We, THE DELEGATES representing many countries and numerous organizations from all parts of the world and attending the 20th General Conference of The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) in New South Wales, Australia from October 29 - November 2, B.E. 2541 (1998), are determined to establish THE WORLD BUDDHIST UNIVERISTY (WBU) as recommended by the 56th Meeting of the WFB Executive Council held at the Headquarters of The World Fellowship of Buddhists, Bangkok, the Kingdom of Thailand on December 4, B.E. 2540 (1997). The main objective of the University is to conduct advanced Buddhist studies and coordinate with the Buddhist universities and institutions which offer Buddhist studies and related subjects all over the world in the field of research, training, spiritual practice, cultural exchange and education for enhancement and realization of the aims of The World Fellowship of Buddhists as follows :
- To promote among the members strict observance and practice of the teaching of the Buddha;
- To secure unity, solidarity and brotherhood amongst Buddhists:
- To propagate the sublime doctrine of the Buddha;
- To organize and carry on activities in the field of social, educational, cultural and other humanitarian services; and
- To work for securing peace and harmony amongst men and happiness for all beings and collaborating with other organizations working for the same ends.
The mission of the University is in accordance with the instruction gyeven by the Buddha to the first group of Buddhist disciples prior to their going forth to different regions of the world "Go now, and wander for the gain of the many, for the welfare of the many, out of compassion of the world, for the good, for the gain and for the welfare of deities and human beings. Preach, Bhikkhus, the doctrine (the Dhamma) which is glorious in the beginning, glorious in the middle, glorious at the end, in the spirit and in the letter, proclaim a consummate, perfect and pure life of holiness". With such perspective, the University shall, among others, encourage the scholars to become well versed in Buddhist scriptures and to experience the profundity of the Dhamma through spiritual development. English, Pali, Sanskrit and other related languages shall be taught in the University.
Finally, we appreciate the initiative and support given by H.E. Prof. Sanya Dharmasakti, President of The World Fellowship of Buddhists in establishment of the World Buddhist University which can be regarded as and outstanding achievement of his tenure and coincides with two special occasions:
- The World Fellowship of Buddhists will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in B.E. 2543 (2000) for its mission to bring about peace, happiness and harmony amongst mankind; and
- The Government of the Kingdom of Thailand the country where the permanent Headquarters of The WFB is located has celebrated the 84th Birthday Anniversary of His Holiness, Somdej Phra Nyansamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of the Kingdom of Thailand for the duration of one year (October 3, B.E. 2540/1997 - October 2, B.E. 2541/1998) due to the fact that the Supreme Patriarch plays an active role in promoting Buddhism at both national and international levels. He also fully supports the work of The WFB in his capacity as the leading Patron (Ref. Article 5 of WFB Constitution).
In pursuing the fulfillment of our desires, we extend our thanks and appreciation to the Following bodies:
ARTICLE I: PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLE
The World Buddhist University shall be an international community of Buddhist scholars, engaged in research, post-graduate training, spiritual practice, Buddhist education and dissemination of knowledge in furtherance of the objectives of the World Fellowship of Buddhists. It shall function under the joint sponsorship of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, the WFB's Regional Centers, the academic networks and the host country where the University Centre is located.
The main purpose of the World Buddhist University are as follows:
1. To serve as a coordinating Centre to exchange academic works, research and development and related information at regional and international levels.
2. To develop and promote the science of Buddhist education to be more universally accessible.
3. To offer alternatives for educational system aiming to perfect development of human being and society together with creation of more civilized world in accordance with law of nature.
4. To involve Buddhism in solving regional and global crises.
5. To provide and facilitate Buddhist academic services to the World Fellowship of Buddhists, its members and organizations working for the same ends.
The University shall devote itself to research into critical regional and global problems of human survival, happiness and harmony among mankind that are the concern of the WFB and its Regional Centers by focusing on education, development, peace, environment and culture.
