PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

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PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:10 am

This is just for the future. Next month I'm starting an online Masters program in Buddhist Studies through the International Buddhist College of Thailand which ends in April 2016 (it's a 3 year program which actually totals 2 years and 9 months). After that I'd like to get a PhD in Buddhist Studies (or some related field -- I'd be interested in doing Sanskrit or Chinese but doubt I could enter into a PhD program in those subjects without a Masters in those fields). At present there are no legitimate online PhD programs in Buddhist Studies available that I know of. So I will probably have to move somewhere. In a way I'd like to stay in India (I live in Dharamsala) so that I can stay close to my Tibetan Buddhist studies. In another way, a few things turn me off from the idea of doing a PhD in India. One, the weather in most of the places that I could potentially go (The Central Institute of Tibetan Studies in Varanasi etc.) would be hard for me to deal with; I can't really see myself anywhere on the plains in India. Two, the status of a degree from India would not be as good as most other countries (although still better than some, ie Nepal). Three, things are just run so poorly and are so disorganized in India and also with the Tibetans, that I fear I would have to jump through hoops of BS on a regular basis at any Indian or Tibetan college in India. Fourth, dealing with the often rather overt racism of the Indians and Tibetans in an academic context may be hard to deal with as a PhD candidate (probably mainly with the administration; anyone who has lived in India/Nepal for a long time knows what I am talking about). Even the most "Western" option, Rangjung Yeshe, doesn't seem that appealing on several counts. However I'd like to stay in Asia, for a lot of reasons, and ideally in a Mahayana country. In terms of countries other than India, Taiwan seems like the most ideal, since it's Mahayana, affordable, has a strong connection with Tibetan Buddhism, and Chinese is pretty much the most important language after Sanskrit for Tibetan Buddhist studies. I'm also interested in Japan and maybe Korea, though I worry that they would be too expensive. Mongolia might be cool. Most of the other Asian countries don't seem that terribly appealing or appropriate for Tibetan/Mahayana/Vajrayana studies, for fairly obvious reasons. One thing I should mention is that I'm not interested in living a dormitory/monastic lifestyle and need a good amount of privacy and freedom. Availability of decent and affordable housing is a must.

Any suggestions? This is three years from now but I'd like to start thinking about it now. I'm open to any suggestions for universities in Asia with PhD/doctoral programs in Buddhist Studies, whether in India or anywhere else in Asia.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:33 am

sherabzangpo wrote:At present there are no legitimate online programs in Buddhist Studies available that I know of. So I will probably have to go elsewhere.


You can do a PhD through Leiden University without actually being present in Holland. You would be out of residence, so to speak, and would do your research on your own. You could just as well stay here in India and do your research, which might be more practical than being in Europe.

http://www.hum.leiden.edu/lias/phd/prospective.html

I have a friend in Taiwan doing his PhD like this. Again, it makes more sense to live and research Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan than Holland.


One, the weather in most of the places that I could potentially go (Varanasi etc.) would be hard for me to deal with; I can't really see myself anywhere on the plains in India, so that pretty much wipes out most of the options.


Yeah, I just spent the last few months dealing with heat rash. Several weeks of +46'c weather was rather exhausting. Delhi is also just a horrible overcrowded city. My friend jokes that it is some kind of special hell realm. Going outside my lungs also feel uncomfortable from all the airborne pollution, as if I was in a smoker's lounge. There are a lot of predatory people here, too, which makes going on a trip anywhere problematic most of the time.

"Sir, we can go to a very special emporium!"
"No, just take me where I want to go."
"But sir, please...."


Two, the status of a degree from India would not be as good as most other countries (although still better than some, ie Nepal, hehe).


I guess it depends on what you want to do. If you want a career, then naturally a degree from India or Nepal are going to be problematic (even degrees from Japan are not really recognized in North America).

In the future I might go back to Japan to do a PhD, but we'll see. That would depend on funding mostly. There are government scholarships, which I got for my MA degree, which give a monthly stipend plus full tuition and airfare coverage. It is a sweet deal, but you need to apply a year in advance from your home country and do a ton of paperwork plus get chest X-rays to prove you don't have TB.

