Happiness Luke 碩士班二年級
Having studied at the Dharma Drum Buddhist College (DDBC) for over a year, I would like to share with you my personal experience and observations in the hope that it will help you get a better idea of what it is like to study here.
One of the most unique features of DDBC is its location next to the Dharma Drum Monastery on the slopes of the lushJinshan valley. This relative isolation from the hustle and bustle of the nearby Taipei urban center provides the students with a peaceful and quiet environment conducive to both diligent study and fruitful contemplative practice. Indeed, this unusual setting reflects DDBC’s particular emphasis on the equal importance of academic study and spiritual practice, as students are enjoined to participate in regular meditation retreats as well as daily sittings. It is certainly this accent placed of the combination of intellectual study and personal practice which sets DDBC apart from other Buddhist studies departments or colleges. Hence,I would encourage future applicants to come to DDBC to experience the general atmosphere of the place and possibly take part in some of the meditation groups found in Taipei in order to facilitate their adjustment to the distinctive lifestyle one experiences here.
Beyond the benefits one may experience in terms of spiritual practice, this proximity with the monastic community and the numerous occasions to take part in the various religious activities organized during the year also offer a window into the modern reality of Buddhist practice in Taiwan, providing foreign students like myself with insightswhich I could hardly have acquired through the mere study of books.
On the academic side of things, DDBC offers a rich and comprehensive selection of courses to pick from, covering the three main Buddhist traditions (Indian, Chinese & Tibetan) as well as Buddhist informatics (development of software and tools related to Buddhist studies). Although students are asked to choose which area they wish to specialize in, great flexibility is given in course selection.Another distinctive feature of this college is it's emphasis on language study, with classes in Sanskrit,Pali, Tibetan, Japanese and English offered throughout the master's program and made available to all students regardless of their specialization.
In conclusion, I would like to express my personal satisfaction with my experience in DDBC. The relatively small classrooms (usually no more than 10 students per class) allow for regular discussion and spirited debates with other students, many of which are monastics, from Taiwan or other Asian countries. The peaceful atmosphere and regular sitting and chanting practice help foster good habits and a healthy lifestyle. Finally, the incredible friendliness and utmost kindness of the community of students, staff and professors have helped me feel truly at home. Again, if you think you might be interested in applying for this program, do not hesitate to come to the college to hear what the student have to say and learn more about the classes, facilities and campus environment.