- The research programmers of the WBU shall include, among others, co-existence between people having different religions and sects, cultures languages and social systems, critical problems, peaceful relations between states and religious freedom, and application of Buddhism for promotion of peace, happiness and quality of life and other related issues.
- In its training, the University shall assist scholars especially the young ones, to participate in research in order to increase their capability to contribute to the extension, application and diffusion of knowledge. The University may also undertake training of persons who will serve in international or national programmers, particularly in regard to an interdisciplinary approach to problems.
- The University shall promote spiritual practice through global meditation networks or other means for enhancement of the profundity of the Dhamma.
- The University shall organize Buddhist education programmers at the certain levels to meet the needs of the WFB Regional Centers and the academic networks through an interdisciplinary approach with Buddhism as a core subject.
- The University shall disseminate the knowledge gained during its activities to the WFB, its Regional Centers, scholars, networks and the public in order to enhance active interaction and exchange amongst the worldwide community.
ARTICLE II: ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND AUTONOMY
The University shall enjoy autonomy within the framework of the World Fellowship of Buddhists. It shall also enjoy the academic freedom acquired for the achievement of its objectives, with particular reference to the choice of topics and methods of research and training, the selection of persons and institutions to share in its tasks, and freedom of self-expression. The University shall decide freely on the use of the financial resource allocated for the implementation of its activities.
The Rector, with the approval of the Council of the University, shall conclude on behalf of the World Fellowship of Buddhists such agreements with Regional Centers and countries where the University and its networks operate as deemed necessary to ensure academic freedom and autonomy.
ARTICLE III: ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE
The University shall consist of
1. a Council, serving as the governing board of the university;
2. a Rector, responsible to the Council for the direction, administration, co-ordination and development of the University;
3. a University Centre as administrative organ under the directorship of the Rector;
4. the research and training centres;
5. the spiritual practice and development centres;
6. the educational development programmes including languages;
7. the networking institutes in the countries where the WFB's Regional Centres are located; and
8. others to be assigned.
- In regard to advanced research, post-graduate training, spiritual practice and educational development, the Council of the University may assign for academic excellence, certain institutions and centres as associated institutions of the University, for conducting research, training, spiritual practice and educationalprogrammes within terms and conditions to be decided by the Council.
- In order to accomplish its purposes, the University may organize joint international programmes with appropriate institutions and individuals in various parts of the world on the basis of contractual and other arrangements.
ARTICLE IV: COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY
There shall be a Council of the World Buddhist University to be established on a broad geographical basis with due regard to major academic, religious, educational, social and cultural trends in the world. The Council shall have not less than 17 but not more than 25 members serving in their individual capacity, who shall be appointed by the President of the WFB in consultation with WFB's Executive Council. The rector of the University shall be ex-officio member of the council and serve as the secretary of the council.
- The President of the WFB and a representative of the host country where the University Centre is located shall be ex-officio members of the Council. The Council may invite representatives of concerned organizations and academic bodies to attend the meeting of the Council as observers.
- The term of office of the Council's members shall be 5 years. No appointed member of the Council may serve continuously for more than 10 years. The Council shall be consulted with regard to the replacing retired members.
- The Council shall:
1. Formulate principles and policies which shall govern the activities and operations of the University;
2. Adopt such statutes as may be necessary for the application of the Charter;
3. Decide upon the setting up or incorporation of the research, training and spiritual practice centres and programmes which constitute the totality of the University in establishing standards for their operation either on its own authority, in cases where they are set up, or by agreement in cases where they are being incorporated;
4. Consider and approve the work programme and adopt the budget of the University on the basis of proposals submitted to it by the Rector;
5. Consider reports of the Rector on the activities of the University and on the execution of its plans of work;
6. Issue directives and take measures within the framework of the University;
7. Make whatever recommendations it may deem either necessary or desirable for the effective functioning of the University;
8. Report annually to the President of the WFB, the WFB's Executive Council and/of the WFB's General Conference through the Honorary Secretary General of the WFB, on the work of the University; and
9. Create such subsidiary bodies as it deems necessary.
- The Council shall meet in regular session at least once a year and shall be convened by the Rector. It shall elect its Chairman and other officers and shall adopt rules of procedures, including procedures for convening special sessions as necessary.
