Universities which provide good education on dharma topics

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
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Re: Universities which provide good education on dharma topics

Postby Namgyal » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:13 pm

According a monk friend of mine there are three ways to practice. 1) Alternate between worldly employment and spiritual practice. This would mean working part time or studying in the evenings, combining the two as you go along. 2) Taking time out to practice. This would mean worldly employment full time, then stopping this for a month retreat, or taking some time off to study, then afterwards returning to your job. 3) Making practice all of your life, by for example running a Dharma centre, or becoming a monk.

Tom thinks that there are still viable elite pathways, but Huseng and I both think that all the conventional Western academic pathways are increasingly dead ends. So from my perspective, your doctorate would have to be as a private scholar, which is expensive and difficult. It can be done, slowly, on a part time basis or by correspondence in your free time, here in the West. Which if you have a family to support might be your best option. (Huseng's peripatetic scholarly life is only for single people). You could also save up lots of money and travel abroad for a while to study, for example at Rangjung Yeshe, then afterwards return home. In either case the rewards (which will be massive btw) should only be pursued as personal rewards to benefit your own understanding, and not as stepping stones to an academic career. Having said that, if you do return home with such skills you will be very popular in Western Dharma centres, and you will be able to help a lot of people. It is not an unrealistic aspiration, it is a noble one.
Best Wishes.
:namaste: R.

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Re: Universities which provide good education on dharma topics

Postby Indrajala » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:53 pm

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: Universities which provide good education on dharma topics

Postby Nikolay » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:22 pm

Thank you for your kind advice.

This is somewhat disappointing. Spending several years in Nepal or other country would be fine if I had a clear goal. Unfortunately, I do not think I am the kind of person fit for a single lifestyle, so financial considerations are important for me. I do not expect much in financial terms from working in academia, but I will need at least more-or-less acceptable average income. For now it looks like I would be able to finance my BA and maybe even MA/Ph.D without significant problems, but after that my future would be pretty bleak.
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Re: Universities which provide good education on dharma topics

Postby Sherlock » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:23 pm

BTW, I am actually from Singapore. I already know Chinese, but reading it can be quite tedious for me compared to English; the same goes for Japanese.

I doubt I will want to major in Buddhist Studies for my undergraduate studies; I'm looking more towards something to do with languages or linguistics (that is after all, one of the Pancavidyas) and at the same time, getting the opportunity to learn Tibetan and Sanskrit. This way, I think the opportunities for employment in conventional employment or Western academia are a bit more varied than if I start out immediately in Buddhist Studies.

I looked up a bit of info about traditional shedras. Most of them seem to be open only to monastics. Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok's Institution in Sichuan on the other hand seems to be very ecumenical and open. There are some details in Chinese about how to get there and the cost of living there. There are no entrance exams or limits on age; classes are mostly given in Tibetan but there are apparently even Han Chinese Khenpos who give classes in Mandarin as well. There are probably other chos gar in other parts of the Tibetan cultural sphere operating on similar principles -- I tried asking Antonio Terrone although he never replied. I encountered two monks (one from Kham, one from Amdo both Nyingma) walking along the street a few weeks ago and asked one of them who spoke some Mandarin about whether I as a lay person could go to one of these -- he seemed to answer affirmatively although I couldn't be sure because he spoke quite fast and with an accent. Attending one of these chos gar would probably require one to learn Kham dialect though.

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Re: Universities which provide good education on dharma topics

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:34 am

You might also want to look into Indiana University if you are interested in linguistics and Tibetan studies. The Central Eurasian studies department has the incredible polyglot and historical linguist Christopher Beckwith.


“In order to completely liberate the mind, cultivate loving kindness.” --

"The bottom always falls out of the quest for the elementary. The irreducibly individual recedes like the horizon, as our analysis advances." -- Genesis, Michel Serres

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