"I have taught you the Dhamma similar unto a raft for the purpose of crossing over but not to cling to it" (The Buddha in the Alagaddupama Sutta)
It is our endeavour to create and maintain a friendly academic and social environment where both lecturers and students can exchange expertise, news and views in the subject area of Pali and Buddhist Studies. The Department created its programs and courses at all levels with the intention of giving the students a meaningful and comprehensive academic training in Pali language and Buddhist Studies. All programs are taught in English. The Department seeks to establish more links with other universities to play its role as the fore-runner of studies and research into Early Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Ethics, Buddhist Psychology, and Buddhist History and Culture.
The Buddha's teaching represented in the Tipitaka was passed down through generations by word of mouth for about 400 years. In the first century BCE the Pali Tipitaka was first written in Aloka (Alu) Vihara in Matale, Sri Lanka, thus establishing Sri Lanka's pre-eminent role in the History of Buddhism. Pali became the linguistic vehicle in the Theravada () tradition for the transmission of the teachings of the Buddha. This was acknowledged when the University of Ceylon was established in 1942 as the first university in Sri Lanka and the Department of Pali was founded. Later the Department was extended to include the study of Buddhist Philosophy and Civilization.
It is our aim to promote dialogue between the Department and the wider university and non-university Buddhist communities who have shown interest in the activities connected with the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in the field of Buddhist Studies. We strongly believe that this dialogue will open up new educational, religious and social avenues for both the students and lecturers of the Department.
We welcome students who share our interest from across the globe to our programs of Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Philosophy, Master of Arts, Postgraduate Diploma, Bachelor of Arts Special Degree, Certificate Course in Buddhist Studies and Certificate Course in Pali Language. In addition the Department entertains casual students for specified periods of time within which they can engage in specially arranged study to suit their own needs.