Buddhist Studies in India
A semester of study and meditation while living in a Buddhist monastery near the site of Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment.
On this fall semester program (late Aug – early Dec) in Bodh Gaya, India, students engage in the study and practice of Buddhism. Students take courses in Religion, Philosophy, Anthropology, History, and Hindi or Tibetan Language, while living in the Burmese Vihar (monastery). In addition, students practice and study meditation, and culminate the semester with an independent research project on a topic of their interest. Since 1979, the Buddhist Studies in India program has attracted elite scholars and practitioners as program faculty, and students from a wide-range of disciplines interested in Buddhism.
“I don’t think one can receive this experience anywhere else.”
- Conan Cheong, Wesleyan University
Immersion in Buddhist Practice and Traditions
The accommodations in the Burmese Vihar monastery provide students with a supportive and nurturing environment for study and practice. Students are expected to follow the five basic Buddhist ethical precepts, and attend two meditation sessions daily. In addition, living in Bodh Gaya, a center for Buddhist pilgrims who have constructed temples in the styles of Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Bhutan, and Tibet, provides a rich cultural immersion experience. Bodh Gaya is also home to a local population of Hindus and Muslims.
Independent Research/ Travel Period
During the final month of the program, students may travel in small groups within India to conduct research on a topic of interest to them. Previous topics include Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, Tibetan Medicine, A Nunnery in Dharmasala, and Dharma and Development.
On-Site Faculty/Staff and Support
Program Director Robert Pryor, Professor of Buddhist Studies, leads a diverse and highly qualified faculty with a variety of intellectual and cultural viewpoints. The team of faculty and staff provide a supportive environment for students’ academic and personal growth.