Buddhist Studies

As dramatic changes have swept through Thailand and Southeast Asia in the last 50 years, Buddhism has been both highly conservative and radically innovative. Students in the Buddhist Studies certificate program enjoy learning about this complex religious system and benefit from Webster University's campus locations in Asia.

Despite its modest size, Thailand has the third-largest population of Buddhists in the world, behind only China and Japan. Buddhism has also enjoyed an unusually long period of continuity in Thailand. Thai monk Buddhadasa Bhikkhu expressed both aspects when he called for a life of contemplative simplicity and social engagement to counteract the pressures of modern materialism. It was Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh who first gave the name “Engaged Buddhism” to this form of religious practice. Engaged Buddhism was his answer to fellow Buddhists who asked, as the Vietnam War raged, if they should continue their meditation practice or work to stop the war. The engaged Buddhist response unites these two paths - the path of meditation and the path of work to relieve social suffering.

Students approach Buddhism holistically by embracing three forms of learning:

  1. Scholarship on Buddhism as a major world religious tradition
  2. Face-to-face encounters with people who practice Buddhism
  3. Personal reflection that grows from studying Buddhism as a philosophy, form of transformational practice and cultural reality

Buddhist Studies Academic Programs

To read about specific program requirements, learning outcomes and how to apply, click on a program from the following list:

Additional Information