The Department of Buddhist Studies seeks to offer a unique learning environment for those seeking to deepen their understanding of Buddhist teachings, history, languages and practice. In addition to offering courses covering a wide range of scholarly topics in the field of Buddhist Studies, the department’s undergraduate and graduate programs also strive to integrate Buddhist practice (行門) in its various forms with the academic study of Buddhist thought and history (解門). While academic research and study is conducted free of religious sectarianism and in accordance with secular standards of academic neutrality, the programs’ theoretical and practical dimensions are intended to be mutually supportive in the furthering of one’s personal cultivation and studies. Departing from the modern paradigm of an exclusive focus on the student’s scholarly development, the program endeavors to offer a holistic approach to higher education by enriching one’s intellectual pursuits with the practice of time-honored methods of spiritual cultivation.
Over the course of their studies, students may also expect to benefit from a steady flow of outstanding Taiwanese and international visiting scholars. Their academic experience is further enriched by attending the department’s numerous conferences, lectures and workshops. In addition to interacting with exchange students and visiting PhD candidates from around the world, students are also given the opportunity to study abroad in one of the Institute’s partner institutions.
Owing to Master Sheng Yen’s wish to promote the study of Buddhism free of sectarian bias, courses at the department of Buddhist Studies cover the colossal cultural and philosophical monument which is Buddhism, from its inception in ancient India to its unique developments in China and Tibet. In addition to these subjects, the study and development of Buddhist Informatics has played and continues to play an important role in the institution’s identity (formerly under the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies). Students and researchers in this field seek to utilize information technologies to develop new tools for academic research (i.e. digital humanities) or promote wider access to Buddhist knowledge and teachings (through text digitization, etc.). Another noteworthy feature of both undergraduate and graduate programs is the curriculum’s focus on the acquisition of the linguistic skills necessary for a rigorous study of Buddhist thought (Sanskrit, Pali and Tibetan for classical languages, and modern Japanese and English for research languages). For more information, please refer to the language page.
In order to help them plot a coherent and manageable course of study through this vast expanse of knowledge, graduate students are asked to choose from one of four specializations or groups (組別);
- Indian Buddhism (漢傳組)
- Chinese Buddhism (印度組)
- Tibetan Buddhism (藏傳組)
- Buddhist Informatics (資訊組)
The students’ specialization determines the general focus of their studies while still allowing them to choose a number of courses from other groups. A description of each specialization may be found at this page. For information on the department’s undergraduate program, please refer to this page.
In order to cover such a vast range of topics, the department currently employs 12 full-time professors for a total of 3 specialists per group, ensuring quality training and guidance relevant to the research interests of each student. For an overview of faculty members, please refer to this page.
Courses in Buddhist Practice
As part of the wider Dharma Drum Mountain (法鼓山) organization, the Institute enjoys access to exceptional facilities (meditation halls, retreat centers, etc) and teachers who have trained under Master Sheng Yen in the methods of practice of Chan Buddhism (禪宗). These courses allow students to study and cultivate various forms of Buddhist practice throughout their studies. As such, practice courses form an integral part of the undergraduate and graduate curricula. For an overview of the practice courses please refer to this page.