Are you interested in learning the basics of Pali, one of the main research languages of Buddhism, reading some of the oldest Buddhist scriptures in the original, learning to read and write the beautiful “round” Burmese script, and leafing through Burmese palm leaf manuscripts?

Or do you want to build and strengthen your already existing competence in Pali and further explore the Tipiṭaka, the commentarial literature, and whatever else has been written in Pali in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia?

Or do you just want to join a group of fellow Pali enthusiasts to read your favourite Pali text?

Pali at the University of Toronto offers you all of this. U of T is the only academic institution in Canada that conducts regular Pali courses and one of the very few universities in North America where this language is taught at all. Additionally, U of T is the only Western academic institution where Pali is taught embedded in a specific regional tradition - that of Burma - and where students, starting from the undergraduate level, are taught to read Pali in one of its original scripts and to work with palm leaf manuscripts. Depending on your requirements and interests:

Join the Beginners Pali course (RLG264 & RLG265), which offers a no-prerequisites introduction to the classical language of Theravada Buddhism and a hands-on approach to reading Buddhist texts in Burmese script first-hand from the leaves they were written on.

Continue with the Intermediate Pali course, where students strengthen their grammar and further explore the world of Buddhist stories, poetry, and philosophy.

Become part of the U of T Pali Reading Group, in which advanced students of Pali choose texts according to their own personal interest or research agenda and read them under the guidance of a U of T Pali instructor.

Our team: The U of T Pali courses and activities are currently conducted by Christoph Emmrich, Associate Professor of Buddhism, Libbie Mills, Assistant Professor, and Bryan Levman, senior affiliated scholar.

Course types: At U of T, Pali can be taken as a regular undergraduate course with RLG264 Introductory Pali I (no prerequisites) and RGL265 Introductory Pali II (RLG264 or equivalent knowledge of Pali as prerequisite) or as an independent study (or directed reading course), either on the undergraduate or on the graduate level. If you are enrolled in a programme outside the Department of the Study of Religion and wish to receive a credit for your Pali course, please contact your unit’s course advisor about your options of having it counted as a credited course.

Textbook for Beginners and Intermediate Pali: James W. Gair & W. S. Karunatillake, A New Course in Reading Pali: Entering the Word of the Buddha. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1998. ISBN 9788120814417.

Timings: Beginners and intermediate courses start every fall, beginning September, are year-long (September to December and January to April), and classes take place twice a week. The reading group can be joined anytime and its timings are flexible.

For further information please contact Christoph Emmrich