The Most Ven. Pro. Dr. K. Dhammsami , DPhil (Oxford)

    An Introduction to Higher Education by Founder-Rector of SSBU

    Our university has the overall intention of bringing the best of traditional Buddhist studies in Buddhist countries mainly from Myanmar and also from other countries and also the best of western critical study together. You can see this in the way we form our departments. So, to promote the best of traditional studies, we have Tipitaka studies department which has Vinaya study unit, Sutta study unit, Abhidhamma study unit to represent the critical and academic approach that I myself and some of my colleagues like our Dean and Head of Pali department, Dr Pyi Phyo Kyaw and Dr. Aleix Ruiz-Falqués have been trained in England. So, we also have departments such as Buddhist sociology, Buddhist anthropology, Buddhist philosophy, Buddhist psychology and meditation, they represent the critical approach to Buddhist studies, you can see, for example, this is Abhidhammattha-sangaha by Bhikkhu Bodhi, this is the latest one, from Sayar Gyi Shwe San Aung and then Narada Thera and this is the latest one. But they still represent the traditional study, of course, in English. But this book by Professor Y. Karunadasa, a graduate of London university, his approach to Abhidhamma study is more critical. So, together they give us the best of both worlds. We study the Sutta; we study about Anatta, the central theme of Buddhism, non-self, but we also study PhD Thesis like this from oxford. Again, about another, you know, we try to look at the subject matter from both worlds.

    We study traditional meditation techniques in Myanmar and we also study from the canonical texts, in addition, we also look at the latest research findings about meditation. This is about compassion meditation. How do we do that? The way we do is, we emphasize writing, mainly in Asia, we have lost our earlier Buddhist tradition at Nalanda. Nalanda emphasized writing and reading, you know, senior students had to compile a text at Nalanda, that is why, they produced so many so many texts, so many good books. Sadly, many Asian universities don't preserve this writing culture. Nevertheless, Oxford University which came into existence 700 years after the Nalanda, still maintains this writing culture, a lot of essay writings. So, here, at our university we try to implement that, we teach students how to read this kind of academic books. This is published by Oxford University Press, published by Cambridge University Press. We teach them how to read and comprehend these texts and then produce, first, a summary, then an essay, then a bigger essay which we call coursework and then yet a bigger one, a bigger piece of writing which we call independent study research where students, okay, a student has to come up with his or her own topic and also proposal. We mark everything, we mark the proposal and we mark the essay as well and finally for postgraduate students, they have to write a thesis. So, this is how we guide our students in a progressive way, you know, to master writing, of course writing and reading, you know, you can't be separating them. So, you need to teach them how to read these books academically, in Pali, in English. So, if this is what you are looking for, welcome to our University.