The Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies represents one of the oldest Departments of Study in the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, originally formed in 1959 under the name of Vidyodaya University of Sri Lanka. The founder of the University, the Most Venerable Welivitiye Sri Soratha Nayaka Thera had the objective of making the University a center of learning on Buddhist Philosophy and Buddhist Civilization. The Department is proud to continue this tradition and provide opportunities for students to learn major areas related to Buddhism – Pali Language, Buddhist Civilization and Buddhist Philosophy.
Our Department provides an excellent opportunity to study Pali, a Middle Indo-Aryan Language, which serves as the primary source of information on Early Buddhism and the Theravada Buddhist Tradition, in particular. The texts written in Pali include the Tripitaka (The Pali Canon), Atthakatha (Commentaries), Tika (Sub-commentaries), Prakarana (Compendiums), Vamsakatha (Chronicles) and so on. This course is designed to provide the students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of both the Pali language and literature, via a mixture of historical, philological and philosophical study approaches.
In countries where Buddhism has spread, their own forms of economic, political and social philosophies as well as art forms have emerged. Interestingly, these art forms and social philosophies co-evolved with the evolution of Buddhist thought. Buddhist Civilization examines the evolution of these Social Philosophies and Buddhism in many parts of the world, including India, Sri Lanka and the Far- East.
Buddhist Philosophy attempts to study Buddhist teachings as a system of philosophy, a system of ethics, with an approach to psychology, and as a sociological discourse. In addition, the course covers the History of Buddhist Philosophy, which is essential to understand the present state of Buddhist philosophy among world religions and philosophies. Further, the Course is designed to produce students who are capable of studying, in depth and breadth, the individual and social problems of contemporary era, seeking favorable solutions from the light of Buddhist thought.