Buddhist languages ​​teacher Diego Loukota dies at 38 of brain cancer

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

Professor Diego Loukota, a specialist in Buddhist languages, described by his peers as having a unique level of intelligence, died on March 17 from glioblastoma, an incurable form of brain cancer. He was 38 years old. Professor Loukota is survived by his wife, their three children and his parents.

Professor Loukota worked as an assistant professor of Asian languages ​​and cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Seiji Lippit, UCLA professor and chair of Asian Languages ​​and Cultures, described Professor Loukota: “His ability to work in so many languages ​​of the Buddhist tradition was unparalleled, and this allowed him to do work pioneering, establishing links between languages, texts and traditions. this had never been seen before. (UCLA Newsroom)

Professor Loukota's journey into Buddhism and Asian languages ​​and cultures began in his hometown of Bogota, Colombia, where he learned the basics of Sanskrit and Japanese by visiting used bookstores in the city. His inordinate talent for languages ​​became evident in 2014, while Professor Loukota was completing his doctorate at UCLA. One of her teachers, Stephanie Jamison, was teaching an Iranian languages ​​class and she was surprised to see Professor Loukota taking notes in Chinese.

Professor Loukota was fluent in seven modern languages ​​and eight ancient languages. UCLA Professor Stephanie Balkwill, who is married to Professor Loukota, said she only needed to spend a week in one place to learn the local dialect.

As a scholar, Professor Loukota's primary focus was the study of inscriptions and unpublished documents in the languages ​​of Central Asia, with particular attention given to how they contributed to the history of Buddhism and to the historic trade routes linking Asia to the Mediterranean region.

Professor Jamison, a specialist in Asian languages ​​and cultures and classics, said this about Professor Loukota's scholarship: "When I first met him, it was immediately clear that he would be unlike any student degree that I had until now. encountered – his broad knowledge base and the scientific maturity of the questions he asked were those of an experienced colleague.

“But despite his obvious superiority in all these courses, he never used it as a wedge between himself and his classmates. His goal was always to create a community, to instill in them the same enthusiasm for the subject that was so contagious in him – and he was remarkably successful. (UCLA Newsroom)

In addition to being a brilliant scholar and philologist, Professor Loukota had a deep understanding of the need to build community in academic spaces. His wife, Professor Balkwill, described his desire to provide mentorship and leadership to the community by stating, “He took great pride in being a Latino scholar in a field in which the Latinx community has historically been severely underserved. represented. And doing that at UCLA meant a lot to him. He was so proud to be at a university that was public and served the Latinx community as unambiguously as UCLA seeks to do. (UCLA Newsroom)

Professor Loukota was also a champion of the humanities in higher education. “He strongly believed that the humanities had a role to play in countering nationalist political agendas and inherently biased and unequal political agendas,” Professor Balkwill noted. “And better prepare students to deal with misinformation and social inequalities. » (UCLA Newsroom)

Both Professors Loukota and Balkwill studied at Peking University as undergraduates. Using his extraordinary ability to study and understand languages, Loukota learned Mandarin specifically so he could earn his master's degree at school. He met Balkwill while there and they married in Beijing in 2014. That same year, they moved to UCLA so Loukota could study with Professor Gregory Schopen for his doctorate.

See more

In memory: Diego Loukota, 38, specialist in Buddhism and “once-in-a-generation” intellect (UCLA newsroom)
PhD in Asian Languages ​​and Cultures Student Wins Prestigious Scholarship in Buddhist Studies (UCLA College Humanities)

Related news reports from BDG

Revered scholar and teacher Nyingma Nyichang Khentrül Rinpoche has passed away
Revered Buddhist scholar and teacher Tulku Thondup Rinpoche has passed away
The revered Buddhist scholar and Toulkou Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche is dead
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, revered Buddhist scholar and founder of the FPMT, has passed away
Gail Omvedt, American-born Indian scholar of Ambedkarite Buddhism and gender equality, dies at age 80
Michael Jerryson, pioneering scholar of Buddhism and violence, dies at age 47
Buddhist scholar CW “Sandy” Huntington dies at 71

Buddhist languages ​​teacher Diego Loukota dies at 38 of brain cancer appeared first on Buddhadoor Global.

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

Leave comments