If you get it, though, it is a pretty swell deal.


Three, things are just run so poorly and are so disorganized in India and also with the Tibetans, that I fear I would have to jump through hoops of BS at any Indian or Tibetan college in India.


I have a friend at Nehru University (a foreigner) and it seems to be working out well for her. However, doing a three or four year program in Delhi would be a grind, admittedly.


Any suggestions? This is three years from now but I'd like to start thinking about it now.


University of Hong Kong is one option (Venerable Huifeng went there, so ask him for details).

Japan has several universities and many professors who do Tibetan Buddhism. Learning Japanese is useful as Japanese academia is pretty broad, even in the areas of Indology and Tibetan Studies.

Taiwan is one option. The universities there in coordination with the government readily welcome foreign students and provide nice scholarships. However, a degree from Taiwan will not be readily recognized in North America (I don't know about Europe). Taiwan's cities are also polluted and the weather can be terrible, but then the people are generally kind, helpful and patient.

Korea is one option that people often overlook. They got nice government funding, too, but I don't know about Tibetan studies. I know one Korean nun who specializes in TB, so I imagine somebody does it over there. It would just be a matter of finding an advisor and department willing to let you do it all in English.

Mainland China is open to foreign students, but your area of study might be problematic. :spy:
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:43 am

Where are you now? I've been reading your posts and websites with much interest. If you come up to Dharamsala, let me know, it would be great to meet you. Thanks for the advice, I will reply shortly.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:51 am

sherabzangpo wrote:Where are you now? I've been reading your posts and websites with much interest. If you come up to Dharamsala, let me know, it would be great to meet you. Thanks for the advice, I will reply shortly.


I'm in Delhi right now. I might be in Singapore next month. Trying to get a long-term visa for India is such a pain!
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:01 am

I'm an American with a 10 year visa, with 4 years left on it. At least I got that out of being born an American :buddha1:
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:08 am

sherabzangpo wrote:I'm an American with a 10 year visa, with 4 years left on it. At least I got that out of being born an American :buddha1:


If you want to study Tibetan Buddhism, India or Nepal are definitely the places to be.

I'd say look into Leiden. You could stay in India to do your research. Dharamsala is swell. I've been there. Nice clean food available all around town. Mountains are beautiful.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:13 am

I assume that you have checked out the H-Buddhism page...?
https://www.h-net.org/~buddhism/GradStudies.htm

This side of things, ie. around greater China (PRoC, Taiwan RoC, HK, Macau), the only places that offer anything like this in English that I am aware of are the Centre of Buddhist Studies at the University of Hong Kong, and the Department of Buddhist Studies at Fo Guang University. The former is my alma mater, the latter is where I now teach.

1. At HKU, there is a very large MBS (Masters of Buddhist Studies) program, all taught in English (pretty much all classes at HKU are taught in English). It's one year full time, or two part time. There is also a fairly good MPhil / PhD program, likewise in English. However, there is a long line to get into the latter, and unless one is super qualified, definitely best to do the MBS there first, and then use that to apply for the MPhil / PhD once the faculty get to know you. Even then, may have to wait a year or two to get in. I only know of one person in the past 7 years who has gone straight from the MBS to PhD, and that person graduated top in the MBS class. The program there is very strong in early to mid period Indian Buddhism. They have a bit of Chinese Buddhism. And sometimes they have someone doing some Tibetan Buddhism, Japanese Buddhism, or the like. Great for Pali Buddhism, Agama / Nikaya studies, Abhidharma / Abhidhamma, and Yogacara; some modern Chinese Buddhism, too. Other stuff, not so strong. One can definitely learn some Pali and Sanskrit here, but strangely few language requirements (though if you don't have the languages, you obviously can't work with some subjects or profs).
http://www.buddhism.hku.hk/programme_02.htm

2. At FGU, there are several programs, a BA in Buddhist Studies taught in Mandarin, two MA tracks in Mandarin and English respectively, and a PhD program which is kind of taught in both Mandarin and English (a lot of classes are co-taught with the MA tracks). The main focus is Chinese Buddhism, but also have pretty good Indian Buddhism from the early period, Abhidharma and Mahayana periods. We also have a Prof who teaches Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism. Most language classes are taught at undergrad level, so MA students who need to make up language requirements have to sit in on undergrad language classes. Exception being classical Chinese, taught in English.
http://buddhist.fguweb.fgu.edu.tw/front ... tegory=101
http://buddhist.fguweb.fgu.edu.tw/front ... ategory=76
http://buddhist.fguweb.fgu.edu.tw/front ... ategory=77

None of these are online. Personally, I wouldn't be a big fan of an online degree. Doing the actual courses and then later keeping online correspondence while doing research is a different matter, though.

