And being taught about non-violence from the Jain tradition as well as Buddhist traditions has had a profound effect on my thinking. Their different understanding about self-defence and opposition to all forms of violence (especially for Jain) plays a central role in a major paper (and probably short book) I'm working on about why the just war tradition is based on a mistake. (Wait for the paper to get the full picture - or invite me to give the paper to your department!)
And don't jest about the dissertation topic. Years later at a Hegel Society of Great Britain conference at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, there were various talks exploring Hegel on religion. Several speakers compared and contrasted Hegel's insights with others like Nietzsche. I don't recall my specific argument, but I had raised an objection about a comparison between Hegel and Nietzsche noting their different views on Buddhism. During the coffee break, one of the conference delegates -- Dr Rowan Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury (and a serious scholar on the reception of Hegel's theological work in the Russian Orthodox tradition) -- remarked that he thought my point was a bit unfair on Nietzsche. (And I never thought I'd hear something like that from someone in his position - but Rowan was and is a remarkable man.) Our conversation had ended with my saying that, while I was not a Buddhist, if I was, then I'd be a Mahayana Buddhist motivated agreeing more with their view of the self and other. To my surprise - and delight! - Rowan replied that he was not a Buddhist either (in case I needed reminding) but, if he had to choose, he'd be a Mahayana too. (And I most certainly never thought I'd hear anything like that - which only endeared me to him even more.) But if not for Joy, I might not have delved deep enough to appreciate the differences between the Mahayana, Theravada, Tibetan, Zen and other Buddhist traditions.
I served as a teaching assistant for Joy during my time at Arizona State. I supported his teaching political thought and a class he taught on "Legal Theory". This was my very first introduction to the subject (with the daunting challenge of having to mark undergraduate essays in a subject that I had not formally studied as an undergraduate myself). This has left a significant mark as I discovered how much I enjoyed jurisprudence which he introduced me to. After my MA, when I went to UCD, I took a class on jurisprudence (with Gerard Casey) and then, for my PhD, devoted a quarter of my thesis to Hegel on legal theory (comparing his views to those of Ronald Dworkin) and a further chunk to his theory of punishment. Joy gets much credit for introducing me to Hart, Austin, Dworkin, Fuller and more -- and, of course, many years later jurisprudence has become a part of my calling.
I further learned from Joy as a teacher. He taught the political theory core on my MA. This suited me beautifully as my interest - like his - was primarily historical and oriented towards non-Western ideas. So a class focused mostly on the history of political thought and ending with work on engaged Buddhism fit the bill. During this time, he fascinated me with the work of Dr Ambedkar, a hugely significant figure in India's independence.
I also sat his South Asian Politics class. This was more difficult. The class met Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 50 minutes starting at about 7.30am. Joy would enter with his walking stick and little else. He would sit on the front table and, in an engaging conversational style, would enlighten as much as he would entertain.
Joy was also eccentric. He taught kung fu (if I recall) for many years and would regularly invite graduate students to punch his stomach to show his fitness. Of course, none of us dared as he was already nearing retirement at that time. But I know of one fellow student who agreed (happening after I left ASU) and, well, it didn't quite go as either imagined. But that was Joy. Full of life and ready for anything.
I'll end with a story he liked to tell. An old man was walking up a mountain. Along the way he lost various possessions including his mandala, his walking stick and more until it was just him alone - an blind - at the mountain's summit. "It was only then that he could see," Joy would say with his infectious smile. I very much hope Joy is in that same heavenly place.
Ok, one more. He also used to like a Buddhist parable where a man gave his life for his dog. (Joy loved his dogs.) And in so doing, he reached nirvana. Enjoy nirvana, Joy.