Q: What is Buddha Dharma University?

A: Buddha Dharma University was established by the Five Mountain Zen Order (“The Monastery Beyond Walls”) primarily as a Buddhist seminary with an emphasis on Zen training. We are a religious institution that seeks to provide a thorough, in-depth education in Buddhism from the perspective of a variety of traditions, but with a strong emphasis on our core: Korean Zen. See our history.

Q: Do I have to be a member of the Five Mountain Zen Order to enroll in Buddha Dharma University?

A: No. Everyone is welcome. The only requirement is that you have a sincere heart, are willing to learn, are eager to serve others, and have the self-discipline required to study at home. Of course, Buddha Dharma University is ideal if your aspiration is to become a Zen Priest or Monk.

Q: What sort of job will my degree allow me to get?

A: That of serving others, in whatever capacity that may take. Our graduates have only one “job” – To help others wake up to their true nature. That may take a wide variety of forms. For example, graduates of Buddha Dharma University may go on to found their own Zen centers, serve as chaplains or spiritual counselors, teachers, authors…but, above all, they are servants where they live and work. In other words, do not expect a six-figure income; expect to discover your true nature — and how to help others discover the same.

The direction of the Five Mountain Zen Order is to be “in the world with helping hands.” That’s what we expect of our graduates, and what you can expect to do when you graduate — enter the world with helping hands. So don’t enroll to make money. Enroll to wake up and serve the world.

Q: How many classes should I take?

A: That’s up to you, and what you want from your education at Buddha Dharma University.

Full-time students typically take 3 classes each quarter and can graduate in four years. Of course you can take as many classes as your schedule will allow.

Q: I have looked into other distance-learning programs, but I am hesitant. Will I feel part of a community?

A: That’s up to you. All students have access to their professors via email, phone, and on-line video. Also, each continuing student is assigned to a Zen teacher who will engage you in personal practice counseling as well as koan study if you wish it. These meetings take place regularly, perhaps once a week, and will enhance your Zen experience.

Many universities, and even some high schools, are now utilizing online learning as a regular part of their curriculum. Buddha Dharma University is on the cutting edge of this growing trend.

Buddha Dharma University strives to provide an education as interactive and personal as possible, to anyone who seeks it — regardless where you happen to live. But, as with everything else in the world, you get out of it what you put into it. If you seek camaraderie, contribute to forum posts, interact with professors and fellow students.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Yes. Depending on your needs, and the availability of funds each quarter, you may qualify for assistance with your tuition. When you apply, please let us know your situation. Our admissions board will discuss it and contact you as soon as possible. NOTE: there is a finite amount of financial aid available in the form of scholarships. There is no guarantee scholarship money will be available when you apply. So please apply as early as possible in your decision-making process.

Also, students receiving financial aid are expected to show exemplary effort and commitment to the Dharma, and demonstrate academic mastery in the form of a grade of least a B or better. If academic performance drops below a B average, or if it is deemed students are not fully engaged in their academic studies, scholarships and/or grants will be revoked and students will be put on probation to determine if financial aid should be reinstated.

Q: Where do I obtain textbooks?

A: To help keep our tuition costs low, we use free resources as often as possible. Where that is not possible, we provide links to Internet sources such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or other online sellers of books. Please budget for at least $20 for textbooks for each course.

Q: Does Buddha Dharma University have a code of conduct that students are expect to follow?

A: Yes. It can be found here.

Q: Does Buddha Dharma University offer a doctoral degree?

A: Not at this time. We hope to have courses established and our doctorate program in place starting in a couple of years.

Q: I have a question not answered here. Is there someone I could contact to ask it?

A: Yes. You may e-mail Admissions.