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K. J. Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies

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About

Owner: Somaiya Vidyavihar
Institute Type: other

This was exactly the spirit behind the founding of the Centre as borne out by its development over the next twenty years. Currently, the Centre offers a Ph. D. programme which has been received well not just in India but across Southeast Asia. Two years ago, a rigorous curriculum for MA (Buddhist Studies) was developed by the faculty of the institute, in consultation with senior scholars from the country. This is now offered under the University of Mumbai and extends the students’ exposure to the fields of philosophy, textual study, history as well as cultural and sociological aspects of Buddhism. With this course we started offering as electives not just the major languages of Indian Buddhism – Pali and Sanskrit – but also elementary Tibetan, fulfilling a long felt need for a window into the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

Research Activities: Over the years we have developed our faculty profile by collaborating with scholars from India and abroad in research projects. These have received support from the Ministry of Culture, by the Indian Council for Philosophical Research, Rashtriya Sanskrit Samsthan as well as by the Royal Thai government. Some key contributions to this field have been projects such as “Sanskrit Words in Southeast Asian Languages”, translation of a meditation manual written in the 5th century in Kuqa, in what is today part of Xinjiang province of modern China, and a volume that re-examined inscriptions in Thailand

The institute has also organized an international conference every two years, which has drawn some of the foremost scholars in Buddhism to present papers. In addition, we have a publications programme under which we publish monographs of exceptional quality of scholarship. This series has international scholars on the editorial board as well as members of the Sangha: Prof Charles Willemen of the Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences, Prof Akira Saito of Tokyo University, Prof Nobuyoshi Yamabe of Waseda University, Prof Asanga Tilakaratne of Colombo University, Ven. KhammaiDhammasami of the Oxford Buddhist Vihara and Ven. Geshe Dorji Damdul of Tibet House, New Delhi. The second volume in this series was released in November 2015. It is titled Buddhist Hells: The Northern Tradition and is the doctoral thesis of Dr Ineke van Put of Leuven University. The publication of these research works is tied in with a workshop by the author that allows our faculty and students a better understanding of the methodology and the content of research.

Community Outreach: Maharashtra has a large community that converted to Buddhism under the leadership of Dr Ambedkar. Sixty years on, the movement is still strong but the need for Dharma instruction remains high. In collaboration with Ven. Dhammadipa, a Buddhist monk from the Czech Republic, we have set up a learning centre at Sakarwadi, Ahmednagar District, where the Somaiya Group has a factory. We have been given land by the Somaiyas and a Buddha vihara along with a vocational training, Jetavan, was inaugurated on 7th January 2016. We are commencing classes in Pali language as well as introductory courses on Buddhism from 30th April 2016. We will also encourage meditation practice by regularly inviting senior monks and nuns to Jetavan so that the community is benefitted with their guidance and encouraged to pursue it as a daily routine.

At the K J Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies in Mumbai, we regularly invite members of the Sangha to teach Buddhist texts and apart from Ven. Dhammadipa, we have also had Geshes Lhakdor and Dorji Damdul, Ven. Dhammajoti of Hong Kong University and Ven. Sudhammacara from Japan teaching at our institute. The high point of this effort was in May-June 2014, when we were honoured to have the His Holiness the Dalai Lama stay on our campus and give teachings over four days that benefitted not just students and faculty but thousands of Mumbaikars as well. This was the first time such teachings were given in Mumbai by the Dalai Lama.

At that time, he laid the foundation stone of a new building, “Sanskriti”, that will house all the institutions dedicated to religious studies on the Somaiya Vidyavihar campus.  The new building will augment our physical facilities and provide us with the visibility that we have earned through our efforts in this niche area in Indian academics.

Summary
K. J. Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies is an other university. It is located at Aurobindo Building, Rajawadi Road Vidyanagar, Vidya Vihar East, Vidyavihar in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It offers the following educational courses, 1 Master/Post Graduate course.

Courses Offered by K. J. Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies

Master/Post Graduate [1]
MA Buddhist Studies (M.A.)
University of Mumbai
Duration 2 years full time

Location

Aurobindo Building, Rajawadi Road Vidyanagar, Vidya Vihar East, Vidyavihar
400077
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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