法鼓佛教學院 碩四 蘇文瑞
I applied to the Master degree course in Buddhist study at the DDBC as a foreign student in March 2008, and was accepted in May 2008. As a foreign student, I need not sit for the entrance examination. The assessment of my acceptance was based on my undergraduate’s results, working experience, recommendation letters and study plan on my motivation and intention to study this course, as well as my future plan after I have graduated.
My goal to study Buddhism at the DDBC is to find a way to liberate myself from Saṃsāra(reincarnation), and at the same time help other Sentient beings to liberate from suffering. This seems to be a pretty big goal and may not be attainable during this life span. However, I try to learn as much as I can during this period of time in order to move forward and achieve my goal.
After studying for about six months, I have the following points to share:
(1) The school was set up by Master Sheng Yen with the intention to propagate the Chinese Buddhism. However, Master Sheng Yen is so compassionate that the students may choose to specialize in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism if they wish. Hence, the students have the chance to learn Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Japanese and English languages so that they will be all rounded and able to do research work on the original Sūtra.
(2) The school employs many top Buddhism scholars as teachers. Many of them are not only excellent in their Buddhism research work and have published many books and articles, but also possess actual Buddhist practical experience to teach and share with students.
(3) The environment here is so serene, peaceful and quiet. It is a very good place to study and practice Dharma. You have the chance to attend morning and evening chanting session or meditate at night.
(4) The teachers and students here are all very friendly, and make you feel like a member of a big family.
(5) The school’s curriculum covers a wide range in Buddhism and the students have the choice to learn Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan Buddhism. At the same time, they have the chance to attend meditation retreat at least once per semester.
After mentioning all the merits, I have some advice to the new students also:
(1) The course work is quite heavy, if you wish to submit a thesis and graduate within three years. The language courses require students to put in a lot of effort and time. It is not easy to learn a new language in a short period of time and not to mention you may have to study two to three languages concurrently.
(2) Depending on the subject you choose, some will have end of the term examination, some will require to do a presentation in the class and to submit a report on each subject at the end of the term. If you take five to six subjects per school term, then you will have about twelve reports to submit.
(3) Based on the description above, depending on the ability of each individual, the pressure can be great. Hence, one must learn how to adjust mentally and physically, as a student.
In conclusion, there are more advantages to be a student at the DDBC and it is a precious and rare opportunity for one to learn Buddhism from the learned teachers. If one comes with a vision and mission to propagate Buddhism in the future, then the pressure of study will turn into bliss and joy of learning Dharma. May the Triple Gems bless you and be successful in your application.