Professor Asanga Tilakaratne from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka recently conducted a special course on Buddhist debates at the Department of Pali, Savitribai Phule Pune University. The course, which was supported by Khyentse Foundation India as part of KF’s Visiting Professorship Program, focused on Kathavatthu, a Pali text on the doctrinal debates in the Theravada school. The lectures began on September 25 and concluded on December 15, 2017.
Professor Tilakaratne also traveled north to Chauntra to visit Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute (DKCLI). “I was so honored to meet Professor Tilakaratne, who is an expert in the Maha Theravada school,” said Khenpo Choying Dorjee, former abbot of DKCLI. “It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss fundamental Buddhism.”
Professor Mahesh Deokar, head of the Department of Pali, University of Pune, praised the visiting professorship, saying, “Professor Tilakaratne’s visit to DKCLI was mutually beneficial, since it gave a first-hand experience of Tibetan Buddhism to Professor Tilakaratne, and made the students of DKCLI aware of the Theravada Buddhist school. Such close dialogues between different schools of Buddhism, and free sharing of traditional and modern approaches to the study of Buddhism, will create bridges to connect people and their philosophies. Considering the value of such visits, we are planning to make it a regular feature of the Khyentse Foundation Visiting Professorship Program at the Savitribai Phule Pune University.”
Professor Tilakaratne is the seventh professor to participate in the program. Past visiting professors include:
• Professor Jurgen Hanneder, Head of the Department of Indology and Tibetology, Phillips University, Marburg, Germany. Oct-Nov, 2015.
• Professor Cristina Sherrer-Schaub, University of Vienna. Jan-Feb, 2016.
• Professor Ashok Aklujkar, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia. March-May, 2016.
• Professor K.L. Dhammajoti, University of Hong Kong. Sept-Oct, 2016.
• Professor Peter Skilling, Professor, École française d’Extrême-Orient,
Thailand and Founder of Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation. Nov-Dec, 2016.
• Professor Tom Tillemans, Professor Emeritus of Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Oriental Languages and Civilizations, at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Jan-Feb 2017.