A Comprehensive and comparative understanding of the world religions viz. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and the cultural background related to them is mainly expected. Attention will be paid to other religions such as Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism etc.
In regard to each and every religion the following aspects will be taken into consideration:
I. Origin and evolution of the religions.
II. The biographies of the creators of religions
III. Main teachings of the religions
IV. Specific rites and ceremonies, rituals, festivals, customs etc.
V. Aims and objectives of the religions
A comparison among religions in order to identify the common features of them in which people can trust each other and develop friendship among them in social context.
The Holy Bible, the Holy Koran, the Bhagavatgītā etc. will be consulted for the understanding of real elements of those religions.
The history of Buddhist missionary activities from the Buddha’s time up to date will be studied in order to identify the methods and mediums used by ancient teachers for the successful propagation of Buddhism over 2500 years of time.
The Pāli canon and its exegetical literature will be consulted to explain the specific methods of communication and the philosophical and ethical themes relevant to modern society both national and international.
A study of the ancient missionary groups will be carried out in order to understand the way of preparing missionaries for different countries and different cultural contexts.
The following practical programmes will be given to the students as a training for Buddhist mission:
i. Preaching dhamma
ii. Dhamma discussions
iv. Publication of dhamma books and papers.
v. Dialogues and debates on dhamma.
The belief and theories of man and society existed in the sixth century B.C. at the time of the Buddha will be studied in order to provide a comparative background for the study of Buddhist sociology and ethics. The Vedic concept of god and deities, polytheism, monotheism, classification of man and society based on a theory of creation, svadharma, varṇadharma, āśramadharma, concept of soul etc. will be the subjects of study in this context.
The Buddhist sociology and ethics which came into being as a criticism of the Brahmaṇic concepts will be studied with reference to the Pāli canon and its ancillary works. The Buddhist concept of man, Buddhist view of human existence, origin and evolution of society, the ethical teachings centered on the noble eightfold path, the universal applicability of the threefold training system, the goal and aims of social ethics, duties and obligations, precepts and disciplinary rules, methods of behavioural, mental and cognitive training, mental inclinations, Kamma and rebirth, concepts of heaven and hell will be the themes of this study.
The concepts of modern sociology will be taken into consideration in order to provide a vider context for the Buddhist teachings.
Aggaññasutta, Cakkavattisīhanādansutta, Vāseṭṭhasutta, Sigālasutta, Brāhaṇadhammikasutta, Sāmaññaphalasutta, Vasalasutta, and other relevant suttas and the Vinayapiṭaka specially Mahāvaggapāli and Cullavaggapāli will be consulted for this study.
Selected villages in Sri Lanka will be introduced to groups of students to make a survey and present a systematic programme for the development of that particular village based on Buddhist sociology and ethics. The group of students should prove the success of its programme within a period of six months. The report of progress will be a major part of the examination.
Communication and management have become two of the main aspects of the development of the Buddhist order for over two thousand five hundred years. Very successful methods of communication have been followed in order to propagate the message of Buddhism and very effective methods of management have been used to maintain the saṅgha society and its abodes.
The concept and methods of Buddhist communication will be introduced with reference to Suttapiṭaka and the methods of management mainly with reference to Vinayapiṭaka.
The aim and objective of communication, verbal sounds and meanings, the steps of communication, the concept of language, preaching, discussion, dialogue , recitation, chanting, poetic values, metre, ānupubbīkathā, sāmukkaṃsikadesanā, character analysis, leadership, social harmony and communication will be the themes of Buddhist communication.
Human resource management, management of monasteries, management of time, management of environment, management of knowledge, management of defilements etc. will be the themes of Buddhist management.
The concepts such as catupaṭisambhidā, ānupubbīkathā, sāmmkkamsikadesanā, Kammaṭṭhāna, caritavibhāga, saṅkhā, samaññā, paññatti, vohāra, nāma, nāmakamma, nirutti, byañjana, abhilāpa, anusāsana, ovāda, ācariya, upajjhāya, adhimutti, satthu etc. will be analyzed in this regard.
The concepts related to ārāma, hammiya, guhā, vihāra, adhikaraṇasamatha, pācittiya, sekhiya, cīvara, piṇḍapāta, senāsana, purebhatta, pacchābhatta, yāma, etc. will be studied with reference to Buddhist management system.
Presentations, talks, lectures, discussions, dialogues, journals, papers, etc. will be introduced as the practical part of Buddhist communication.
Groups of students will be directed to selected institutes and centres for making a survey and programme to be implemented. After six months the progress will be examined as a part of examination.
Indian cultural, political, religious and social background in the sixth century B.C. in which Buddhism came into being will be the outset of this study. The service of the Buddha and his cotemporary disciples, first, second, third and fourth Buddhist councils, nine missionary groups and expansion of Buddhism to southern countries such as Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, fourth Buddhist Council and the expansion of Buddhism to the northern countries such as Central Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Tibet and Bhutan, will be the main themes of Buddhist history.
Indian art and architecture belonging to Gandhāra and Māthurā traditions, Sri Lankan art and architecture belonging to Anurādhapura, Plonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Gampola and Kandy periods.
Traditional methods of art and architecture described in the ancient texts such as Vāstuvidyā, Śārīputra, Vaijayantatantra, Mayamataya, Bimbamāna, and astrological works such as Varāhamihira will be taken into consideration in order to identify the methods and theories of ancient art and architecture.
A particular site of Buddhist art and architecture will be recommended to a group of students in order to evaluate its various aspects with reference to the knowledge they obtained through this study. It will serve as a part of examination.
The aim of this study is to provide students with a theoretical and practical knowledge and training in Buddhist meditation.
The theoretical knowledge will be comprised of the themes such as the analysis of the world of experience with reference to the basic teachings of Buddhism such as dependent co-origination, three characteristics, five aggregates and noble eightfold path. The three kinds of training system viz morality, concentration, wisdom will be studied in a wider context. The Character analysis and selection of meditational subjects, samatha meditation and fourty subjects, Vipassanā meditation and its subjects, preparation for meditation, suitable abodes, suitable way of living and selecting teachers.
The attainment of the stages of samādhi, the four kinds of supreme attainments, producing higher knowledges, miraculous powers, destruction of defilements, attainment of nibbāṇa will be studied in a wider context.
Students will be grouped in accordance with their capacities and temperaments and will be given suitable subjects for practice. Within a period of six months they have to practice them under the supervision of a preceptor and the success should be presented verbally and in writing. The report will be evaluated as a part of examination.