1. Brief Description
The Laity Paramita Training Program is a vocational training program for Buddhist laymen and laywomen. This Program emphasizes the application of traditional moral, spiritual, and intellectual principles to the formation of character and to one’s daily life and work in the modern world. Learning through actual practice in this way requires a serious commitment.

2. Purpose of the Program
The purpose of the Program is to provide a solid foundation in Buddhist studies and practice for those whose goal is an occupation in Buddhist institutions or community settings. This course of study came in response to the growing number of Buddhist institutions in America and in other countries-- temples, monasteries, convents, schools, colleges and universities, and health centers--that require their staff to be knowledgeable and proficient in Buddhist doctrine and practice.

3. Outcomes of the Program
Graduates of the Laity Paramita Training Program who possess additional professional training and education may qualify for employment in Buddhist religious communities, schools, universities, health centers, and related social service activities, in administrative or special capacities where inter-cultural skills are required.

4. Length of Course and Requirements for the Sangha Diploma
Applicants to the Laity Paramita Training Program must be individuals of good character with a sincere desire to gain the knowledge necessary to benefit the world and be models among the Buddhist laity.

The Laity Paramita Training Program leads to the Buddhist Laity Training Diploma and entails a four-year course of study, comprising 200 weeks of instruction and training averaging 40 hours per week, for a total of 8,000 hours, combining residence in a Buddhist community, and instruction and training in religious practice and moral conduct in six areas as follows:

5. Areas of Training and Clock Hours Required
Area of Training
Ceremony & Ritual (C&R)
Practice (P)
Doctrine (D)
Vinaya (V)
Electives (E)
Apprenticeship (A)

Ceremony & Ritual (C&R)
Trainees learn how to perform the ceremonies, including the daily morning, noon, and evening liturgies, as well as special ceremonies. C&R classes include:

Buddhist Liturgy

Dharma Instruments

Daily Ceremonies

Daily Sutra Recitation

Required texts:

  • City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Daily Recitation Hand book (bilingual), Buddhist Text Translation Society (BTTS).
  • The (Avatamsaka) Flower Adornment Sutra, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.
  • The Brahma Net Sutra, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.

Practice (P)
Repentance, recitation, mantras, chan meditation, group practice, and supervised independent practice. Classes include:

Buddhist Pilgrimage Mantra Practice
Chan Practice Mantra Sessions
Recitation Practice Repentance Practice
Recitation Sessions Repentance Sessions
Universal Bowing Special Ceremonies

Required texts:

  • Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.
  • The (Avatamsaka) Flower Adornment Sutra, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.
  • Sutra of the Buddha Speaks the Names of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Chinese with English transliteration, BTTS.
  • Instructional Talks by Venerable Master Hua, Volumes 1-8, bilingual (Chinese/English), BTTS.
  • Chan & Pure Land Talks, Venerable Master Hua. English. BTTS.
  • Listen to Yourself, Think Everything Over, Volumes 1-2, Venerable Master Hua. English. BTTS.

Doctrine (D)
Doctrine refers to the Sutras and Shastras (treatises), two of the three major divisions of the Buddhist scriptures, and to selected Buddhist texts and commentaries, including:

General Buddhism Chan Study
Mantra Study Repentance Study
Recitation Study Developing Inherent Wisdom
Memorization Topics in Sutra Studies
Fundamental Shastras Shurangama Sutra
Dharma Flower Sutra Flower Adornment Sutra

Required Readings:

  • Dharma Flower Sutra, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.
  • Flower Adornment Sutra, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.
  • Shurangama Sutra, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.
  • Sutra in Forty-two Sections, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.
  • Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva,
    Chinese with Translation, BTTS.
  • Exhortation to Bring Forth the Bodhi Mind, with Commentary by the Venerable Master Hua, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.

Vinaya (V)
Vinaya is the third major division of the Buddhist scriptures, which details the moral discipline that forms the basis for all the areas of training. The Vinaya also discusses the proper aspects of deportment when walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. Study of the details of the various categories of Precepts and how to uphold them is discussed in the Vinaya. Vinaya studies for the laity include:

Laity Precepts & Deportment
Lives of the Great Masters
Bodhisattva Precepts for Laity

Required texts:

  • Records of High Sanghans, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.
  • The Brahma Net Sutra, Chinese with English Translation, BTTS.

Electives (E)
Through consultation with faculty advisors, students may select a specialized area of study. For trainees with adequate skills, this may include training in one or more of the four committees involved in the translation of Buddhist texts: 1) translation; 2) review; 3) editing; and, 4) certification.

Trainees may also elect to develop basic language skills or study various levels of scriptural and modern languages. This may include training in delivering explanations of the principles of Buddhism and learning to use the traditional methods of lecturing on the scriptures.

Alternatively, electives may be taken as additional clock hours beyond the required number in any of the other areas of training (C&R, Practice, Doctrine, Vinaya, or Apprenticeship), or where appropriate, in conjunction with classes offered by Dharma Realm Buddhist University.

Apprenticeship (A)
This area provides qualified students the opportunity to apprentice in diverse aspects of monastic administration and community service. This may include classroom teaching-assistant training; learning to make curriculum aids and teaching materials; training in the management of worship halls, dormitories, libraries, and religious centers, such as temples, translation institutes, educational facilities, and retreat locations; greeting, providing for, and handling matters for guests; directing reception centers, and administering delegations and special events; counseling elementary and high
school students; and offering programs that provide companionship, physical care, and moral support for the elderly. Students are assigned counselors, and each student conducts his or her training under the supervision of at least one certified instructor. Students may choose to conduct their apprenticeship on campus, or at a DRBA-authorized religious center.