Which university is the best place to study Buddhism? How and where do I start?
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finding the right place to study Buddhism watch
- Thread Starter
- 11-03-2018 09:40
- Community Assistant
- 11-03-2018 10:40
What do you mean by "study Buddhism"? If you mean scripturally, then...probably not at university in the UK.
If you mean in terms of comparative religion, then various options are available. Any university with a good Asian (or for a handful which insist on tradition over inclusiveness, Oriental) Studies/Languages departments will almost inevitably have a few options relating to Buddhism. AMES degrees at Cambridge, Oriental Studies at Oxford, and various Asian/South Asian Studies courses elsewhere are likely possibilities. In then latter realm I believe Leeds in particular have some strength in that area. I aloso think KCL has a couple options in Buddhist and Indian Philosophy through their philosophy department - however whether they have other modules or degrees relating to the area, I'm not sure. I would note for Oxbridge those two departments/courses are the ones you want to be looking at, as the Religion/Theology degrees are specifically focused primarily on Christianity and with varying levels of reference to Islam and Judaism (in general any degree referring to "Theology" in the UK will most likely focus on Christianity).
A notable example however, which is probably one of the premier options for this kind of study, would be SOAS, which specialises in this area (and related ones). They specifically have a World Religions degree which you can study different aspects of Buddhism, alongside if desired languages and regional culture modules. This will involve study of several different religions, so if your focus is purely on Buddhism and you aren't as interested in comparative study and/or the various religions it does/has intersected with, you may want to consider one of their more "regional" themed courses (such as S/SE/E Asian Studies) fitting to the area you're interested in and taking relevant optional modules, or one of the language courses of a country/language where Buddhism is prevalent or has considerable historical ties to (such as Tibetan, which would include study of the language, religion, and culture, and a year abroad in Tibet - to my knowledge SOAS is the only university offering such a course as well).
So, Oxbridge, SOAS, and Leeds are probably good places to start looking for comparative/academic study of religions - I'm sure there are others though. For more faith based study you may need to look abroad (a relevant language degree would probably be useful here, and language courses normally include a year abroad where you might be able to explore this possibility further).