As for degree recognition, in academic circles, with a couple of exceptions, the North Americans and Europeans generally recognize each other, plus good universities in Australia and New Zealand, and maybe the very best in East Asia like Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong and the like. Others? ... generally considered second class, or worse. Of course, there are exceptions, and if one does excellence research, writes a top class book, then who cares where their degree is from!

HKU is on HK Island. Some foreign students live on Lamma Island, and travel in for class. Sweet deal. Lamma Island is the hippie home of Hong Kong. FGU is on the side of a mountain in Ilan, surrounded by forest, often shrouded in clouds, looking out over to the Pacific Ocean. It's clean and natural, a little remote, but rains a lot.

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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby yegyal » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:21 am

sherabzangpo wrote:Even the most "Western" option, Rangjung Yeshe, doesn't seem that appealing on several counts. .


What exactly is it that doesn't appeal to you? If you're interest is in the Tibetan tradition it seems like you would be better off doing your MA there and then move onto a Ph.D. program afterword, instead of getting an online MA from Thailand, that is lacking in the language course you will most likely need.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Indrajala » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:24 am

Huifeng wrote:East Asia like Tokyo...


I've generally been under the impression a Japanese PhD isn't recognized in N.America in most places. The problem is that it is generally a three year degree and they don't really teach you how to teach. Understandably, too, the way you discuss and arrange your ideas in Japanese academia is rather different from how you do it in English. In Japanese you don't need an actual thesis. You just write a research report on whatever interesting things you discovered.

The other thing is that in Japan not a lot of people expect a PhD student to come up with anything original or innovative. Ground breaking work is expected of senior scholars mostly. As a junior scholar you're supposed to defer to past authority rather than take initiative on your own. That was my perspective anyhow after studying there for three years. :roll:
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:39 am

Bhante,

I'd tend to agree, though for Buddhist studies at least, I know of a number of (very good) Western scholars who have great respect for Buddhist studies at Tokyo, Otani, Soka, Komazawa and the like. Often it's a case of have your Harvard / Stanford / Princeton / Berkeley / Leiden / Oxford / (whatever) student do their candidacy in the USA, but then spend at least a year with a specialist Prof in places such as these. I know a number of USA University students who do this, and professors who instruct their students to do this.

Should note: By "recognized", there are two senses. One, the technical, as in they do usually accept that a degree from these places is indeed a degree. Two, the sense of think that it is of any great worth or not. Really, I'm just talking about the latter here (and think that Bhante above is thinking likewise).

While in the West it is true that it is considered that a PhD should provide some original findings, but to be honest, this is not always the case at all. In Buddhist studies, I often feel that even at top universities, maybe only 25% are really breaking any ground. The rest are just a good in depth study which clarifies what has gone before (as described above). Takes a rare combination of student and teacher for such things...

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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:44 am

Sherabzangmo,

Oh, should have mentioned above. You may or may not be aware of this, but the International Buddhist College in Thailand (if it's the one I am thinking of) is very closely connected with the Centre of Buddhist Studies at Hong Kong University. The IBC was set up by the Malaysian Chinese Mahayana tradition monk Ven. Wuwei. He is a very old friend (from high school!) of Ven. Prof. KL Dhammajoti, who is the top scholar at HKU. He in turn knows all the rest of the HKU people, with strong links to Kelaniya in Sri Lanka. So... a large number of the IBC faculty are also with HKU, or are former students there. This may include Prof. Endo, Ven. Prof. Guang Xing, Prof. Karunadasa, Ven. Prof. Anuruddha, Ven. Chandaratana, Ven. Zhenjue, and Ven. Zhenchan (plus others). So, that may provide you with a good link to the HKU program, though, as noted above, their queue for the PhD program is very long indeed....