- The Council shall consider the methods of financing the University with a view to ensuring the effectiveness of its future operations, their continuity and the University's autonomous character within the various kinds of arrangements under which institutions and individuals may be associated with its work, and the criteria to be met by such of the highest academic standards.
- The Council shall grant to research training and spiritual practice centres and education programmesadequate resources to ensure that the academic staff, equipment and working conditions meet the standards for research, training spiritual practice and education with sharing and partnership of the respective host institutions.
ARTICLE V: RECTOR OF THE UNIVERSITY
The Rector of the University shall be appointed by the President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in conformity with the following procedures. The University Council shall appoint a nominating committee of three members and shall delegate its Chairman and two other members to a Nominating Committee, to which the President of the WFB and the representative of the host country shall appoint one member each. The Nominating Committee shall prepare a panel of candidates not less than three and not more than five names, arranged in alphabetical order, for consideration by the Council. The Council has approved the panel, it shall transmit its approval to the President of the WFB. The President with his concurrence shall appoint one of the candidates as Rector.
- The Rector shall normally serve for five years and shall be eligible for reappointment for one more term of five years. Conditions of the service of the Rector shall be determined by the Council in consultation with the President of the WFB.
- The Rector has authority to nominate Vice-Rectors for academic, Administrative Affairs and others as deemed necessary.
- The Rector shall be an ex-officio member of the WBU Council and chief academic and administrative officer of the University. The Rector shall have over-all responsibility for the direction, organization, administration and programmes of the University, in accordance with the general policies and criteria formulated by the Council.
The Rector shall, inter alia:
1. submit the plan of work and the budget estimates of the University to the Council for its consideration and approval;
2. direct the activities connected with the execution of the research training, spiritual and educational programmes and authorize the expenditures approved by the Council;
3. appoint the personnel of the University in accordance with the procedures approved by the Council, so as to ensure the highest intellectual and moral quality of that personnel;
4. direct and develop the staff of the University;
5. set up such advisory bodies as may be necessary, including where appropriate representatives of interested WFB's Regional Centres and other organizations particularly concerned with the activities of the University;
6. make arrangements with Governments and international as well as national public and private organizations with a view to offering and receiving services related to the activities of the University;
7. after consultation with the Chairman of the Council, accept, on behalf of the University, voluntary contribution and gifts to the University from governments, international and national organizations, foundations and other non-governmental sources, for all purposes related to the activities of the University;
8. co-ordinate the total research and training programmes of the University with the activities of the WFB and its Regional Centres and, so far as possible, with research programmes of the world scholastic community;
9. report to the Council in accordance with the rules of procedures on the activities of the University and the execution of its plans of work; and
10. submit the long-term development plan of the University to the Council for approval; and
11. others to be assigned by the Council.
ARTICLE VI: UNIVERSITY CENTRE
The University Centre shall assist the Rector in the performance of the following tasks:
- Develop and plan topics of research and areas of training for the University and conclude contracts for research and training activities with a view to achieving the aims and objectives of the University and to ensuring the highest academic standards and universality of approaches.
- Administer the over-all University programme and fund it in accordance with the approved budget.
- Promote exchanges of scholars, "Buddhological" ideas and information within the world Buddhist community by making appropriate use of conferences and workshops.
- Serve as a depository of information regarding the expertise available on subjects of relevance to the work of the University, in co-operation with WFB's Regional Centres and existing information systems.
- Maintain an up-to-date roster of qualified scholars from all parts of the world who are experts in the present and prospective fields of the University, and assist the research, training and spiritual practice centres and programmes in finding competent scholars as necessary.
