Alan Gerard Wagner

Freelance Consultant

Translator, Scholar, Author, Actor


Alan Gerard Wagner is a Research Associate at the East Asian Civilisations Research Centre (CRCAO) in Paris. A specialist of medieval Chinese Buddhism, he received his Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University in 2008 with a thesis on the manuscript writings of a Chinese Zen Master, Layman Ruru (Yan Bing 顏丙, d. 1212). His research continues to focus on this corpus, in addition to topics in Buddhist philosophy and popular Buddhist literature.

Alan has lived in Paris since 2008, where he works as a freelance consultant in web and communications. His major clients include the Network Dynamics Group at the University of Pennsylvania, Le Gymnase du Management, and Groupe SeLoger. He was previously Webmaster / Lead Developer at The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, whose site won a Webby Award in 2003 as “The Best of the Web” in the Spirituality category.

In the theatrical realm, Alan’s experience extends to the time when he was first a stagehand and then Technical Director at Bridges Auditorium in Los Angeles, in the early 1990s. He is currently active as an author and performs regularly as an actor in the Moving Parts Theatre Group’s “Zooming Parts” series. His latest work, Lives of the Buddha, is a play composed primarily of excerpts from early Chinese Buddhist scriptures.

A native of Meadville, Pennsylvania, Alan has been a practicing Zen Buddhist for more than 25 years, with formal training in the Korean Kwan Um and Taiwanese Fagu Shan schools. On his days off he enjoys exploring Europe on a Harley-Davisdon Softail Low Rider.



“The Zen of Theseus: Language and Reality from a Buddhist Philosophical Perspective”
In Playing with Reality: Denying, Manipulating, Converting, and Enhancing What Is There, ed. Sidney Homan (London: Routledge, 2022), p. 118-125.

“The Discourse Record of Layman Ruru and Its Transformations in Canonical Liturgical Materials”
In Production and Preservation of Buddhist Manuscripts in Central and East Asia, eds. Ru Zhan et al. (Singapore: World Scholastic, 2020), p. 358-402.

“Practice and Emptiness in the Discourse Record of Ruru Jushi, Yan Bing (d. 1212), a Chan Buddhist Layman of the Southern Song”
Ph.D. dissertation, Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University, 2008.

“Studying the Menu”
In The Buddha’s Apprentices: More Voices of Young Buddhists, ed. Sumi Loundon (Boston: Wisdom, 2006), p. 54-58.

World Religions in Boston: A Guide to Communities and Resources
Co-editor with Diana Eck and Elinor Pierce (International Institute of Boston, 2000).

Theatrical Works

Lives of the Buddha
Just before reaching Buddhahood, Siddhartha unlocks the secrets of his previous lives in this new play composed principally of excerpts from early Chinese Buddhist scriptures.

Les Vies du Buddha
The French version of the above play, with translations from classical Chinese by Édouard Chavannes (1865-1918).

Zen Games
A short play which brings classical Zen teachings to life for the audience, who may participate in them along with the characters.

80s Alive
A spoken-word celebration of pop music’s greatest decade.


Moving Parts Theatre Group, Paris (2020-present)
Alan has performed a wide variety of roles through 10 online readings of short plays in the group’s “Zooming Parts” series.

Fast Fiction Podcasts (voice, 2022)
Performed as Herb, a veteran reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, in Champagne, Collecting and Collaboration.

Le Gymnase du Management, Paris (2013-present)
Alan has performed as The Manager in hundreds of short management training videos, in English and French.

Social Media