Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, is a respected scholar of the renouncer religious traditions of India: Yoga, Jainism, and Buddhism. His research and work as founder and director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University has been recognized with a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award.
Chapple is currently in India, with Fulbright support, undertaking research on Jain Yoga and religious pluralism. His methodologies combine text study, field study, historical analysis, theological reflection and interviews with Sanskrit scholars, Jain monks and nuns, as well as members of the community. The research gained from this immersive experience builds on his earlier studies of Yoga texts, and will result in a new translation and interpretation of the “Yogabindu,” a sixth century text composed by Svetambara scholar Haribhadra Virahāṅkha.
As a Fulbright grantee, Chapple joins the ranks of distinguished participants in the flagship international educational exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. government, which aims to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright alumni include 59 Nobel Laureates, 84 Pulitzer Prize winners, 72 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.
“I am honored and humbled by this recognition and grateful to both the Fulbright Program and LMU for their support of my research and work,” said Chapple. “This project is key to understanding Yoga’s cross-cultural, inter-religious, nationalist and international appeal, while also exploring the broader context of modern Yoga in India.”
His time in India also includes a public lecture series, which will be crucial to his development of further programming for LMU students on the topic of Yoga in its contemporary and historical forms, particularly in relationship to Jainism.
Chapple has published more than 20 books on topics that include studies of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, and religion and ecology. In 2002, he established the first of several certificate programs in the study of Yoga at LMU’s Center for Religion and Spirituality and founded LMU’s Master of Arts in Yoga Studies in the fall of 2013. The program, in its seventh year, is the first of its kind in North America and was recently recognized in the Journal of Sport History (Spring 2019) as an “academic umbrella that helps legitimize the scholarly study of yoga and its many iterations.”
Reporter Taina Rodriguez-Berardi is a Yoga Studies graduate student.