PSC scholar answers burning question: ‘Why is a Muslim taking a master’s degree in Buddhist studies?


I read of much kindness and compassion for others in this young man’s journey.

I also like his thoughts on why he is taking up Buddhist Studies:

I did a lot of Buddhist philosophy as a philosophy undergraduate, and if you ask me exactly why or what attracted me to Buddhist philosophical thought, I probably cannot give you a simple answer, nor do I intend to shortchange anyone with them.

But I can tell you for sure that Buddhist philosophy is one of the most intellectually rigorous and critical philosophical systems to exist and it really forces one to analyse and critically observe the things and phenomenon that we see in reality.

In fact, a huge part of Buddhist philosophy is focused on just analysis and critical reasoning, skills I believe will serve most, if not, anyone who studies it well, and indeed in my future as a civil servant.

I was also very attracted to the strong ethical slant that Buddhist thought has, and its focus on compassion, something that I personally have a soft spot for.

So, in a nutshell, I believe that an education that hones critical thought and cultivates compassion will definitely be useful in the public service — two defining qualities that a civil servant should have.

In this aspect, Buddhism is very much close to my own personal beliefs as a Muslim, and this fact alone made it much more attractive to me.

Islam has always championed the acquisition of knowledge in all fields as a sacred duty, and I believe that I am doing exactly that.

Perhaps, we should learn to look at the acquisition of wisdom as a universal duty and virtue, rather than asking who is allowed to study what.