The Israeli Nalanda Institute offers comprehensive and profound study programs in Buddhist theory and practice.
The Institute was established in 2019 by Dr. Keren Arbel, Dr. Boaz Amichai, and Dr. Asaf Sati El-Bar, who integrate in their own path, meditative practice, scholarly knowledge of Buddhist thought and extensive familiarity with different Buddhist texts and traditions.
The practice and study programs offered in Nalanda endeavors to harmoniously integrate these two study areas - the theoretical and practical, and make them accessible to Israeli practitioners who have chosen to follow the Buddhist path. The founders believe that a broad, well-versed theoretical study deepens one’s practice. Similarly, they believe that it is pointless to only study the theory, if it isn’t accompanied by actual practice and mind-training through meditative reflections and observation. Integrating theory with practice enables the teachings to transform into insight (rather than just obtain knowledge), which leads to liberating wisdom. To their understanding, most of the Buddhist texts are actual practice instructions, and they choose to read and teach them from this perspective.
Most of the programs offered in Nalanda consist of eight-hour study and practice days once a week. These practice and study days include both reading and discussing Buddhist texts, silent meditations and a time for sangha sharing and peer study, all within a group of dedicated practitioners of the Dharma.
Nalanda was the name of one of the largest monastic Buddhist universities in North India. It’s remains are located to this day in proximity to Bodhgaya – the place where the Buddha experienced his awakening. Thousands of monks from the various Buddhist traditions of that era studied in Nalanda. They delved into theoretical knowledge, thoroughly debated the studied subjects, knew all the important texts of the various traditions, and met teachers and practitioners of varied schools. In conjunction, the monks also practiced meditation and actualized the path. The learning methods in Nalanda were integral and included study, deep reflection of the study materials and meditative practice based on their studies. Study and practice were intertwined in a way that deepened understanding and developed liberating wisdom.