BUDDHIST STUDY IN MYANMAR
Buddhism had been the state religion of Burma beginning with the Kingdom of Pakan in 1044, and was briefly reinstated as the state religion under Prime Minister U Nu in 1961 until the military coup in 1962. With Buddhism closely affiliated with Burmese identity, particularly Burman identity, nationalism took on specific Buddhist associations. Buddhist Burmans rallied behind slogans such as “To be Burmese is to be Buddhist.” Buddhist monks who opposed colonialism, some dying in prison, became powerful symbols for the nationalist movement. Though opposition has never been uniform among the Sangha, thousands of monks have engaged in political activism over the past century, most recently in the 2007 Saffron Revolution.
Lastly, a unique aspect of Buddhism in Myanmar has been the growth of meditation movements among laypeople. Traditionally, meditation practice was reserved for monastic elites; lay religious practice consisted largely of making offerings to monks who went on alms-rounds. Under British colonialism, however, meditation was taught to laypeople in large numbers for the first time, a practice that continues into the present day. Prominent Burmese meditation teachers have also influenced the practice of Buddhism throughout America and Europe, particularly in the style of meditation known as vipassana, or insight meditation.
Myanmar has carefully preserved Theravada Buddhism for nearly one thousand years. Now Myanmar is sharing its knowledge of Buddhism both in theory and practice with the people of the world to promote their happiness and moral well-being. For the first time, those who wish to learn Theravada Buddhist canonical texts and insight meditation in Myanmar tradition will have a chance to study at the same institution. Faculty members are renowned Myanmar Buddhist scholars of high academic achievements who have profound knowledge of Pali canons. In order to overcome language barriers, language teaching is included in the academic programmes.
The International Theravāda Buddhist Missionary University (ITBMU)
The International Theravāda Buddhist Missionary University(ITBMU) is situated on the Dhammapāla Hill, Mayangone Township, in Yangon, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. It was inaugurated on 9 December 1998, under Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.
Myanmar has carefully preserved Theravāda Buddhism in its pristine form for nearly one thousand years. Now she is sharing her knowledge of Buddhism both in theory and practice with the people of the world to promote their happiness and moral well-being. Those who wish to learn Theravāda Buddhist canonical texts and insight meditation in Myanmar tradition have a golden opportunity to study them from the Myanmar Buddhist scholars of high academic achievements at the same institution. The Myanmar and Pāli languages are included in the academic programmes. The medium of instruction is English.