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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:54 am

I will be in Leiden with Geshe Sonam for a blessing ritual this afternoon. There is a former translator studying there who completed the same translator training program that I did in Dharamsala. She is currently doing the PhD program studying something related to Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. I will see if I can talk to her a little bit about her experiences, and share it with the forum.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:05 am

Though the title is about programs in Asia I thought I would mention U of T as people were talking about the difficulty of some degrees from Asian universities being accepted.

I completed my BA at the University of Toronto and it has been a bit of a dream to upgrade my degree with graduate studies in Buddhism there, though since monks are not allowed to accumulate debt it is not very realistic (plus I might not be able to continue working with a fantastic geshe, which, although it doesn't lead to a degree, leads to a much better understanding of the Dharma).

Still, I encourage you to check out the situation at U of T as it is a widely respected Western academic institution and a degree from there would be broadly accepted in most places. Recently U of T and Columbia University launched a Tibetan studies partnership which could be very interesting. You can read about it here: http://www.religion.utoronto.ca/univers ... #more-5222

Here is the page about developments in the Buddhist studies program at the University of Toronto: http://www.religion.utoronto.ca/program ... t-studies/

http://buddhiststudies.chass.utoronto.ca/
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
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Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:45 am

JKhedrup. At UofT, you can generally get funding for most PhD programmes. Masters programmes aren't funded, but with your prior skills in Tibetan, you may be able to work as a research assistant while studying, which would act as funding. But it all depends on who is doing what project, and whether you would be an asset to whichever professor's work.

sherabzangpo. While there are Asian options, I'm not sure why you want to stay there as a be all and end all. If you do a graduate degree in Buddhism in the west, you can probably end up travelling back to Asia for research/ethnography anyways. :thumbsup:
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby yegyal » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:47 am

There's this very small place in Japan http://www.icabs.ac.jp/
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:08 pm

Thanks everyone for their responses.

A few things about me:

I'm a professional Tibetan translator and fluent in Tibetan. I've been studying Buddhism for 14 years, and Tibetan Buddhism for 10 years. I've been living in India studying Tibetan language and Buddhism (including high level philosophy) for about 5 years. Not to toot my own horn, but to give you a better idea, from what I've seen, I probably have one of the highest levels of fluency in spoken and literary Tibetan among Western Tibetan language students living in Asia (maybe 5th or 6th place), and I arguably might be the best Tibetan-English translator under the age of 32. But in Buddhist philosophy I still consider myself a relative beginner compared to, for example, people who have studied for years in shedras (I've done quite a bit of philosophical study but probably only totaling the equivalent of a couple years of shedra). My work is becoming somewhat well-known in the Tibetan Buddhist community. You can read more about me and my work at the following links:

http://www.sugatagarbhatranslation.com
http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/Erick_Tsiknopoulos_%28Sherab_Zangpo%29

This will probably give you a better feeling for my background and interests.

I'm currently involved in a few projects that will be published as books when they're finished and will probably be a big deal when they come out, popular texts such as the Sutra of Golden Light -- 29 and 31 chapter versions -- and the complete Yuthok Nyingthik, etc. I'm also translating orally 5 days a week for a great lama (Lobsang Choegyel Rinpoche) here in Dharamsala, and I think it will become quite a local sensation within the next year.

This is also part of the reason I want to stay in India for a while. To really do textual translation work properly ideally requires being around Tibetan scholars (in my opionion), and I am really enjoying translating for the Rinpoche. Also, I like all of the options I have here for Tibetan Buddhist studies in general.

It was based on all of my previous studies that I was able to enter into the online MA program from the International Buddhist College in Thailand, since I don't have a BA. It's an accredited program through the government of Thailand. It's also rather inexpensive, and seems relatively easy. I definitely want to stay in India for another few years. So for all of these reasons I think that this program is about the best I can do right now.

