Applied Buddhist Studies
A blended approach to study enables flexibility combining self-directed online study with teacher-led workshops and tutorials (currently online only).
Study at your own pace
Full-time and part-time study options available to all students.
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 the origin and development of Buddhism, key doctrines, and common concepts across various traditions. This subject gives students a foundation for Buddhist studies by critically engaging with historical sources and following the development of Buddhist communities throughout Asia up to the modern period.
Mindfulness, Theory and Practice
This subject examines the systems of meditative practice taught in Buddhist traditions, the theoretical foundations for meditative practice, practical methods and techniques, and 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 various modes of research including developing research questions, reviewing relevant literature and conducting research. 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. Students will investigate the role and future of religion and interfaith dialogue in our globalised world, plus how Buddhist perspectives could inform and contribute to contemporary interfaith dialogue.
Buddhism and Modern Society
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.
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, symbols, the generation of merit through commissions, the visualisation of a deity, and the power of inscribed dharani and ‘seed’ syllables.
Naturalisation of Buddhism in China and Beyond
This subject offers an advanced introduction to the history, doctrines, beliefs and practices of Buddhism in China. China is selected because of the successful sinicisation process that includes the transformation of various Buddhist traditions and their interaction with indigenous philosophy, culture and religious practices from the turn of the Common Era to the present. Students will also explore how this naturalised form of Buddhism continues to transform and is assimilated by other cultures.
South Asian Buddhism
A survey of the growth of Buddhism in South Asia from its origins in the fifth century BCE, on through the major developments in the area, including the appearance of early Mahāyāna forms and the eventual decline of Buddhist presence in India. The subject integrates developments in doctrine with relevant archaeological and historical evidence from the field and analyses the nature of early Buddhist schools.
This subject requires students to actively participate in the process of knowledge generation by translating a topic of interest into a research inquiry by defining, developing and refining it to build a case for the literature review. They will explore leading scholars or masters, classic texts, watershed publications or presentations, and current debates in the chosen topic of interest by reviewing the literature. Students will acquire the skills needed to evaluate, critique and synthesise key sources in their field of inquiry. This subject provides opportunities for students to offer and receive feedback in class through peer review.
This subject is designed to prepare students to be successful in their postgraduate studies by strengthening existing academic abilities and literacies gained through undergraduate study. It introduces contemporary topics to help students develop critical thinking, research and communication skills and includes an introduction to contemplative inquiry and reflective practices, which underpin NTI’s postgraduate curriculum.
Foundational Texts in Humanistic Buddhism
This subject serves as a survey of texts contributing to the development of Humanistic Buddhism Students will survey a variety of texts including recent scholarship and historical commentaries on sūtras by humanistic Buddhist masters, cultivating both an analytical ability and understanding of contemporary interpretation. The subject also informs students of different methodological approaches to textual analysis, issues with translation, as well as the writings and lives of exemplary Buddhist practitioners.
Principles of Professional Engagement
This subject provides student practitioners with advanced skill development and understanding of best practices in engaging the public and devotees. Students will explore the effectiveness of a variety of communication and teaching strategies in multicultural and multi-faith communities to apply best practice and exercise humanistic values in a contemplative manner. Topics covered include ethical engagement, teaching methodologies, contemplative learning strategies, religious promotion, and project management in both faith-based and secular communities.