Browse the List of Buddhists below. View
join the discussion
on this topic.
Add List of Buddhists
to your Like2do.com topic list for future reference or
this resource on social media.
List of Buddhists
This is a
list of notable Buddhists, encompassing all the major branches of the religion (i.e. in Buddhism), and including interdenominational and eclectic Buddhist practitioners. This list includes both formal teachers of Buddhism, and people notable in other areas who are publicly Buddhist or who have espoused Buddhism.
Historical Buddhist thinkers and founders of schools
Individuals are grouped by nationality, except in cases where their influence was felt elsewhere.
Gautama Buddha and his immediate disciples ('Buddhists') are listed separately from later Indian Buddhist thinkers, teachers and contemplatives.
Buddha's disciples and early Buddhists
Buddha and his disciples; the world's tallest walking statue of the Buddha, in Kandy, Sri Lanka
 See also: Disciples of Gautama Buddha and Family of Gautama Buddha
The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama
Ananda, Siddhartha's cousin, personal attendant of the Buddha and one of his chief disciples
Devadatta, another cousin of Siddhartha and later rival who attempted to assassinate the Buddha
Hatthaka of Alavi
Maudgalyayana ( Pali: Moggallana), one of two chief disciples of the Buddha
Mahapajapati Gotami, Buddha's aunt and foster mother
R?hula, only child of Siddhartha and Yasodhar? before Siddhartha renounced and began his search for Enlightenment
Sariputta, one of the two chief disciples of the Buddha
Upali, foremost disciple in knowledge of the Vinaya
Visakha Yasodhar?, Siddhartha's wife before he renounced
Later Indian Buddhists (after Buddha)
Aryadeva, foremost disciple of Nagarjuna, continued the philosophical school of Madhyamaka
Asanga, founder of the Yogacara school, widely considered the most important Mahayana philosopher along with Nagarjuna
Ati?a, holder of the " mind training" teachings, considered an indirect founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism
Bh?viveka, early expositor of the Svatantrika branch of the Madhyamaka school
Bodhidharma, founder of Chan Buddhism
Bodhiruci, patriarch of the Dilun ( Chinese: ) school
Batuo, founding abbot and patriarch of the Shaolin Monastery
Buddhaghosa, Theravadin commentator
Buddhap?lita, early expositor of the Prasa?gika branch of the Madhyamaka school
Chandragomin, renowned grammarian
Candrak?rti, considered the greatest exponent of Prasa?gika
Dharmakirti, famed logician, author of the Seven Treatises; student of Dign?ga's student, v?ras?na; said to have debated famed Hindu scholar Adi Shankara
Dign?ga, famed logician
Garab Dorje, Indian founder of Dzogchen (Great Perfection) tradition
Kamalala (8th century), author of important texts on meditation
Luipa, one of the eighty-four tantric Mahasiddhas
Nagarjuna, founder of the Madhyamaka school, widely considered the most important Mahayana philosopher (with Asanga)
Nadapada (Tib. Naropa), Tilopa's primary disciple, teacher of Marpa the Translator and Khungpo Nyaljor
Padmasambhava (Tib. Guru Rinpoche), Indian founder of Tibetan Buddhism
Saraha, famed mahasiddha, forefather of the Kagyu lineage
ntarak?ita, abbot of Nalanda, founder of the Yogacara who helped Padmasambhava establish Buddhism in Tibet
Shantideva (8th century), author of the Bodhisattvacary?vat?ra
Tilopa, recipient of four separate transmissions from Nagarjuna, Nagpopa, Luipa, and Khandro Kalpa Zangmo; Naropa's teacher Vasubandhu, author of the and various Yogacara treatises; these may or may not be the same person Abhidharmaka
An Shigao, Parthian monk and the first known Buddhist missionary to China, in 148 CE
