The East-West Research Institute was founded by the Dharma Gate Buddhist Church and College to provide a framework and the conditions for scientific research into the possibilities of Buddhist education and the dissemination and application of Buddhist principles in our country.
Our Institute, as indicated by its name, intends to enhance and broaden the scope of the East-West dialogue, where “East” refers to oriental cultures influenced by Buddhism through the ages, while “West” refers to modern Western culture, which has recently entered the phase of globalization.
As we move into the 3rd millennium, it seems that there has never been a time when the system of open inquiry, which underpins Buddhism, has been more necessary. As cultures and societies clash with one another, it would appear that the reflective means of inquiry and systematic methods of investigation that the Buddha put forward will be critical in meeting the social, cultural, economical challenges presented to us by globalisation. Our Institute is setting up a major programme of research into ways in which these tried and tested methods of investigation can enhance and ameliorate our collective experience in modern Western society. As the paradigms of communication, dialogue and research form in the new millennium, we believe that the voice of modern Buddhism can make a significant contribution through sharing its incisive insights as the various religious and scientific modes of inquiry currently jostle with one another. The open attitude of Buddhism should have a key role to play in these interdisciplinary dialogues.
Our research has two strands. On the one hand, it focuses on the study of the Buddhist tradition, both in its theoretical and practical aspects, the history, languages and customs of traditionally Buddhist, ethnic cultures, the present situation of Buddhism throughout the world, as well as the history of its spreading in the West. On the other hand, we seek to develop the idea of “Buddhism as an Applied Science”, and find out how Dharma principles can answer the many social, economical, cultural, ecological etc. challenges faced by our world today and in the near future. As part of this project, we are interested in using Buddhist principles to develop a model of a non-violent, compassionate economy based on reproducible energy resources – in an attempt to create a society in which everybody can fulfil their human potential.
Our Institute seeks to find a way of seeing how Buddhist values, views and practices, can be significantly and beneficially applied within the context of this globalising culture. Thus, we would like to enter the East-West dialogue not just in order to find interesting parallelisms and differences between Eastern and Western discourses, but with a view towards the constructive and creative application of Buddhist principles in all walks of life.
To sum up, we aim to contribute to a re-evaluation of our lives from the Buddhist perspective, and to seek out wide-ranging answers and solutions to challenges presented by the 3rd millennium. We intend to create an open and independent forum for our internal and external fellows and colleagues to conduct all kinds of research based on or relating to the Buddhist view of the universe. We seek to build relations, join international research projects and establish long-lasting programs of cooperation with other research institutions – both Buddhist and non-buddhist –, to organise a wide range of joint research projects, and to find opportunities for the application of research results.
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