M.A. (Buddhist Studies) | M.A.BuddhistStudies

The M.A. (Buddhist Studies) programme is designed specifically to facilitate exploration of the interdisciplinary nature of this field. While the first semester focuses on building methodological and critical thinking skills, for the rest of the programme the student can select tracks in specific areas of interest: Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, Philosophy, and Modern Buddhism. For students who would like to pursue a broader focus, there is a track on “General Buddhism”.

The programme draws on the unique and separate skill sets of our faculty to offer a broad spectrum of courses for the student to pursue their interest in Buddhist literature, history, philosophy, art and architecture, all of which are framed within the context of the transmission of Buddhism across Asia. Learning about Buddhist art and architectural heritage occurs on-site and focuses on skill development and methodological concerns. Students also have the option to focus on aspects of modern Buddhism such as the contribution of Dr Ambedkar, socially engaged Buddhism, the mindfulness movement and the Buddhism and political legitimation in Southeast Asia. The programme includes skill development workshops on Brahmi, manuscriptology and museology. To equip the student for research, an audit course is compulsory in each semester, and students can study any of the three classical languages we teach – Prakrit, Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan.

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Key Information

Eligibility

Bachelor’s degree in Buddhist Studies; or in any other discipline (entrance exam will apply)

Pedagogy

Teaching-learning occurs in a combination of lecture and seminar format. Students are encouraged to reflect and engage with the materials from diverse perspectives and a “Journal” component is integral to several of the courses, to facilitate writing skills. Assessment occurs throughout the semester and most courses require an end-semester essay instead of an examination. Each semester includes a seminar on a related topic and opportunities will be created for inter-departmental exposure as well.

Curriculum

 
 
Semester I Semester II
Critical Concepts in Religious Studies Core Papers
Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy Group 1 (General Buddhism + Modern Buddhism)
Historiography Narrative:Text & Image Modernity & Modernism: Buddhist Manifestations
Archaeology & Discovery of Buddhism Group 2 (General Buddhism + Philosophy)
Audit Course (Elective Name) Narrative:Text & Image Karma, Dana, Punya, Nirvana
Buddhist Sanskrit: Grammar &Comprehension Group 3 (Pali + Philosophy)
Pali Grammar & Literature I Ethics & Eschatology Karma, Dana, Punya, Nirvana
Tibetan Language: Basic Group 4 (Pali + Modern Buddhism)
  Ethics & Eschatology Modernity & Modernism: Buddhist Manifestations
  Group 5 (Sanskrit + Philosophy)
  Lalitavistara & Biographical Literature Karma, Dana, Punya, Nirvana
  Group 6 (Sanskrit + Modern Buddhism)
  Lalitavistara & Biographical Literature Modernity & Modernism: Buddhist Manifestations
  Group 7 (Modern Buddhism + Philosophy)
  Modernity & Modernism: Buddhist Manifestations Karma, Dana, Punya, Nirvana
  Elective 1
  Rock-cut Architecture Buddhism on the Maritime Routes Buddhism on the Silk Route: China, Persia, Tibet and Kashmir Engaged Buddhism: A Tautology? Dharmas in Abhidharma
  Elective 2
  Iconography Liberation in this Life: Ambedkar’s Model of Buddhism as Social Action Buddhist Dialectics: Kathāvatthu & other debates
  Audit Course
  Buddhist Sanskrit: Translation & Critical Appreciation Pali Grammar & Literature II Tibetan Language: Basic

Differentiators

The Centre for Buddhist Studies has led the field in innovative curriculum design that addresses the learning needs of students who can engage full time, as well as those who pursue their passion part-time, at their own pace. The faculty have diverse specialisations, which is reflected in the syllabus.

The MA (Buddhist Studies) programme offers the student a wide range of electives to choose from, as specialisations such as Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan and Chinese, reflecting the major collections of Buddhist canonical materials. These electives are framed in ways that explore dissemination of Buddhism into different cultures, the impact of wealth and patronage, the large repository of art and architectural heritage while also addressing the political and social issues reflected in the process. There is emphasis on language study, which is included as an audit component.

Recognising that Buddhism is a living tradition, eminent members of the Sangha are regularly invited to or campus. This gives students an opportunity for experiential learning. The institution has had the privilege of hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama four times. ven. Dhammadipa, a Buddhist monk from the Czech republic, is an annual visitor who has taught several key programmes on meditation texts as well as led retreats.

The K J Somaiya Institute of Dharma Studies has a library with over 30,000 books, which is an important resource.

In addition to the workshops that are an integral part of this programme, students can attend seminars, workshops and field trips that are offered by the institution across the various disciplines. This creates opportunities of learning beyond the classroom and permits interaction with students pursuing different interests: this is a key feature of the learning experience on our campus.

The most unique aspect of our Centre is community engagement at our outreach project, Jetavan, in rural Maharashtra, which is available for students to visit and volunteer for engagement. The centre has been set up in collaboration with Godavari Biorefineries and Ven. Dhammadipa.

Programme Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the programme, a student will:

  • Have a good foundation in the methodology of religious studies, which emphasises diverse perspectives such as historical, philosophical, textual, art-historical as well as those of economics and anthropology.
  • Be equipped with tools to engage with a variety of texts, as well as art objects, inscriptions, customs and practices.
  • An understanding of the complex web of influencers, such as trade and wealth creation, kingship, patronage and power that played a decisive role in the transmission of Buddhism.