Dharmarak?a, Yuezhi monk, the first known translator of the Lotus Sutra into Chinese
Jñ?nagupta (561-592), monk and translator from Gandhara, Pakistan
Kum?raj?va (c. 401), Kuchan monk and one of the most important translators
Lokaksema, Kushan monk, first translator of Mahayana scriptures into Chinese, around 180 CE Prajñ? (c. 810), monk and translator from Kabul, who translated important texts into Chinese and educated the Japanese K?kai in Sanskrit texts
Bodhidharma, first patriarch of Chan Buddhism in China
Dahui Zonggao, 12th-century k?an master
Daman Hongren, fifth patriarch of Chan Buddhism in China
Dayi Daoxin, fourth patriarch of Chan Buddhism in China
Dazu Huike, second patriarch of Chan Buddhism in China
Faxian, translator and pilgrim
Guifeng Zongmi, fifth patriarch of the Huayan school
Hong Yi, calligraphist, painter, master of seal carving
Huangbo Xiyun, 9th-century teacher of Linji Yixuan
Huineng, sixth and last patriarch of Chan Buddhism in China
Ingen, 17th-century Chinese Chan monk, founder of the ?baku sect of Zen
Ji Gong, a Buddhist monk revered as a deity in Taoism
Jizang, founder of East Asian M?dhyamaka
Linji Yixuan, 9th-century Chinese monk, founder of the Linji school of Chan Buddhism
Mazu Daoyi, 8th-century Chan master
Moheyan, 8th-century Chinese monk, advocate of "sudden" enlightenment
Sanghapala, 6th-century monk (Mon-Khmer?) who translated many texts to Chinese
Sengcan, third patriarch of Chan Buddhism in China
Wumen Huikai, author of the Gateless Gate
Xuanzang, brought Yogacara to China to found the East Asian Yog?c?ra school; significant pilgrim, translator
Xueting Fuyu, 13th-century Shaolin Monastery abbot of the Caodong school
Yijing, pilgrim and translator
Yunmen Wenyan, founder of one of the five schools of Chan Buddhism
Yuquan Shenxiu, Tang dynasty, patriarch of "Northern School" sect of Chan Buddhism
Zhaozhou, 9th-century Chan master; noted for "Mu" koan Zhiyi, founder of the Tiantai school
Gampopa, student of Jetsun Milarepa and founder of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
Jigten Sumgön, founder of Drikung Kagyu Lineage
Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, founder of the Jonang school and advocate of the shentong philosophy
Longchenpa, one of the greatest Nyingma philosophers
Mandarava, important female student and consort of Padmasambhava
Marpa Lotsawa, student of Naropa and a founder of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism
Milarepa, foremost student of Marpa Lotsawa
Padmasambhava, Indian founder of Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism
Sakya Pandita, one of the greatest Sakya philosophers
Taranatha, important Jonang scholar
Je Tsongkhapa, 14th-century Tibetan monk, founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, based upon the Kadam Yeshe Tsogyal, important female student and consort of Padmasambhava
Bankei Y?taku (1622-1693), Zen master of the Rinzai school
D?gen Zenji (1200-1253), founder of the S?t? school of Zen, based upon the Caodong school
Eisai (1141-1215), travelled to China and returned to found the Rinzai school of Zen]
Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769), Rinzai school of Zen]
H?nen (1133-1212), founder of the J?do-sh? school of Pure Land Buddhism
Ikky? (1374-1481), Zen Buddhist monk and poet
Ippen (1234-1289), founder of the Ji-sh? sect of Pure Land Buddhism
K?kai (774-835), founder of Shingon Buddhism
My?e (1173-1232), monk of Kegon and Shingon Buddhism, known for his propagation of the Mantra of Light
Nakahara Nantenb? (1839-1925), Zen master and artist
Nichiren (1222-1282), founder of Nichiren Buddhism
Nikk? (1246-1333), founder of Nichiren Sh?sh?
R?ben (689-773), invited Simsang to Japan and founded the Kegon tradition based upon the Korean Hwaeom school
Ry?kan (1758-1831), Zen monk and poet
Saich? (767-822), founded Tendai school in Japan, also known by the posthumous title Dengy? Daishi
Shinran (1173-1263), founder of the J?do Shinsh? school of Pure Land Buddhism and disciple of H?nen
Takuan S?h? (1573-1645), Zen teacher, and, according to legend, mentor of the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi
Gemp? Yamamoto (1866-1961), Zen master Shinj? It? (1906-1989), founder of Shinnyo-en
Shin Arahan, primate of Pagan Kingdom, 1056-1115
Ledi Sayadaw, propagator of vipassan?
Mahasi Sayadaw, propagator of vipassan?
Sayadaw U Tejaniya, propagator of vipassan?
Mogok Sayadaw, propagator of vipassan?
Webu Sayadaw, propagator of vipassan?
Panditarama Sayadaw, propagator of vipassan?
Mingun Sayadaw, first monk in Myanmar to be awarded the title of Tipitakadhara, meaning Keeper and Guardian of the Tipitaka
Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung Sayadaw, founder of Maha Bodhi Tahtaung
Sitagu Sayadaw, founder and Supreme Head of the Sitagu Buddhist Academies
Ashin Nandamalabhivamsa, rector of International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University
Ashin Sandadika, well-known monk Ba Khin, propagator of vipassana meditation in the Ledi tradition
Historical rulers and political figures
Anawrahta (1015-1078), founder of the Pagan Kingdom and credited with introducing Theravada Buddhism there and reintroducing it in Ceylon
Ashoka (304-232 BC), Mauryan Emperor of ancient India, and the first Buddhist ruler to send Buddhist missionaries outside of India throughout the Old World ()
Brihadratha Maurya, last ruler of the Maurya Empire
Harsha (606-648), Indian emperor who converted to Buddhism
Jayavarman VII (1181-1219), king of Cambodia
Kanishka the Great, ruler of the Kushan Empire
Kublai Khan, Mongol khagan and founder of the Yuan dynasty of China
Hulagu Khan, Mongol ruler who conquered much of Southwest Asia
Menander I (Pali: Milinda), 2nd century BCE, a king of the Indo-Greek Kingdom of Northwestern India who questioned N?gasena about Buddhism in the and is said to have become an Milinda Pañha arhat
Mindon Min (1808-1878), last king of Burma and facilitator of the Fifth Buddhist council
Emperor Ming of Han
Mongkut, king of Thailand and founder of the Dhammayuttika Nikaya
Prince Sh?toku (574-622), mythologized crown prince and regent of Japan
Theodorus (1st century BCE), Indo-Greek governor, author of a Buddhist dedication
Wu Zetian (625-705), only female Empress Regnant in Chinese history
Emperor Wu of Liang () (502-549)
Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura (307 BCE-267 BCE), King of Anuradhapura B. R. Ambedkar (14 April,1891-6 December 1956), architect of indian constitution india
Tibetan Buddhist teachers
Dzogchen & Bon Teachers
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956), Indian Intellectual, jurist, scholar, political leader, Buddhist revivalist and architect of the Indian Constitution
Tara Brach (1953-)
John Crook (1930-2011), British ecologist, sociologist, and practitioner of both Ch'an and Tibetan Buddhism tradition
Josei Toda (1900-1958), peace activist and second president of the Soka Gakkai
Joseph Goldstein (1944-)
Han Yong-un (1879-1944)
Chittadhar Hridaya (1906-1982)
Hsuan Hua (1918-1995), Tripitaka Master; extensive English commentaries on the major Mahayana Sutras: Avatamsaka Sutra, Shurangama Sutra, Shurangama Mantra, Lotus Sutra, Diamond Sutra, and many others
Christmas Humphreys (1901-1983)
Daisaku Ikeda (1928-), prolific writer of Nichiren Buddhism, society, peace and nuclear abolition, and President of the Soka Gakkai International
Jack Kornfield (1945-), American book writer, student of renowned forest monk Ajahn Chah, and teacher of Theravada Buddhism
Dennis Lingwood (1925-)
Edward Salim Michael (1921--2006)
Nakamura Hajime (1911-1999)
Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945)
Gudo Wafu Nishijima (1919-)
Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990)
Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907)
Sheng-yen (1930-2009), religious scholar, one of the most respected teachers of Chinese Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism, and founder of spiritual and educational organization Dharma Drum Mountain
Tanaka Chigaku (1861-1939)
Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944), Japanese educator and founder of the Soka Gakkai
Robert Thurman (1941-), American author, editor and translator of books on Tibetan Buddhism, Je Tsongkhapa professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and co-founder and president of Tibet House U.S.
Brad Warner (1964-)
Alan Watts (1915-1973)
Robert Wright (1957-) 
Yin Shun (1906-2005) Noah Levine (1971-) is an American Buddhist teacher and the author of the books Dharma Punx: A Memoir (2004), Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries (2007), The Heart of the Revolution: The Buddha's Radical Teachings on Forgiveness, Compassion, and Kindness (2011), and Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction (2014).
Modern politicians, activists, and protesters
B. R. Ambedkar (1891-1956), Indian nationalist, jurist, scholar, political leader, philosopher, anthropologist, historian, economist, Buddhist revivalist and principal architect of the Constitution of India
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma; received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 (  Theravada)
Colleen Hanabusa, U.S. Congresswoman (2011-), Democrat and lawyer from Hawaii
Mazie Hirono, U.S. Senator (2013-), U.S. Congresswoman (2007-2013) and Democrat from Hawaii; first elected female Senator from Hawaii, first Asian-American woman elected to the Senate, first U.S. Senator born in Japan and the nation's first Buddhist Senator
Hank Johnson, U.S. Congressman (2007-) and Democrat from Georgia; one of the first two Buddhists to serve in the United States Congress (  Soka Gakkai International)
Eric Lubbock, 4th Baron Avebury (1928-2016), English politician and Liberal Democrat; served as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Orpington from 1962 to 1970 and served in the House of Lords, having inherited the title of Baron Avebury in 1971
Jiyul, a Buddhist nun from South Korea who fasted to stop destruction of Korean salamander lands (  Korean Seon)
U Thant (1909-1974), Burmese diplomat and third Secretary-General of the United Nations (1961-1971) ( Theravada)
Thích Huy?n Quang (1919-2008), Vietnamese Buddhist monk, dissident and activist; formerly the patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam; in 2002, he was awarded the Homo Homini Award for his human rights activism by the Czech group People in Need
Thích Qu?ng , Vietnamese Buddhist monk, current patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam; awarded the Homo Homini Award for human rights activism by the Czech group People in Need in 2002; nine-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee
Thích Qu?ng c (1897-1963), Vietnamese Mahayana monk and self-martyr for freedom of religion; burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963 ( Mahayana) Kiren Rijiju, Indian politician
Buddhist practitioners notable in other fields
Fabien Barthez, French goalkeeper (1994-2006) of 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000-winning French national football team (  Zen)
Roberto Baggio, Italian (1988-2004) footballer; in 1993, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or (  Soka Gakkai International)
Orlando Bloom, English actor (  Soka Gakkai International)
Kate Bosworth, American actress (  Soka Gakkai International)
Belinda Carlisle, American singer (  Soka Gakkai International)
Tisca Chopra, Indian actress (  Soka Gakkai International)
Edson Celulari, Brazilian actor
Chow Yun-fat, Chinese actor 
Leonard Cohen, Canadian singer/songwriter/poet (  Zen)
Penélope Cruz, Spanish actress and model 
George Dvorsky, Transhumanist, Futurist and one of directors of Humanity+ (  Secular Buddhism)
Richard Gere, American actor (  Tibetan Buddhism)
Allen Ginsberg, poet (  Tibetan Buddhism)
Philip Glass, American composer (  Tibetan Buddhist)
Herbie Hancock, American pianist and composer (  Soka Gakkai International)
Steve Jobs, American businessman, entrepreneur, marketer, inventor and the CEO of Apple Inc  (  Zen)
Jack Kerouac, American novelist (  Zen and Tibetan Buddhism; also the Catholic Church)
k.d. lang, Canadian singer (  Tibetan Buddhism)
James Lecesne, American actor, author, screenwriter, LGBT rights activist, founder of The Trevor Project (  Soka Gakkai International)
Jet Li, Chinese martial artist, Hollywood actor (  Tibetan Buddhist)
Courtney Love, American singer-songwriter (  Soka Gakkai International)
Naima Mora, fashion model, winner of America's Next Top Model (  Soka Gakkai International)
Ellison Onizuka (1946-1986), U.S. Air Force Colonel and first Asian American astronaut of NASA (  Pure Land Buddhism)
Kenneth Pai, Chinese-American writer 
Steven Seagal, American actor and aikido expert (  Tibetan Buddhism)
Maya Soetoro-Ng, Indonesian American writer, university instructor and maternal half-sister of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States 
Oliver Stone, American film director 
Sharon Stone, American actress, producer, and former fashion model 
George Takei, American actor and author 
Tina Turner, American singer-songwriter (  Soka Gakkai International)
Marcia Wallace, American actress, voice artist, comedian (  Soka Gakkai International)
Naomi Watts, British-Australian actress and film producer
Faye Wong, Chinese singer and actress  (  Tibetan Buddhism)
Tiger Woods, American golfer   Michelle Yeoh, Malaysian actress 
Steve Jinks, character from Warehouse 13 
Daryl Dixon, character from The Walking Dead 
Kahn Souphanousinphone, character from the cartoon King of the Hill
Connie Souphanousinphone, character from the cartoon King of the Hill
Dale Cooper, protagonist of the television series Twin Peaks
Kyle Valenti, character from the television series Roswell
Enigma, a Marvel Comics superheroine
Lisa Simpson, feminist and daughter of Homer and Marge Simpson, character from the cartoon The Simpsons 
Carl Carlson, character from the cartoon The Simpsons 
Lenny Leonard, character from the cartoon The Simpsons 
Liu Kang, character from the video game and later movie, Mortal Kombat
Yoh Asakura, protagonist of the anime/manga Shaman King
Trini Kwan, original Yellow Ranger of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Wendy Wu, protagonist of the Disney Channel Original Movie Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
2D, lead singer and keyboardist of the British virtual band Gorillaz
Shi (comics), Crusade Comics' superheroine
Master Splinter, a Zen sensei/teacher to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Hiro Nakamura, protagonist character in TV series Heroes 
Xorn, Marvel Comics character and member of the X-Men
Gi, the Planeteer able to wield the element water
Green Lama, an American pulp magazine hero
Edina Monsoon (Eddy) from the TV sitcom Absolutely Fabulous
Jeremy, from the popular web series Pure Pwnage
God, from the animated cartoon South Park 
Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), DC Comics superhero
Sun Wukong, Monkey King in Chinese epic novel , and a fictional pupil of historical Chinese monk Journey to the West Xuanzang Charlie Crews, Zen Buddhist, protagonist of television series
Life Mary Elizabeth, character from the novel
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Hanamaru Kunikida, character from
Love Live! Sunshine!! Miroku, character from Japanese Anime Inuyasha.
"World's Tallest Walking Buddha". Buddhist Door International . Retrieved 2015.
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Damasio, Antonio (2017-08-07). "Assessing the Value of Buddhism, for Individuals and for the World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved .
^ a b c d e
"Top Ten celebrity Buddhists". Wildmind Buddhist Meditation. Wildmind.org. June 5, 2007 . Retrieved 2011.
"Hank Johnson, Congressman and Buddhist". About.com. December 14, 2009 . Retrieved 2012.
"South Korean nun ends 100-day fast for salamander". Daily Times. 5 February 2005. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012 . Retrieved 2012.
Lawrence, Ken (January 30, 2001). "Barthez looks like a Buddhist with a blind spot". ESPN . Retrieved 2016.