The suggestion of Leiden seems like it would be the best option for me, since even three years from now, I will probably want to stay in India and continue my work and studies here in the future. That is, if I can really do all of my PhD work here in India and not have to go to Holland more than briefly once a year or something. Actually, my first Tibetan language teacher, Chris Wilkinson, is also doing his PhD through Leiden (he lives in Washington). I will ask him about it.

Anything under China (Hong Kong etc.) is out of the question for fairly obvious political reasons. I also have a Tibetan wife, so as long as we stay together, definitely anything China is not possible, and even Taiwan might be difficult (I am not sure), and if I did go to another country, it would have to be a place where they could secure a "dependent visa" for her.

In a sense, I am not so worried about the status of degrees, since I am not even sure whether I would definitely want to be a professor or not. It's mainly for my own status and respectability as a translator and to more easily get translation grants in the future. But of course the higher the status of the degree, the better. I am not really planning on moving back to the US in the near future, and really anywhere in the West is not that appealing to me at the moment, although things could change a few years down the road. However, the possibility of working as a professor or teacher in the future is certainly one of the reasons that I want to get a PhD. I am a little worried about being "stuck" as a translator or even being "stuck" in India due to my translation work, and so more options would definitely be a good thing.

The whole talk about how American/North American universities don't recognize most Asian degrees in BUDDHIST STUDIES just reaffirms my disgust with the American educational system and society in general. Very self-focused and arrogant to say the least. Not to mention a racket. Turns me off even more than I already am. Most of those Western Tibetan Buddhism professors don't even speak decent Tibetan, which to me is kind of a joke.

Rangjung Yeshe is not appealing to me for various reasons, I am not really into their "thing", I don't want to live in Nepal (for a lot of reasons), they are overpriced, I find their approach rather yuppie-ish and overly "Western Buddhist", and a Nepal degree is even worse than an Indian degree.

Again, an Indian PhD doesn't seem that doable for me for all the reasons I mentioned in my first message.

I would be willing to move to another country in Asia, but probably I will want to stay in India and continue the good things I'm doing here.

I am somewhat more interested in Japan because I have an old strong connection to that country. I used to study Japanese, and lived there for 6 months, and actually attained a somewhat high level of fluency in the language at the time (2005), although I've forgotten most of it. The cost is a concern though.

And as I said, Taiwan seems like a fairly good option for the reasons I mentioned.

I will look into Leiden, since most likely I will want to stay in India. Hopefully they would recognize my Thai degree.

I am not really super-focused on the academic side of things, but I think it's a good thing to do, which is why I am going to do this Masters. A PhD is, as I said, 3 years from now for me, but I want to look into things ahead of time.

I think that's all for now. Thanks to everyone once again for their suggestions.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby yegyal » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:58 am

sherabzangpo wrote: Not to toot my own horn, but to give you a better idea, from what I've seen, I probably have one of the highest levels of fluency in spoken and literary Tibetan among Western Tibetan language students living in Asia (maybe 5th or 6th place), and I arguably might be the best Tibetan-English translator under the age of 32.


This is an absurd statement, but even if it were true, I highly doubt that an online degree from a Buddhist University in Thailand and some language skills will make an acceptance board at a major university overlook that fact that you don't have a BA. So you're probably better off biting the bullet and taking care of that before you start thinking about which Ph.D. program to apply to.
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:16 am

sherabzangpo wrote:I am somewhat more interested in Japan because I have an old strong connection to that country. I used to study Japanese, and lived there for 6 months, and actually attained a somewhat high level of fluency in the language at the time (2005), although I've forgotten most of it. The cost is a concern though.


You can apply for Ministry of Education and Technology (MEXT) scholarships through your home country. This would require at least one return trip home after submitting all the required paperwork. Competition can be non-existent. When I applied I was the only applicant.

And as I said, Taiwan seems like a fairly good option for the reasons I mentioned.


If you are looking for a degree rather than a career, why not? Taiwan isn't internationally recognized as an education hub, but if you wanted to research Tibetan Buddhism, why not? Get your certification and a lot of doors open up.

In Asia especially people often judge your value based on your education, which in unfair, but that's reality. As a scholar and translator, if you have a MA degree a lot of opportunities open up. I don't have a PhD yet, but that allows you to formally teach in a lot of places. On the other hand, if you're doing translation and research, a MA degree is sufficient when applying for grants and so forth.