- Maintain close co-ordination between the activities of the University and those of the organs and programmes of the WFB and its Regional Centres.
- Perform such other functions as the Rector may determine.
- Serve as Headquarters of the University.
- Others to be assigned by the Rector.
ARTICLE VII: PERSONNEL OF THE UNIVERSITY
The academic and administrative personnel of the University shall be selected with a view to achieving its stated objectives. The basic criteria for selection shall be the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity, with respect to the following;
- The personnel of the University shall consist of
1. academic personnel;
2. administrative personnel;
3. trainers and
4. other to be assigned by the Council.
- The assignment of personnel to each of these categories with the provisions of the statutes shall be adopted by the Council.
- The academic personnel shall be composed of
1. the Rector;
2. Vice-Rectors for academic, administrative and others;
3. the directing personnel, i.e. the Rector's senior collaborators and the directors of the research, training and spiritual practice centres;
4. research personnel, visiting professors, visiting fellows and consultants;
5. Buddhist scholars;
6. educational programme directors and
7. other to be assigned by the Council.
All members of the academic personnel shall enjoy in their research, training and spiritual work and the academic freedom guaranteed by the Council.
ARTICLE VIII: FINANCE AND BUDGET
Capital costs and recurrent costs of the University shall be met from voluntary contributions to the University, of from other income such as
1. by fees for enrollment;
2. by the WFB's Regional Centres, networking institutions, and other related agencies;
3. by non-governmental sources including foundations;
4. by financial support from abroad;
5. by Governments of the countries where the regional centres and networking organizations are located respectively; and
6. by other sources to be assigned;
- The Rector may also accept assistance for the University's projects, particularly fellowship, from the WFB and its Regional Centres as well as other intergovernmental organizations.
- Contributions which may directly and indirectly involve an immediate of ultimate financial liability for the University, or which involve a new activity not yet included in its programme, may be accepted only with the approval of the Council.
- University funds shall be kept in a separate account entitled "WBU FUND" to be established by the Rector of the University in accordance with the Financial Regulations of the University which must be approved by at least one third of the total members of the University Council.
- University funds shall be held and administered solely for the University. The Rector of the University shall perform all necessary financial and accounting functions for the University, including the custody of its funds, and shall prepare and certify the annual accounts showing the status of WBU FUND special account.
- Current Financial Regulations and current Financial Rules of the WBU must be strictly applied and enforced to the financial operations of the University, with the rector is the plenipotentiary subject to such special rules.
- The Rector shall prepare the budget estimates for the University in manner consistent with the Regulations, Rules, policies and procedures of the University. The estimates shall be submitted to the Council for approval.
- Funds administered by and for the University shall, as provided in the Financial Regulations of the WBU, be subject to audit by the WBU's Auditor.
- The general administrative, personnel and financial services of the WFB may be utilized by the University on conditions determined in consultation between the President and the Rector. It is understood that no extra cost to the regular budget of the WFB will be incurred.
ARTICLE IX: LOCATION AND NETWORKING SYSTEM
The University shall have its headquarters at Buddha Monthon, Nakhon Pathom Province, Kingdom of Thailand, where the University Centre shall be located.
- The location of the Associated Institutions and Centres of the University, as provided for under Article III.2, shall be decided and approved by the University Council, in accordance with rules that may be made for this purpose by the University Council.
- Each associated institution or centre shall be under the authority of a Director. The Director shall collaborate with the Rector, in particular for the purpose of ensuring the co-ordination of programmes through the University networks.
- The Conference of Directors of Research, Training and Spiritual Practice Centres and Educational Programmes shall be called by the Rector periodically to review and evaluate programmes being undertaken, and advise and assist the Rector in improving current programmes and defining and planning new programmes for the University system.
ARTICLE X: STATUS AND AUTHORITY OF THE UNIVERSITY
The University is an autonomous organ of the WFB and shall enjoy the status and privileges provided in the related articles of the WFB's Constitution and in other agreements relating to the University's status and privileges to be accorded by the host countries and/or the WFB's Regional Centres where the academic networks, the research, training and spiritual practice centres are located respectively.
