Applied Buddhist Studies
A blended approach to study enables flexibility combining self-directed online study with teacher-led workshops and tutorials ocurrently online only).
Study at your own pace
Options include up to 36 months part-time and as quick as 18 months full-time.
FEE-HELP available for students. No loan fees or application fees apply to postgraduate students.
Master of Arts
(Applied Buddhist Studies)
in Applied Buddhist Studies
in Applied Buddhist Studies
Nan Tien Institute’s Applied Buddhist Studies (ABS) program is unique in its balance between the scholarly research of Buddhism and its application – Buddhist practice and experiential learning. NTI recognizes that both aspects are important and need to be well balanced and integrated for maximum effective learning.
Education is an essential part of a life-long quest for knowledge, skills and wisdom. This program not only provides theoretical knowledge of a broad range of areas in Buddhism – from Buddhist history, philosophy and meditation to Buddhist responses to challenges of the modern world – but also provides students with the tools and skills to continue to grow spiritually, emotionally and professionally through life.
The program combines graduate-level lectures and seminars with extensive research projects in a range of areas, including Buddhist textual analysis, ethics, meditation and contemporary practices, applied in education and other professional fields. ABS introduces the methods and skills involved in established academic research, and develops the ability to undertake independent research projects within the fields of religious studies, history, philosophy, psychology and education, grounded in Buddhist discourse.
Explore Applies Buddhist Studies Subjects
Below is a list of all the subjects available for Applied Buddhist Studies (ABS) enrolments. Access to specific subject requirements will vary. Please refer to information about specific subjects for details.
Introduction to Buddhism
This subject is an introduction to the fundamentals of Buddhist thought. Students will examine ideas around the origin and development of Buddhism, key Buddhist doctrines, and the basic concepts of Buddhist philosophy across various traditions. The meaning of life from the Buddhist perspective will be critically examined. The role of Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and practice in approaching morality and ethics, as well as contemporary developments in global Buddhism, will be introduced and critically appraised.
Mindfulness, Theory and Practice
This subject examines the systems of meditative practice taught in Buddhist traditions, focusing on mindfulness as the key component in the Buddhist doctrinal framework. It explores the theoretical foundations for meditative practice, practical methods and techniques, and looks at a variety of applications of mindfulness in new contexts and environments. The subject places emphasis both on theory and on practice: students will examine both primary and secondary sources on Buddhist meditation, as well as several techniques and aspects of mindfulness in practice. The subject includes practical meditation sessions.
Research Methods of Religious Studies
This subject is an introduction to critical thinking and the various modes of research used in Applied Buddhist Studies. The basic skills and processes associated with developing research questions, reviewing relevant literature and conducting research will be discussed. Qualitative and quantitative research methods will be reviewed. The subject will also cover key basic principles in academic writing, including referencing and citation methods. As part of the subject, students will be encouraged to develop their own original ideas and formulate research proposals that demonstrate their understanding of applied research.
This subject provides an overview of Buddhist ethics in different traditions; it also examines issues arising from their application in the contemporary world. After outlining the framework of Buddhist ethics, a number of contemporary issues are reviewed and discussed using the lens of Buddhist ethical traditions: issues examined include the natural world (environment, animals, conservation), abortion, suicide, euthanasia, war, gender and sexuality, economics, social responsibility, health etc.
Buddhism and Interreligious Understanding
The subject focuses on a theory of religion, spirituality, and interfaith dialogue. It examines the foundations of religious studies, history and development of the major world religions and their position in the context of modern societal problems, conflict resolution and peace. Additionally, the subject aims to investigate the role and future of religion and interfaith dialogue in our globalized world. Students will also explore how Buddhist perspectives could inform and contribute to contemporary interfaith dialogue.
Buddhism, Environment and Sustainability
This subject examines the relationship between Buddhist traditions, including contemporary Buddhist practice, and global issues in sustainability and environment. This subject will analyse both classic and new sources of Buddhist environmentalism from the global to the personal, and situate them in both local and global geographic contexts. The subject places emphasis both on theory and on practice: apart from the study and critical examination of primary and secondary sources on Buddhist environmentalism, students will participate in field activities examining local environmental issues.
Buddhism and Modern Society
The various schools of Buddhism teach systems of beliefs and practices based on the principles of change and inter-dependence. This subject surveys how major Buddhist Schools today respond to contemporary issues and events around the world by adapting and reinterpreting the ancient doctrines to the modern world. This process is studied in both directions: how traditional Buddhist communities adapt to modernity and how Buddhist teachings are interpreted, reinvented or embraced. The topics include Buddhist responses to globalisation, science and technology, economics, consumerism, workplace management, ethical leadership, bio-ethics, gender issues and/or environmental sustainability.
Health as Buddhist Practice
This subject begins with an exploration of the notion of “Health as Buddhist Practice as Health.” The various modern categories of health, happiness, illness, wellness and cure will be considered, both individually and socially, before reviewing life in the historical Buddha’s time. The Buddhist understanding of medicine will also be covered, the belief in the Buddha as “The Great Physician,” as well as aspects of spiritual health. The subject examines the deficiencies and dilemmas of modern biomedical healthcare, despite “evidence-based care,” together with the emergence of effective Buddhist insights and principles, notably a broad spectrum of mindfulness-based interventions.
Tradition and Change
The subject is intended as a comprehensive survey of Buddhism from its early beginnings to the present day. It aims to give students an insight into the origins and spread of Buddhism across Asia and beyond. The subject will familiarise students with the rich spectrum of Buddhist traditions and schools of philosophy, and give an overview of their developments from the early beginning till the present day. Special attention will be given to the rich variety of Buddhist practices, particularly to meditation. Specific topics (such as politics, gender issues, society and environment in Buddhist context) will be investigated.
Selected Readings of Buddhist Meditation Literature
The subject aims to cultivate students’ analytical ability and understanding of Buddhist textual traditions from which the teachings and practices of modern Buddhism have developed. It focuses on textual representations of Buddhist meditation (mindfulness in particular), which is perceived to be at the heart of Buddhism. The subject explores how different methods of meditative practices are viewed and presented in some of the most influential texts on Buddhist meditation the major Buddhist traditions. The selected texts on meditation are read in English translation, critically analysed, and their relevance for contemporary meditation practices discussed and reflected upon.
Buddhist Art as Visual Communication
The aim of this subject is to teach the knowledge and interpretative skills necessary to fully engage with Buddhist material culture. It will start with a brief assessment of Buddhist visual culture, before presenting the evolution of the image of the historical Buddha Sakyamuni, including aniconic and synoptic representations. Students will also analyse the characteristics and distinguishing qualities of diverse buddhas and bodhisattvas (with special attention to Avalokitesvara); symbols that convey the values and beliefs of Buddhism; the generation of merit through commissions; the visualisation of a deity; and the power of inscribed dharani and ‘seed’ syllables.