Karmapa Award for Buddhist Studies

Karmapa Award for Buddhist Studies


Karmapa Award, a Great opportunity

Karmapa International Buddhist Society recently announced the introduction of the "Karmapa Award for Buddhist Studies". Since I am unaware how many people actually noticed it, I decided to bring it up here. It is a great opportunity for graduate students in the field of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies.

Awarded on an annual basis

This annual prize is awarded on behalf of the newly formed KIBS Europe e. V. in cooperation with the Institute for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna (read about the institute here). It primarily honors excellent PhD theses, but outstanding MA theses will also be considered.

©Maria Maysova

A valuable prize

The laureate will not only receive a substantial prize money worth 1000€, but can also stay one month free of cost (including room and board, excluding airfare) at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute, New Delhi, to engage in further research or study.

If you finished your MA or PhD thesis not more than 2 years ago, you are eligible. Deadline for the Karmapa Award 2014 is March 31st.

Further details of the award (can also be downloaded here):

Karmapa Award for Buddhist Studies

Karmapa International Buddhist Society (KIBS) announces the establishment of a yearly “Karmapa Award for Buddhist Studies” in cooperation with the Institute for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna. The prize is awarded on behalf of KIBS Europe e.V. to honor excellent PhD theses in the field of Buddhist studies, particularly works focusing on topics related to the Kagyu (bka’ brgyud) traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Mahāmudrā doctrine. Outstanding MA theses may also be considered.
Eligible dissertations contain original research that advances the field, and need to be based on relevant primary language(s). Please note that no more than two years should have elapsed since the awarding of the PhD(/MA) degree at the time of the submission deadline. 
The award consists of a prize worth 1000 € as well as a four week stay free of cost (including room and board, but excluding transportation/air travel) for research and study at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute, New Delhi.
Young researchers of the international scientific community are invited to apply by email to award@kibseurope.org. Please attach the following documents:
-          Motivation letter
-          Short CV (including full contact information)
-          Short summary of the dissertation (around 1000 words)
-          Digital copy of the dissertation
Further details:
-          The dissertation may be written in English, German or French
-          Submission deadline: March 31st


Eight good reasons for engaging in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies in Vienna

Eight good reasons for engaging in
Tibetan and Buddhist Studies in Vienna - Buddhist Studies, Part 2



This post will give you a good idea what it’s like to engage in Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna. In an earlier post on Buddhist Studies I tried to answer the question why one would at all engage in Buddhist Studies. So, in case you still take that into consideration, you might wonder what would be a good place for doing so. 

Suppose you want to dedicate yourself full-time to studies, you basically have two options: you can either enroll in a Buddhist Studies program at a Western university or enter a private institution run by a Buddhist society. Both approaches do have their pros and cons, but I am planning to dedicate a separate post to this subject at a later time.

ISTB, Vienna
Let’s say for the moment you consider studying at a Western university. There are of course a lot of Buddhist Studies programs worldwide to choose from, but only a few of them belong to the circle of leading institutions of the field. I will not make any judgment, stating which University belongs to this group and which doesn’t. Still, the program of the Institute for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (ISTB) of the University of Vienna is certainly among them.

I have chosen to introduce this particular institute simply for the reason that I’ve spent a large part of my studies there. Therefore, I really do have an idea how the program is like. No doubt, other institutes might have an equally good offer, and I am very interested to learn about that.  

Please, feel free to share your own experiences, either about the program in Vienna or your own institute! You can do so by commenting at the end of this post, but you can also send me a short article about your institute by Email. I will do my best to publish it here in near future.

Eight good reasons for choosing Vienna


1. The location

If you have never visited Vienna before, you really should. It is for good reason that Mercer has ranked Vienna for the fourth time in a row as the number one most livable city in the world.  

Not much to add, it is really a wonderful place to be. You can get some impressions here. If you do not come here for your studies, you should at least come for some sight-seeing once. 