"Italy legend Roberto Baggio opens biggest Buddhist Centre in Europe". Forza Italian Football. October 28, 2014 . Retrieved 2016.
^ a b c d
"Top Ten celebrity Buddhists". Wildmind Buddhist Meditation. Wildmind.org. June 5, 2007 . Retrieved 2011.
Carlisle, Belinda (2011). Lips Unsealed: A Memoir. Three Rivers Press. p. 222. ISBN 9780307463500.
"Buddhism makes for a happy celeb!". Daily News and Analysis. October 16, 2012 . Retrieved 2016.
"Chow Yun-Fat biography and filmography: Dragonball: Evolution Actor". Tribute.ca . Retrieved 2011.
"Penelope Cruz: I want to grow old gracefully like Sophia Loren". Daily Mail. August 28, 2009 . Retrieved 2016.
Dvorsky, George. "George Dvorsky: About". Google+ . Retrieved 2011.
^ Morgan, Bill.
I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg. New York: Viking, 2006.
Gordinier, Jeff (March 2008), "Wiseguy: Philip Glass Uncut", Details , retrieved 2008
Silberman, Steve (October 28, 2011). "What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really?". NeuroTribes. Archived from the original on June 24, 2012 . Retrieved 2012.
Burke, Daniel (November 2, 2011). "Steve Jobs' private spirituality now an open book". USA Today . Retrieved 2012.
Ginsberg, Allen. "Negative Capability: Kerouac's Buddhist Ethic". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review . Retrieved 2016.
"The second coming of kd Lang". The Times. London. January 13, 2008 . Retrieved 2010.
"James Lecesne: The cofounder of The Trevor Project talks about the release of his new novella.", by Will Pulos, Next Magazine, October 12, 2012
"How did you come to follow Tibetan Buddhism?". The Official Jet Li Website. JetLi.com. May 21, 2001 . Retrieved 2001.
Lash, Jolie (18 November 2005). "Enduring Love". The Guardian . Retrieved 2011.
"Soka Gakkai International's 'Buddhist in America' Videos: The Spiritual Heart on Camera". Buddhist Door. 2015-05-23 . Retrieved .
Dart, John (February 1, 1986). "Astronaut Remembered as First Buddhist in Space". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2016.
Palladino, D. J. (September 28, 2006). "Peony Dreams". The Santa Barbara Independent . Retrieved 2011.
Solomon, Deborah (January 20, 2008). "All in the Family". New York Times . Retrieved 2016.
Lagrossa, Edward (October 20, 1997). "Stone Soul Booksigning". The Austin Chronicle . Retrieved 2011.
Lee, Luaine (October 17, 1998). "Sharon Stone's now at peace with her world". Deseret News. p. 2 . Retrieved 2011.
Altman, Alex (November 6, 2008). "Q&A: George Takei on Prop 8". TIME . Retrieved 2010.
Excerpt from Chapter 10: Our Love Is Here to Stay" from Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way, by Marcia Wallace, Marcia Wallace's Super Fine Wedding by Pamela Dumond, June 30, 2011, www.thepopculturedivas.com
China's Spiritual Awakening
Faye Wong Turns to Religion for Comfort
Wright, Robert (July 24, 2000). "Gandhi and Tiger Woods". Slate.com . Retrieved 2011.
Littlefair Wallace, Sam (August 13, 2015). "Actor Michelle Yeoh blends Buddhism & activism". Lion's Roar . Retrieved 2016.
^ Warehouse 13 (Season 3, Episode 1) "The New Guy"
The Walking Dead Episode 8 (Season 2, Episode 2) 'Bloodletting'
^ a b c The Simpsons Episode 275 (Season 13 Episode 6) "She of Little Faith"
"Religion of Hiro Nakamura; from Heroes (TV series): Season 1, Episode". Comicbookreligion.com . Retrieved .
South Park Episode 58 (Season 4, Episode 11) "Probably"