Graduate Program


Graduate Program

Program Description

Course Descriptions

The Master of Arts in Buddhist Classics

The Master of Arts program in Buddhist Classics provides an understanding and appreciation of Buddhism through close reading and careful analysis of its primary sources: sūtras/suttas, abhidharma and śāstras, and śīla texts. It is designed to expose students to key ideas and issues of the Buddhist philosophical tradition as conveyed through its rich and diverse collected works.

The integrated curriculum consists of six core seminars spread out over a two-year course of study focusing on major and minor works that cover the wide range of genres, styles, practices, and forms that make up the Buddhist experience. This core is complemented by five courses on hermeneutics, comparative and Buddhist, which examine methods and theories of interpretation, and a language study component based on the idea that grasping the meaning of a text is enhanced by reading it in its original language.

Buddhist texts are primarily spiritual documents, and the spirit alone can fathom them. —Edward Conze (1904 – 1979)

The MA program in Buddhist Classics approaches the texts in the spirit of their original aim—as a body of teachings whose primary function is both intellectual and soteriological—providing both the theory and practice conducive to awakening, liberation, and an end to suffering [duḥkha]. . . read more


Who pursues an MA in Buddhist Classics?  While the MA in Buddhist Classics can provide a grounding for students who wish to pursue graduate or doctoral work in Asian Studies, classics, Buddhist studies or similar degrees, that is not its only, or even primary, intent. Many students choose to join the program for their own enrichment or spiritual development. For others, it can further professional development, enhance almost any career, or simply enlarge their world view stimulated through an immersion in the Buddhist way of life. The program allows individuals to reach personal understanding of both the teachings in Buddhist texts and the contemplative exercises that can inspire personal growth and professional innovation. By the end of the program, students should be able to explain and discuss Buddhist practices, methods, and concepts in a “language” that is integrated with the cultural and intellectual thought-ways of the West and the larger modern world.


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Dharma Realm Buddhist University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001.