Franz’s background and varied professional achievements combine the spiritual and the scholarly, religious feeling and critical thinking. He began his graduate studies almost 30 years ago (yes, he’s getting a bit long in the tooth), at the Graduate Theological Union, Master’s degree through comparing Buddhist and Catholic spiritual retreats. He earned a doctoral fellowship to the University of Chicago and pursued his abiding personal interest in Zen by writing his dissertation on the question, “Why do Americans practice Zen Buddhism?” He was awarded distinction on both his doctoral exams and his dissertation, receiving his PhD in 1997.
In the ivory tower, Franz is Past President of the American Academy of Religion, Western Region, and has participated in numerous scholarly meetings in addition to organizing one (which is way harder). He has published various articles and chapters on contemporary Buddhism and Buddhism and the family, and is founding book review editor of the Journal of Global Buddhism. Franz has taught religious studies at California State University, Los Angeles, for longer than he cares to reflect on.
Down from the tower, Franz is a founding member and current director of the Forge Institute for Spirituality and Social Change. He is also author of five books, including What Would Buddha Do?, a best seller published in over a dozen languages. His latest is Being Buddha at Work. He continues to inquire into Buddhism and psychology, both academically and personally. His most beloved project (though he’s losing control over it) is his daughter, Pearl Miroku, who’s named after either an old car or the coming Buddha. Oh, and he’s working on a historical-spiritual-detective novel, set in and around the sangha during the life of the Buddha. Prayers might be in order.