Sherlock wrote:I think Huseng is talking about larger centres, probably affiliated to a large monastery.
Well from what I've seen if you're willing to live in Nepal or India you'll live comfortably by local standards. Lunch might be dal and rice everyday at the monastery cafeteria, but pizza in Kathmandu is cheap.
If you had a PhD even from an Asian university somewhere it'd be sufficient to work and live with a proper visa in Buddhist colleges around the subcontinent (or even come to Taiwan and be a resident scholar at one of the Buddhist universities). It wouldn't count for anything in the western world, but that's a worldly concern anyway and not motivated by bodhicitta
. The academic world in the west is becoming more and more corrupt anyways with less and less funds being directed towards the traditional humanities. Business and anything commercially or militarily valuable will get funded, which of course means Buddhist Studies receives minimal concern. I don't foresee a bright future for Buddhist Studies in the western world anyway. General interest is declining. It isn't politically relevant to many people anymore either. It had its heyday in the last two decades maybe, that won't happen again. Universities have become commercial enterprises that service private interests.
I doubt you'd get similar support in the western world as you would in Asia, but like I said this is in the context of living in South Asia (or possibly East Asia if your skills and interests take you here). Living in the third world isn't always so nice, but it is often quite down to earth, homely and easygoing. It can be dysfunctional as hell, too, but the trade-off is not having strict schedules to abide by, and very flexible rules for everything. The cost of living is very low and even with a salary of less than US$1000/month you live better than 95% of the population. Even here in Taiwan, which is plush compared to India, as a western expat you make 50% more than most locals just by virtue of your passport.
I was asked not too long ago if I was capable of translating Tibetan because a certain college in Nepal really needed Tibetan-English translators. Unfortunately, I don't know Tibetan yet. I will study it in the future though.
I'm not a scholar and translator of Buddhist texts for the money. In fact I feel ashamed saying I get paid to translate Dharma texts, though that's my reality for the moment. I don't really make that much money anyhow, though without kids, a car or a home to pay for I'm quite comfortable by my own meek standards. I spend 40 hours a week in an office reading and translating texts and essays related to Buddhism. Last year I was sitting in a cafe in Dharamsala, India typing away on my PC and translating a text. I could roll out of bed at 10am, have a late breakfast and then commence working for a few hours before strolling on down to Namgyal Monastery to do some prostrations. One of the happiest times of my life. I have a MA degree in Buddhist Studies and know both Japanese and Chinese with a specialization in Classical Chinese, and strangely enough it enabled me to be a roaming poorly-groomed though sufficiently financed translator. The results speak for themselves:
If I was working in any capacity in the western academic world I couldn't get away being an unshaven bum wearing my Japanese zen outfit.
If you want freedom and adventure come study in Asia somewhere, master your target language (like get really good at it), meet a lot of people, cultivate merit through generosity and service to others, and you'll live better than you would in the west. Asia is where it is at if you want to study and live Buddhism.