The International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies was founded in 1996 by Professor Akira Hirakawa as an institution dedicated to furthering research into Buddhism and educating 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, and a library whose collection amounts to more than 140,000 volumes of Buddhist studies and related areas. These facilities make possible fulfilling our duty of conducting Buddhist research and educating capable specialists in the field.
It is well known that Buddhism was born 2,500 years ago in India and spread first across Asia and now all over the world surmounting national, ethnic and cultural barriers. Buddhism absorbed the influences of each local culture where it took root and developed characteristics unique to each culture which adopted it. This makes a global perspective a fundamental desideratum in Buddhist studies. Our curriculum, designed to foster such a perspective, covers four cultural areas: 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 PhD degree. We accept 4 students per year. The quota of the entire college is thus 20 students. This number allows us to conduct small-group instruction in which we can answer to the needs of each individual student. The students also benefit from study support programmes offered by the staff of our Library and International Institute for Buddhist Studies. The college has its own scholarship system, and students from abroad can apply for the dormitory facilities situated on the campus.
Located in a quiet neighbourhood in Bunkyō-ku, Tokyo, the land which is now the college campus was the former residential site of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Japan’s last shogun, after relinquishing 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, 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. It is our hope that the students will come to a better understanding of the universal truths through the study of Buddhism and succeed in tackling such contemporary issues as bioethics and environmental problems.
We welcome all those interested in this field to join us on the path of Buddhist studies and open the gate to the vast Dharma treasure of eighty-four thousand teachings.