Towards that ends, the first period of two years will be devoted to:
- Construction essential buildings
- Intensive training scholar-monks who have studied both in Myanmar and abroad so that they can grasp the system of SSBU and put it into practice at the highest possible level. I am prepared to lead this with necessary assistants from experienced scholars at home and abroad.
- And, building a good library, which means designing a good library, preferably in Gothic style: airy, spacious, high ceiling, big windows, and thick walls with insulation and environmentally friendly.
A master plan for the construction of the whole SSBU is not yet finalized; it is clear, however, that a library which includes some lecture rooms, an office space and a store room is the top priority. No library no university is possible.
Here a library is also about collection of relevant books, in printed and virtual form. It is also about interaction of wisdom between generations as much as of various peoples with different insights, which means the practical use of the library by serious students and researchers. Over the years, Oxford University has collected over ten thousand books related to aspects of Buddhism. A Sri Lankan Buddhist university at Anuradhapura has over thirty thousand books in three languages: Pali, Sinhala and English. It will be an enormous task to collect essential books from worldwide. The famous Motila B. Publisher in New Delhi has around four hundred books on Buddhism. Wisdom Books in the USA also specializes in Books on Buddhism and hundreds on their catalogue. SSBU must subscribe important publishers so that it can keep up with the latest secondary sources of books. (Sadly often this is not the case with most of Buddhist universities.)
This is but the beginning for SSBU and one thing is worth bearing in mind: the Most Venerable Rector Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalabhivamsa advises me on 9 October at ITBMU, Yangon that quality must take priority over quantity at any Buddhist university; it is a gradual step. Therefore, in order to achieve that, a firm foundation in academic, financial, university networking and administrative matters must be established.
The Most Venerable Rector Sayadaw Dr. Nandamala-bhivamsa has been the constant encouragement and leader in SSBU. While in Sri Lanka together, he often encouraged me to set up a Buddhist university in Shan State. He has been doing so each time I teach at ITBMU. Now that SSBU is happening, the Most Venerable Rector Sayadaw has very kindly agreed to serve on the Academic Committee once SSBU is up and running. He has also made a generous contribution of one hundred lakhs (Ks) to SSBU, becoming the first donor. Constant advice and blessing will be sought from the Rector Sayadaw and other leading Sayadaws.
As someone who has initiated this SSBU project and is committed to its success, I wish to invite everyone, from all nationalities and regions, to take this rare opportunity to participate in this historic project of SSBU to make it a success. One can contribute in many ways: financially, academically, administratively or otherwise.
No contribution is small in this type of important project.
Shan State Government is taking an active role in constructing SSBU. The Chief Minister has formed a committee with the state minister for religious affairs as its chairman. The Shan State Government is supported and guided when necessary on this matter by Vice President (1) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Dr. Sai Mauk Kham, who is from Lashio, northern Shan State.
A successful SSBU will add to the glory of not just Buddhism in the Union of Myanmar but also the whole Buddhist world and indeed beyond.