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Messeage from the President

Professor Florin Deleanu
President of the College

The International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies, founded in 1996 by Dr Akira Hirakawa, is an educational institution dedicated to furthering research into Buddhism and training new generations of Buddhist scholars. Currently, the college has two affiliated institutes, i.e. the International Institute for Buddhist Studies and the Research Institute for Old Japanese Manuscripts of Buddhist Scriptures, as well as a research library whose collection amounts to nearly 150,000 volumes of Buddhist studies and related fields. Such excellent research facilities make possible carrying out our academic duties and educating new generations of promising specialists in the field.

Buddhism was born almost 2,500 years ago in Northern India and spread all across the Indian Subcontinent and much of Southeast Asia. It continued its journey across Asia further propagating its teachings and culture into Tibet, Central Asia, and East Asia. In modern times, Buddhism became a major world religion, its influence making itself felt in various parts of the globe. Throughout its long history, Buddhism has transcended national and ethnic barriers, responding to the needs and peculiarities of each individual culture, a process which led to its metamorphosis into new forms of spirituality and expression. At the same, Buddhism has left a deep impact on each culture with which it has interacted.

Our curriculum as well as the structure of the faculty, reflecting an area-based perspective, covers four subfields of specialisation: South and Southeast Asia, Inner Asia, East Asia, and Pan-Asian culture.

The International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies offers a five-year programme leading to a doctoral degree. We regularly accept 4 students per year, the quota for the entire college being set to a total of 20 students. This number allows us to conduct small-group instruction which answers the needs of each individual student. Our students also benefit from the study support programmes given by the staff of the Library and International Institute for Buddhist Studies. The college also has its own scholarship system as well as other financial support schemes. Students from abroad can apply for rooms in our dormitory which is situated on the campus.

Located in a quiet neighbourhood in Bunkyō-ku, central Tokyo, most of the land which is now part of the college campus hosted the former residential site of Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Japan’s last shogun, after he relinquished the power to the Meiji government. Surrounded by large trees and green lawns, the library, classrooms, and research spaces offer a perfect oasis to pursue the study of Buddhism in a calm and sunny environment.

Research into Buddhism focuses on two main aspects, i.e. textual studies and philosophical studies based on primary sources. The college boasts with an impressive collection of books and materials including almost all available editions of the Buddhist Canon as well as digital archives of old Japanese manuscripts of Buddhist texts dating back to the Nara and Heian periods. This greatly facilitates the research in both textual studies and philosophical studies. Students and teachers alike consider their basic duty is to reach a better understanding of the universal truths through the scholarly study of Buddhism while also taking into consideration such major issues as bioethics, environmental problems, etc. which confront the modern world.

We welcome all those who aspire to bring a contribution to Buddhist studies by developing the necessary skills to read and comprehend correctly the Buddhist sources in their original languages, whether Indic or other classical languages of Asia as well as to make critical use of the latest research findings in the field. It is our basic duty as well as a great pleasure to travel together with our students in their journey to understand and research Buddhism.