Most of those Western Tibetan Buddhism professors don't even speak decent Tibetan, which to me is kind of a joke.


I think textual analysis and readings don't require oral skills, though I know many would disagree with this.

Classical Chinese is a prime example of this. It isn't a spoken language. Japanese and Korean scholars read it in their own unique ways, but don't necessarily speak a word of modern Mandarin or any other Chinese dialect. Classical Chinese was a written lingua franca across all East Asia up until fairly recently. That's why Chinese speakers don't have a monopoly on it.

When it comes to academic scholarship on classical Chinese Buddhism, it was actually Japanese scholars who did the pioneering work on it. Arguably even today a lot of Chinese scholars have to defer to Japanese scholars, too. Kind of funny, too, because a lot of Japanese scholars, past and present, don't speak any Mandarin, yet they're the ones educating the Chinese on their own Buddhist heritage. In Taiwan a lot of scholars of Chinese Buddhism will learn (or have to learn) to read Japanese.

Now, granted, there's original research on the part of modern Chinese scholars, but the more objective secular version of academic research on Chinese Buddhism was and still largely is dominated by Japanese scholarship. If you look at modern Chinese works on Chinese Buddhism, the bibliography will usually have a ton of Japanese works cited.

In a similar sense, I wonder with Tibetan if oral skills are ultimately so important. What if you're from Mongolia, but read Tibetan fluently? Are you any less of a scholar than Lhasa-Tibetan speakers reading the same classical texts?
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:09 am

A friend of mine studying at a Western university told me that knowing good colloquial Tibetan actually proved an obstacle in his academic ambitions. Due to the professor not being able to get around well in colloquial, he said that she blocked access to research opportunities because she saw him as a threat.

I am inclined to believe this is true, though like some Tibetan translators my friend has an overconfidence that can be off-putting and I wonder if this also may have impacted his relationship with the professor. (He is very good, just not necessarily quite as good as he thinks).

I honestly would have no idea how to cope in the academic world. Is it better to keep your head down and just do the work, or do have to "sell yourself" and be super-confident in order to succeed in academics? Translating for a Geshe you are very rarely in direct competition, though from time to time other translators will come to teachings, especially when you start out somewhere (to make sure you can do the job). I hear that academia is cut-throat competitive, but have no idea if this is just a myth.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: PhD Programs in Buddhist Studies in Asia

Postby sherabzangpo » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:43 am

This is an absurd statement, but even if it were true, I highly doubt that an online degree from a Buddhist University in Thailand and some language skills will make an acceptance board at a major university overlook that fact that you don't have a BA. So you're probably better off biting the bullet and taking care of that before you start thinking about which Ph.D. program to apply to.


Look, I came here to look for help, not to start an argument. I only said that to give the people here who wanted to help me a better idea of my background. It might seem absurd to you, for whatever reason, and you seem to doubt it, for whatever reason. It was just to give an idea of my current level of study. The point being, I am not some kid who is starting out learning Tibetan language and Buddhism in Dharamsala, but rather someone who has already attained a lot of in terms of my studies. I'm not making it up. "Some Tibetan language" skills, as you say, is exactly what I am trying to show it is not -- the point is that I am a Tibetan translator who has been doing all this for a long time. In any case, the only purpose for my saying this is to give those who are trying to help me a better idea of where I'm at. If you don't believe me, then look at my websites and other pages and read my bios. If you still want to think I am just bragging or something, then you're missing the point.

The BA thing isn't a big deal. That's a common (American) idea. Many, many people with Masters degrees in England and Europe do not have BAs. And many people with PhDs do not have MAs. Actually even in America there are many people like that. Even many scholars and professors have followed similar routes. Look into it.

In any case I am not really concerned with entering into any university that would have an issue with that, since this is the path that I am taking. More to the point, any university that takes serious issue with the fact that I have a Masters and not a BA, in spite of the fact that I am an accomplished and respected Tibetan translator and scholar, is a stuck-up conformist racket with their head up their ass, as far as I'm concerned.
Last edited by sherabzangpo on Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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