David R. Hayworth College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Mark Toole

Mark TooleDr. Mark Toole |

Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy


Ph.D. University of Denver (Comparative Religious Studies, Asian Religious Traditions)

M.Div Chicago Theological Seminary (Theology)

B.A. DePauw University (Sociology)


Areas of Specialization:

Rituals and Philosophies of Japan

China and India

Comparative Religious Studies


Buddhist and Daoist Conceptions of the Environment


Courses Taught at HPU:

Honors Senior Symposium

Buddhist Traditions: Zen & Pure Land

Religions of Japan

Contemporary Buddhist Developments

Introduction to Buddhism – Honors

Sacred Experiences and World Religions – Honors

Asian Thought and Global Concerns – Honors

Religions of East Asia

Religions of South Asia

Human Images in World Religions

Eastern Philosophies and World Religions

Sages, Monks, and Ascetics


Dr. Toole was born in Tachikawa, Japan.  He lived in the nearby town of Fusa before returning to the United States with his family. After living in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin his family settled in the Chicago area, which he considers to be his true “hometown.” Some of his recent public and/or invited talks include: “Before Fodors There Was Xuanzang: Pilgrimage to India By The Book,” “Confucianism & Transcendence: The Ritualization of Social Structure,” “Dharma, Karma, and Samsāra: An Examination of Ancient Indian Concepts,” “Posing as the Buddha: The Construction of Self Identity,” “Vedantic Philosophy and Inception,” and “What Would Buddha Do? Reflections on Blind Turtles, Hamster Wheels, and Washing Dishes.” Dr. Toole looks forward to leading upcoming student study/service trips to Peru and India as an extension of his scholarship, as well as offering new courses on the role of mountains and pilgrimages in the world religions. Toole also serves as faculty advisor for the HPU PRIDE student organization, the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and the Odyssey Club of the Honors Scholar Program. Along with his wife and two daughters, Dr. Toole lives in Greensboro, NC.






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