B.A. Program (2013-2018)
“The Karmapa International Buddhist Institute is founded with the vision to bring into being a fully accredited university where international students may obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees in advanced Buddhist Studies.” (K.I.B.I. pamphlet, circa 1990)
The Karmapa International Buddhist Institute: History and Vision for the future
A pamphlet dating to around 1990 lists the following as the goals and long-term vision for KIBI:
– Bring into being a fully accredited university where international students may obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees in advanced Buddhist studies;
– Establish a department of translation that will set a universal standard for accurate translating the vast treasury of Buddhist teachings;
– Develop a research library comprised of the works of authentic Buddhist and non-Buddhist contemplative traditions;
– Convene international conferences to bring together scholars from diverse disciplines such as religion, science, philosophy, politics and law, in order to exchange ideas for the betterment of society;
– Publish and distribute translated Buddhist works, both classical and contemporary, as well as proceedings of the Institute’s conferences;
– Facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge between Buddhist countries and cultures such as Japan, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Korea, Nepal, Bhutan and China.
It was the goal of successive generations of administrations of K.I.B.I. for more than 20 years to establish an accredited B.A. program. In 2013, under the leadership of Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, Khenpo Mriti was finally able to make that goal a reality through a historic collaboration established with Mewar University. Between 2013-2018, three batches of students were able to complete B.A. course at K.I.B.I.. A total of 16 students received BA’s as part of the collaborative program. In addition, four students completed Advanced Diplomas based on a two-year course of study.During these years, a total of 63 guest students also studied at K.I.B.I., spending anywhere from a few weeks to a whole semester taking classes alongside the BA students.
While the academic program is taking a hiatus in the short-term, it is our long-term goal to rekindle the academic program and once again offer a BA. Once the necessary conditions are gathered, KIBI will revive a university-accredited program under the spiritual guidance of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, and the academic guidance of Professor Sempa Dorje.
Karmapa International Buddhist Institute: BA in Buddhist Studies at a glance
The BA took place over the course three academic years, with each academic year being divided into two semesters:
- 1st Semester: September – December
- 2nd Semester: January – April
The course was comprised of the following four main subject areas:
- History / Culture / Research Context
Language: all our degree and diploma students were required to complete 4 semesters of Tibetan language. This included instruction in both classical and modern spoken Tibetan. In addition, B.A. students were required to take an additional semester of Hindi and one year of Sanskrit.
History/Culture/Research Context: students studied the history and practice of Buddhism in both India and Tibet in these courses taught by a combination of Khenpos and university professors. In their third year, students took two advanced seminars, one surveying the field of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies from a critical academic perspective; and one specialized seminar, with a topic that changed from year to year.
Religion: students studied Gampopa’s influential Jewel Ornament of Liberation (Dwags po thar rgyan) for a total of 4 semesters. This text, which combines Atīśa’s Kadampa-tradition with the Mahāmudrā-tradition of Marpa, served as the platform from which students were led on an in-depth analysis of the religious Buddhist path and practice. In their final year, students studied chapters 1-8 of Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra (chos ‘jug).
Philosophy: In the first two years, students studied foundational concepts in Buddhist philosophy as they are presented in Mi pham’s Gateway to Knowledge (mkhas ‘jug) and the system of the Four Siddhāntas (the Tibetan doxographical approach to the Indian Buddhist philosophical schools). In their third year, students undertook a detailed study of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda). The textual basis for the explanations were be the famous Rice Seedling Sūtra (Śālistambhasūtra), which explains the twelve links of dependent origination in great detail.
Karmapa International Buddhist Institute: Faculty
- Professor Sempa Dorje
- Khenpo Lobsang
- Khenpo Rigdzin
- Khenpo Mriti
- Khenpo Tsering Samdrup
- Professor Lara Braitstein
- Professor Burkhard Scherer
- Dr. Tina Draszcyk
- Dr. Rolf Scheuermann
- Dr. Cécile Ducher
- Dr. Carol Wilson
- Sönam Dekyi
- Dörte Kamarid
- Inka Wolf
- Karma Lodoe Sangpo
- Jinpa Namgyal
- Ngawang Tharchin
- Jinpa Thaye
- Arun Kumar