Is this Program Right for You?
Administered by the Carleton-Antioch Global Engagement Program, the Buddhist Studies in India program has become recognized for the academic excellence of its comparative approach to both the theory and practice of Buddhism. The program weaves together the diverse resources of Bodh Gaya, a unique pilgrimage center in northern India, home to more than 40 Buddhist temples within a largely Hindi and Muslim community. Each temple offers a gateway for students to explore a particular culture and region where Buddhism manifests around the world, including Tibet, Sri Lanka, Burma, Japan, Bhutan, and others.
Through comparative study, the program examines each of the three major Buddhist traditions and their historical development: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Students live in a Burmese Vihar, or monastery, where a highly qualified team of faculty and on-site staff, led by Director Robert Pryor, provide an engaging and supportive environment. In addition, the program includes group travel to Varanasi and New Delhi, as well as a month-long Independent Study Project at the end of the semester that includes the opportunity to travel to a Buddhist community in India or neighboring countries.
AU students participating in the Carleton-Antioch Global Engagement Program's Buddhist Studies in India program for the Fall semester earn a full semester of AU credit. Students are required to take four courses on the program and receive 4 AU credits per course for a total of 16 credits for the semester. The Buddhist Studies in India curriculum consists of three components: Core Courses; Language Courses; and Required Courses. Students enroll in four courses, including the two required classes, one core course, and a language course or an additional core course. The Required Courses on the program are Buddhist Meditation Traditions and then an Independent Study on a selected topic. Core Course options include courses on Buddhist history, culture and philosophy. Language Courses are offered in Hindi and Tibetan.
For more information on the academic structure of the program and course offerings please see Carleton College's Buddhist Studies in India website.
View the Course Equivalency Database to find out which courses on this program have already been equated to AU courses. Please note that you are NOT limited to just these courses. Students will need to request equivalency for courses which have not been previously reviewed. Read more about the course equivalency process and how AU counts study abroad credits on our Courses and Credits page.
It was in Bodh Gaya, under the Bodhi tree that the prince-ascetic Gotama became the fully enlightened Buddha. For two and a half millennia, Bodh Gaya has been a magnet for pilgrims from all Buddhist cultures who come to venerate this sacred site, each in a fashion unique to his or her own tradition. Thus, within a two-mile radius, temples have been constructed to function with the cultural traditions of Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Bhutan, and Tibet. As well as being a pilgrimage center for Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is home to several thousand Hindus and Muslims. Religious and cultural festivals abound here.
The program begins with a three-day program orientation in London. The group will then spend three days in Delhi for further orientation before proceeding to Bodh Gaya. Classes are held for nine weeks, followed by the three-week independent study period, which may include independent travel to other areas of India, and a final week in Bodh Gaya.
Example Daily Schedule in Bodh Gaya
5:30 am Meditation
6:30 am Breakfast
7:30 am Language Classes
8:30 am Class Period
10:00 am Tea
10:30 am Class Period
12:00 pm Language Practice
1:00 pm Lunch
4:00 pm Tea
5:00 pm Meditation
6:30 pm Dinner
This schedule is followed Monday through Friday. Language classes meet daily, while Philosophy, History, and Anthropology meet three times each week. During the weekends we continue with meditation practice and also have occasional field trips to sites of interest.
Housing and Meal
Lodging and vegetarian meals will be provided at the guest house within the compound of the Burmese Vihar (monastery). Living within a Buddhist monastery, following a rigorous daily schedule and the five basic Buddhist ethical precepts, creates a nourishing environment for study and practice.
The Buddhist Studies in India program is only available in the Fall semester. Please see the program website for specific program dates.