11.What The Future Holds For African Buddhist Seminary Students

By Ben Yu [Aubrey Kalonga], Malawi

The prime objective of the seminary is to train monks and lay Dharma teachers of high standing who will eventually take up the challenge of promulgating Buddhism in Africa. Since its inception in 1994, the seminary has recruited about 300 students, and although many of these students have chosen to leave the seminary prematurely on their own accord, quite a few have managed to finish. The question that one should ask is what is the future for the students who study at the seminary? Many people—students inclusive—have qualms about the future of the seminary students or the career prospects for even the hardworking students.

In response to all these questions, seminary students have a choice to be permanent monks after graduating from the seminary. However, a lot of students may choose not to be monks after graduating. Another question one could ask is what if one choose not to be a monk? What does the future hold for such a person?

A recent survey has shown that many students who have studied at the seminary—many of whom never bothered to finish—have had the edge over other people in securing positions because of their Chinese language and life skills attained while at the seminary. Many of them have proven to be much sought after by companies owned by Chinese business people as well as by local businessmen.

It is against this background that many people who left the seminary prematurely apply again to come to sharpen their Chinese language and life skills after discovering that the skills they had gotten—though not enough—proved to be a prerequisite for their success in securing positions. This is attributed to the high quality lessons in the Chinese language and Buddha dharma that the seminary offers despite occasional underestimation by other quarters.

Over and above all, many seminary graduates who are working for the temple in all departments have proven to be assets to the temple and the community, owing to their diligence and untiring zeal in serving the community—all under the auspices of the seminary.

The Chinese language is gaining ground at a very incredible rate. The Buddha dharma has proved to be appealing to many people. By virtue of this, studying at the seminary is very worthy.

To this end, students of the seminary are assured of a bright future if they become monks or if they choose to be laities, depending on their diligence in the study of Chinese and of the Buddha dharma..

Author's comment:

African Buddhist seminary is the first Buddhist seminary in Africa. It is helping many young Africans to understand Buddhism and how it can be used in their daily life. After completing their three-year course they can live in any society as a good member. They are to keep five precepts as Buddha said. Abstain from Killing, Stealing, sexual misconduct, Lying and intoxicant. After their course, they decide what to do next. They are not forced to become monks. It is so because Buddhist practice is based on understanding.

The seminary is a good beginning to give Basic Buddhist knowledge to young Africans who come to study here. Now we can find some practitioners in many African countries who studied at this college. I mentioned in the chapter four. The most important thing is they have understood important Buddhist concepts.