as well as an Asian Studies minor. The Asian Studies Program also offers two graduate certiciates in Asian Studies and Asian Globalization as well as several undergraduate certiciates programs in Asian Studies, Asian Globalization and Latin American Studies, Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and South and Southeast Asian Area Studies. A new interdisciplinary major in Japanese Area Studies, which is a branch of the Asian Studies B.A. degree, will be offered beginning in Fall 2013.

Public lectures

Heine has given a number of lectures at national and international venues, including several lectures in March 2011 at McGill University in connection with the Montreal Zen Poetry Festival and the Hsaing lecture series, the Harshbarger Lecture at Penn State University in April 2011, and a keynote at a memorial conference for the late William LaFleur at the University of Pennsylvania.


Heine has received numerous grants to develop Asian Studies at FIU and has overseen well over $2 million in external funding, including projects awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Japan Foundation, the Freeman Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Heine has also received grant funding that helped to create five full-time faculty positions, including three in Asian languages, resulting in a vigorous program at FIU. He has directed the "JapaNet" teacher training project funded by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and directs a branch of the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA).


In spring 2004, Heine received the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Award. He was the only non-Japanese or Japanese-American among the recipients of the award in the Florida state district. This was bestowed for lifetime achievement in service to the exchanges between Japan and America and contributing to the benefit of Japan-U.S. relations.

Heine was awarded the Kauffman Entrepreneurship Professors Award in 2006 by the Florida International University’s Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center housed in the College of Business Administration that has led to research and a seminar on Asian cultural values in business. The project is based on Heine’s book White Collar Zen: Using Zen Principles to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Your Goal.

On April 29, 2007, the Government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, which represents the fourth highest of eight classes associated with the award. This award is in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the advancement of the study of Japanese culture and the promotion of understanding of Japan.

In spring of 2009, Heine was appointed Associate Director of the School of International and Public Affairs, an assignment he performs along with his responsibilities as Director of Asian Studies. The following year, Heine completed his second two-term stint as a unit chair of the American Academy of Religion, including the chair of the Japanese Religions Group (1994-2000) and the founding co-chair of the Sacred Space in Asia Group (2004-2010).

An issue of the 2011 Religious Studies Review (Volume 37, Issue 3) was an examination of dedicated to Heine's work with two essays by him and one review article about him by Florida State University professor of religion Jimmy Yu. Yu’s essay shows that

Heine occupies a unique position as an original thinker and synthesizer.As a preeminent scholar of Dôgen and Japanese Zen, he has given us new theoretical lenses to examine areas in both Chan and Zen that are rich in cultural dimensions. He shows us that future Chan and Zen studies must be multivalent and must go beyond the confines of philosophical analyses, historicism, and canonical studies.


In addition to his teaching career, Steven Heine is an accomplished author of various books and articles that discuss Japanese culture and religion - particularly Zen Buddhism and the life and teachings of the Zen Buddhist Dogen. He is a leading scholar of Dōgen and has incorporated the latest studies from Japan into his research. His book Did Dōgen Go to China? What He Wrote and When He Wrote It is a comprehensive textual biography and study of the full extent of Dōgen’s works. Furthermore, he is an innovative interpreter of Zen in both a traditional and modern context and has translated and edited works by Masao Abe, the eminent modern Japanese thinker. Heine has also helped promote outstanding scholarship on Japanese religion and society and has won two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships.

In addition to more than two dozen books, Heine has also published dozens of articles in refereed journals and collections such as Journal of Asian Studies, Philosophy East and West, The Eastern Buddhist, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, and Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Choice has reviewed several of his books as, Did Dōgen Go to China?, Zen Skin Zen Marrow, and Zen Masters.

Books on Dōgen

  • Editor, Dōgen and Sōtō Zen: New Perspectives (Oxford University Press, forthcoming publication)
  • Editor, Dōgen: Textual and Historical Studies (Oxford University Press, 2012 ISBN 978-0-19-975446-5)
  • Did Dogen Go to China? What He Wrote and When He Wrote It (Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-19-530592-0)
  • The Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace (Dharma Communication, 2005, ISBN 978-1-882795-20-8)
  • Dogen and the Koan Tradition: A Tale of Two Shobogenzo Texts (SUNY Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-7914-1773-7 )
  • A Blade of Grass: Japanese Poetry and Aesthetics in Dogen Zen (Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1989, ISBN 978-0-8204-0627-5)
  • Existential and Ontological Dimensions in Heidegger and Dogen (SUNY Press, 1985, ISBN 978-0-88706-000-7)

Books on Zen Buddhism

  • The Kōan: Meaning and Metaphor (University of Hawai'i Press, forthcoming publication)
  • Like Cats and Dogs: Contesting the Mu Kōan in Zen Buddhism (Oxford University Press, pending publication)
  • Zen Skin, Zen Marrow: Will the Real Zen Buddhism Please Stand Up (Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-532677-2)
  • Opening a Mountain: Koans of the Zen Masters (Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0-19-517434-2)
  • Shifting Shape, Shaping Text: Philosophy and Folklore in Fox Koan (University of Hawaii Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-8248-2197-5)

Co-edited series with Dale S. Wright

Edited books by Masao Abe

  • Editor, Zen and the Modern World: A Third Sequel to Zen and Western Thought, by Masao Abe (University of Hawaii Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-8248-2665-9)
  • Editor, Zen and Comparative Studies: Part Two of a Two-Volume Sequel to Zen and Western Thought, by Masao Abe (University of Hawaii Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8248-1832-6)
  • Editor, Buddhism and Interfaith Dialogue, Part One of a Two-Volume Sequel to Zen and Western Thought, by Masao Abe (University of Hawaii Press, 1995, ISBN 978-0-8248-1752-7)
  • Editor, A Study of Dogen: His Philosophy and Religion, by Masao Abe (SUNY Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-7914-0838-4)

Books on Asian religion in contemporary culture: East and West

External links

  • Steven Heine
  • Asian Studies Program
  • Steven Heine Featured in Religious Studies Review)
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