Message from Director of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong

Buddhism is a growing force in the world. In recent years there has been a tremendous upsurge of interest in the religion, particularly in America and Europe. We have also seen a worldwide increase in academic interest in the relationship between science and Buddhist teachings.

As a consequence of this development, interest in and study of Buddhism is no longer restricted to believers and religious academics but has attracted wider participation by people in many other fields and religious backgrounds. This has in turn produced an even richer pool of talent and knowledge that will enrich serious Buddhist studies.

In line with this trend, the Centre of Buddhist Studies of The University of Hong Kong was established in September 2000 to promote the study of and research into all aspects of Buddhism and its relevance to the world of today. The Centre is a self-funded academic centre relying on generous donations and support from benefactors. It is the first of its kind to be set up in Hong Kong.

Since 2002, the Centre has been offering a broad range of Buddhist studies at postgraduate research (MPhil/PhD), Master and undergraduate levels. The degrees are awarded through the Faculty of Arts. Our courses covering social application, Indian Buddhism, Chinese Mahayana, Buddhist Canonical languages and others are taught by a team of renowned Buddhist scholars from around the world.

We believe our programmes of studies offer a new dimension on the study of Buddhism. The traditional approach of study was based on learning religious texts and commentaries and was largely conducted in monasteries and specialised institutes. Our programmes go far beyond this by offering new perspectives on many other areas not traditionally associated with the study of the religion. The programmes will offer students the opportunity to study Buddhism not only as a religion but also as a philosophy, an ethics system and in metaphysical terms. They will also be of interest to those who wish to learn more about the international academic research being carried out into the relationship between science and Buddhism.

Through a fundamental understanding of Buddhist teachings, the programmes will enable students to develop better mind and life-management skills. In particular, our Master of Buddhist Studies Programme (MBS) and postgraduate research programme leading to the award of MPhil and PhD degrees provide participants with the opportunity to explore how Buddhist teachings may add a new dimension to the science of the human psyche and how their application may enhance effectiveness in their personal and professional lives.

We believe that Hong Kong uniquely combines an Eastern culture and tradition with all the dynamism of an ultra-modern and cosmopolitan society and therefore provides the perfect setting for an academic centre that offers Buddhist studies set firmly in an international context.

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