Buddhism is also a state-recognized religion in Austria which goes along with a lot of benefits. It for example means that schools are obliged to offer Buddhist religious classes upon demand. Hence, some students may already have a good knowledge of the subject prior to their studies.


Coping with Stress - a fourfold Buddhist Perspective

Stress, Stress, Stress

Constant stress has become an important factor in our lives today, and so it is very important that we learn how to cope with it. A recent study shows that nearly six out of ten Germans perceive their lives as stressful, and one out of five feel that they are continuously under pressure.

Since we are probably all very busy, I first have to thank you for taking the time to read this at all! 

Stress, Stress, Stress - Buddhist Mindfulness as a remedy for stress

Do the Buddhist teachings help against stress?

You may wonder how a Buddhist perspective could be helpful here. After all, the Buddha lived more than 2500 years ago in India. Is it possible that his teachings have something meaningful to offer for our modern urban life-style?

A lot of medicinal studies about the effects of Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) actually suggest they have. MBSR is a method to cope with stress that draws from various Buddhist techniques, and is steadily gaining popularity.


5 Common Misconceptions about Buddhism

A short list of five very common misconceptions about Buddhism


"Buddha is a god"

Buddha is not another name for god like Yahweh or Alah. Answering the question who or what a Buddha exactly is, isn't that easy because it depends on the viewpoint. For some Buddhist traditions, the Buddha was simply a historical person, i.e. a human being who reached spiritual insight through meditative practice. For others, the Buddha has transcended the state of an ordinary human being and possesses special powers. Still, he isn’t considered a god, but rather forms a category of his own. 

It's even more complicated: Buddhism does not deny the existence of gods altogether. Buddhists believe that one can take rebirth as a god, but it is not the goal of Buddhist practice which is to pass beyond the endless cycle of rebirths.

"Karma means fate"

Karma is no synonym for fate or predetermination in Buddhism. The Sanskrit term simply means actions and describes the natural law of causality, i.e. that any action will trigger off a specific effect. It is therefore often called "the law of karma, cause and effect". While it is explained that any karmic action will inevitably lead to a corresponding result, not everything that occurs is believed to have been caused by karma alone. A great deal of what happens is said to depend on conditions as well.


The Buddha's Life

The Life of the Buddha

Buddhism is one of the major world religions next to Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. There are around 500 millions Buddhist world-wide, but the majority of them is of course found in Asia, with a divide in Southern (Sri Lanka, Thailand and so on) and Northern Buddhism (China, Japan, Tibet and so on). Different Buddhist schools and traditions are very diverse and there is no single dominant authority or spiritual head of Buddhism as we for example find it in the case of the pope for Catholicism.  What all of them share however is strong veneration for the founder of Buddhism, the Buddha.

The Buddha’s Time
The man, who later came to be known as Buddha Shakyamuni or in short the Buddha, was born in the town of Kapilavasthu belonging to the small kingdom at the border between India and Nepal.  The kingdom was governed by several noble families among which the ruler of the country was elected. At the birth of the Buddha, it was his father who reigned the kingdom of the Shakya, and the Buddha was consequently born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama of the Shakya clan. In accordance with the Theravada-tradition, he is said to have lived from 623-543 BCE. Due to differing accounts available in other sources, the exact dating of the Buddha is however highly debated among Western scholars and it is generally accepted that he lived somewhat between 500-350 BCE. Recent findings in Lumbini revealing the structure of an ancient shrine which dates back to the 6th century BCE could provide new fuel to the discussion.


Grandfather and Grandson, or How to Respect the Older Generation?

When reading Grimm’s fairy tales to my son, I came across the wonderful tale of "The Old Grandfather and His Grandson”. I think this tale works very well, because it directly hits the mark. No-one wants to suffer and everyone wants to be happy, but we so easily forget that this holds true for others as well. From my little experience with old-age homes, it seems that some people even don't notice that it holds true for their parents as well...

In any case, the tale inspired me to write a modern adaptation in German which I also tried to translate into English: