Jeffrey R. Timm

Professor of Religion
Chair of the Religion Department


Phone: 508-286-3695


Ph.D., M.A., Temple University
B.A., Washington College


I love teaching at Wheaton.  In a small, sustainable department with excellent colleagues I get to teach everything asian.  What could be better!   Here’s my passion:  introducing students to the ancient and living wisdom traditions like Yoga, Vajrayana Buddhism and Zen as contemplative (and fun) alternatives to the demoralized, consensus reality of advertising culture, consumerism and global market capitalism.   Over the past decade my research and my teaching projects have taken me to Bhutan repeatedly.  [e ma ho, how incredibly fortunate i am.]  Most recently, through a research collaboration with faculty at the Institute of Language and Culture Studies and the Royal University of Bhutan,  I have traveled throughout western Bhutan seeking traces of the divine madman, Drukpa Kunley, who left his mark on the region during the 15th century, and who remains very much alive in the hearts and minds of the Bhutanese people today.

Main Interests

Asian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, contemplative studies, meditation and yoga, contemporary shamanism, altered states of consciousness, biogenetic structuralism and neurophenomenology.

Other Interests

Zen meditation, collecting Buddhist scroll paintings, travel “beyond the west’, growing tomatos and roses.  All of which is intimately connected to my life as a scholar and a teacher.

Teaching Interests

I am interested in presenting the world’s religions as alternative answers to basic questions about life that human beings have asked across cultures and through history. I enjoy introducing Asian religions to my students, as well as teaching courses that focus on mysticism, spirituality and the cross-cultural philosophy of religion. My teaching style is dialogical and interactive and I am delighted by students who challenge my thinking and motivate me to develop new questions about the material we study together.

Research Interests

I am currently exploring Buddhism, especially its conceptual model of psycho-spiritual dynamics and its social philosophy. Over the past decade I have studied Bhutan’s Himalayan Buddhist culture, Vajrayana Buddhism and “gross national happiness,” the application of Buddhist principles and methods in that country’s cautious approach to development. In this context I’ve been thinking about the connections between spiritual disciplines and practices (like prayer and meditation) and social activism, service and moral transformation.  Most recently I have analyzed the Drukpa Kunley folkloric narrative, popular stories about the divine madman of Bhutan intimately associated with the country’s sacred landscape.





Knapton 103


By appointment: please email me for an appointment.