Nālandā University in general and the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy, and Comparative Religions in particular are about transcending geographical borders to share a new kind of international common sense and global responsibility. Nālandā is also about the gift of knowledge (ancient vidyā-dāna) that is meant to foster inspiration for a transformed global world rooted in cooperation and sharing -- knowledge must be spread, shared, and not just compounded or kept for oneself alone. Since its ancient inception, Nālandā has played a major role in sharing and exchanging knowledge across the globe. The actors who played a major part in these ‘exchanges’ were the Buddhist monks or teachers (ācāryas) Śubhākarasiṃha, Nāgārjuna, Atīśa, Nāgajñāna (a disciple of Nāgārjuna), his pupil Vajrabodhi, Amoghavajra (from India), Vajrabodhi’s disciple Huiguo (from China), Samantabhadra (from India or Śrī Laṅkā), Huiguo’s pupil Bianhong (from Java), and Kūkai (from Japan). Being a veritable cradle of Buddhist and Hindu learning, it was Nālandā that attracted such a great number of influential teachers and students from around India and the world. In accordance with this venerable heritage, the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy, and Comparative Religions seeks to promote a fertile intellectual churning ground, where the students and teachers feel comfortable and become enriched to share knowledge and inspire one another.
This School gives special emphasis to the study of Buddhist ideas and values in relation to other
philosophical and religious traditions. The wider social-historical-cultural contexts of the
development of Buddhist traditions are examined through an innovative and interdisciplinary
curriculum. The School fosters critical thinking and explores the wider cultural and historical
contexts of Buddhism in the different regions of Asia. The academic study of Buddhism,
Philosophy, and Comparative Religions incorporates the study of textual and archaeological
sources, and it supplements it with the historical and philosophical study of different forms of
Yoga from the Indus Valley to the present times. The dynamics of the spread of Buddhist ideas,
art, literature; archaeology of key Buddhist sites across Asia; the study of primary texts,
inscriptions, and Buddhist art and other artefacts; the comparison of and interactions between
various religious and philosophical traditions of Asia; and the theory and methods of the study of
religious, philosophical, and Yoga traditions constitute some of the focus areas of the School.
The modern manifestations of Buddhism and Yoga traditions and their contemporary relevance
could also be areas examined at the school.
The skills imparted to students extend from rigorous reading of literary and philosophical texts to
archaeological training. The School emphasises the study of Buddhism and its adjacent religious
traditions such as Samkhya, Tantra, and Vedanta in their full range of spiritual, regional, and
cultural contexts. It studies Buddhism, Yoga, Meditation, and other religious traditions, their
history, culture and ideas from a Religious Studies perspective which includes critically reflected
and applied theory and methodology.
The School as well offers training in classical language like Pali, Sanskrit, and Tibetan. With its strong emphasis on the Language component, the Master’s programme emphasises the reading of the primary Buddhist texts in different languages, and other religious texts with the objective of developing skills integral to pursuing a qualified Post Graduate research work with high standards of academic credibility.
This School inspires collaborative research and teaching and engages in a wide range of inter- disciplinarity. Graduates in this School will be eligible for employment in Regional Studies, Area Studies, Religious Studies, Yoga Studies organisations that work with inter cultural and multi-cultural issues. Training in Buddhist, Religious Studies, Yoga, and Philosophy imparts transferable interdisciplinary skills enabling graduates to pursue careers in varied fields such as in Indology, Philology, Buddhology, Comparative Linguistics, Archaeology, other than opening up professional avenues as Museum curators, Archivists/Librarians, Commentators on Tantra and Yoga, Peace Activists, Cultural Administrator, and so on.
The School gives special emphasis to the study of Buddhist ideas and values and their historical development in relation to other philosophical and religious traditions.
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