- The University may require and dispose of real and personal property, and may take other legal actions necessary for the performance of its functions.
- The University may enter into agreements, contracts or arrangements with governments, organizations, institutions, firms or individuals for the purpose of carrying out it's activities.
ARTICLE XI: THE EMBLEM OF THE UNIVERSITY
The emblem of the World Buddhist University consists of Dhammachakka and 2 ears of rice to buttress 9 grails on each side which is described as follows:
- Dhammacakka, meaning the wheel of Dhamma, refers to the First Sermon which is called "Dhammacakkappavattanasutta" that the Lord Buddha gave to the first five disciples by which the wheel of Dhamma began revolving to reveal the truth of life. The Blessed One pointed out the true condition of life in the Four Noble Truths and the middle way of practice of "Majjhima Patipada" that leads to extinction of suffering according to the Eightfold Noble Path symbolized by the eight spokes in the Wheel of Dhamma, meaning thereby the wheel of proclaiming the Dhamma began to move and has been revolving ever since.
- The 2 ears of rice stems supporting both the sides of the Dhammacakka mean the rice-field of merits in Buddhism including sustainable growth and perpetuity of Buddhism on the basis of Sikkhattaya, i.e. morality (Sila), concentration (Samadhi) and wisdom (Panna) by which Buddhism has brought enlightenment to mankind in order to refine our thought and action.
- Each rice stem has 5 stalks supporting the riceleaves meaning development through the Sikkhattaya of the Five Aggregates (Khandha) of corporeality (Rupa), sensation (Vedana), perception (Sanna), mental formation (Sankhara) and consciousness (Vinnana).
- Each ear of rice has 9 grains meaning the 9 Supramundane States, i.e. the Four Paths (Magga), the Four Fruitions (Phala) and 1 Extinction of the Defilements (Nibbana) which is the highest aim of Buddhism.
ARTICLE XII: AMENDMENTS
Amendments of the Charter may be made by the General Conference of The World Fellowship of Buddhists.
- After consultation with The WFB Executive Council, the Honorary Secretary General of The World Fellowship of Buddhists, at the request of the University Council or after consultation with it, may propose amendments of the Charter to WFB General Conference.
ARTICLE XIII: TRANSITIONAL PROVISION
- Pending the recommendations of the University Council in respect of the conditions of service of the different categories of the University's personnel, their status will be determined as provided in Article VII with recommendation of the WFB President.
- Operation of the World Buddhist University is divided into two phases as follow:
1. The First Phase during B.E. 2542 - 2543 (1999 - 2000) will focus on the educational system and the emphasis shall be given to research, training, spiritual practice, academic seminar, exchange of Buddhist resource persons and development of the University to be ready for the academics, management ad financing in accordance with the Second Phase.
2. The Second Phase shall begin from B.E. 2544(2001) onwards during which the university will enjoy academics, management and financial support that may enable the University to expand its operation to link formal, non-formal and informal education with the needs of local and global societies.
- Official functioning of the University will commence after the Inaugural Ceremony.
- Functions and responsibilities of the Ad Hoc Committee on the World Buddhist University (WBU) assigned in accordance with the resolution of the 56th Meeting of The WFB's Executive Council shall be transferred to the University Centre upon an official inaugural ceremony of the World Buddhist University in the host country through the good offices of the Headquarters of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB).
- In pursuance of requests made for consideration of the 20th General Conference by the Hsi Lai University, Los Angeles country, California, U.S.A and the Buddhist Discussion Centre (Upwey) Ltd., Victoria, Australia, the following are approved as Associated Institutions under Article III.2:
1. The International Academy of Buddhism of the Hsi Lai University, Los Angeles County, California, USA as an academic research and training centre and
2. The Buddhist Discussion Centre (Upwey) Ltd., as a spiritual training centre.