I am a first year student at the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal and Arts. I would like to share my personal experience as a student at DILA and the reasons why I applied to this school.
Actually this is my second time studying at this school. I used to be a visiting student when this school was located in Peitou. My first impression of DILA is its dedication to the academic study of Buddhism. There are a variety of courses offered for students. Professors have studied and gained their degrees from many different countries in the world, like Japan, America, Europe, Taiwan, Tibet, India, and Nepal etc. Each professor has his/her unique techniques and characteristics in studying and teaching Buddhism that allows students to approach Buddhist scholarship in several different ways. For example, these approaches include the traditional skill of reading and interpreting the Buddhist canon and Buddhist literature, which refers to Buddhist study and theory today. In those popular courses, students build up a better understanding of Buddhist doctrines and history for study and research in the future. Other professors also give students insights into the state of current Buddhist Studies in the scholar community worldwide. This trains students to find problems during their study and search for solutions and answers to questions. For me, these professors are reliable for students in terms of academic study and also willing to help students individually at DILA.
Another distinctive character of DILA is language study. To help students read ancient Buddhist texts and modern scholarly papers DILA offers languages that are necessary for Buddhist study, like Japanese, Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan. Every student selects languages according to the field and area they choose. This is very good language training for students who decide to specialize in scholarly Buddhist studies. As I know, Japanese reading is one of the best trainings at DILA. Most students are able to read Japanese Buddhist texts after one year of training. At DILA there are many professors who specialize in one or two languages. To learn languages for Buddhist studies DILA offers a great quality and selection for its students.
There is another thing I have to mention about DILA, which is its environment. What makes DILA so unique is its location. DILA is located on a mountain where people are able to see the ocean and hear the sound of the creek along with both sides of the Buddhist Sangha Community and DILA. Yes, the Sangha community is next to DILA. Students are able to experience conventional Buddhist life while they literally study Buddhism at DILA. Buddhism dose not exit in books or classes, is not just what people talk about, it exists in real life. In this way students learn the traditions, cultures, and practices of Buddhism, specially of the Chan school, at DILA. DILA is a relatively small school and everybody almost knows each other. With spiritual inspiration and influence people in the mountain create a quiet and peaceful environment which becomes an outstanding place for students to study Buddhism.
Seen from any aspect, Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts is not a typical school. I would like to invite you to visit our school, DILA, and encourage you to apply to DILA if you are looking for an excellent school to study Buddhism.