Ernest Billings (Billy) Brewster received his Ph.D. from Harvard University’s EALC in 2018 with a dissertation titled, the “Yoga of Dying: Xuanzang on the Nature of Death”. This study examines the investigation undertaken by Xuanzang 玄奘 (602–667 C.E.), the translator and peripatetic scholar-monk of the Tang Dynasty, and his translation team, into the nature of dying. It finds that within their exegeses and translations of the Abhidharma and Yogācāra texts, Xuanzang and his collaborators, restore the Buddhist tenets of no-self, karma, and reincarnation, and provide the doctrinal basis for deathbed rituals that are practiced across East Asia today.
Billy is currently Sheng Yen Postdoctoral Fellow in Chinese Buddhism at UBC, Vancouver. He has primary research interest in Chinese Buddhism, with strong secondary interest in classical south Asian religions and philosophy. Recently, Billy has published on theoretical debates on Yogācāra Buddhist doctrines of intersubjectivity and “same world” in the context of Ming-Dynasty Philosophy, see his article in the Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies (Vol. 31, July 2018), titled, “What is Our Shared Sensory World? Ming-Dynasty Debates on the Huayan versus Yogācāra Doctrines.”