The Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka, established in terms of the Act of Parliament No.74 of 1981 of the Democratic Socialistic Republic of Sri Lanka was ceremonially opened on the 22nd day of April 1982.
The main objectives of this University are the propagation of Buddha Dhamma,the promotion of the Buddhist & Pali studies in Sri Lanka and abroad and the provision of facilities for the conduct of research in the relevant fields.
The above Act has been modified by the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka Act(Amendment)No.37 of 1995.Simultaneous with the activation of the above mentioned Act of Amendment, the local affiliated institutions which were so far in existence ceased to exist and Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka had been re-structured in conformity with the structure of the other Universities of Sri Lanka. The structured University with its halls of residence for students was located at Pitipana in Homagama.
The basic arrangements required to turn the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka into the level of a fully equipped international university have been already made. It enjoys membership of the Association of Universities of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is also an Associate member of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Directors (CVCD) of the chain of universities of this country.
To achieve excellence, by means of providing knowledge in Buddhism, Pali and related fields, in enabling students to reach high standards in virtue, knowledge in Dhamma and relevant skills and to foster and nourish, both in and outside Sri Lanka, a way of life exemplified in the teaching of the Buddha.
The objectives that were fundamental to the establishment of the University in terms of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka Act No. 74 of 1981 as amended by the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka Act No. 37 of 1995:-
- The training of savants in the Buddhist Doctrine and Discipline for the purpose of the dissemination of Buddhism and nurturing of Buddhist missionary activities in Sri Lanka and abroad.
- The promotion of the study of the Pali Language, Buddhist Culture and Buddhist Philosophy in Sri Lanka and abroad, and the enhancement of those studies as befitting the modern world trends.
- (a) The training of the student monks and the lay male students to teach Buddhism and Pali Language in the Pirivenas, Schools and in similar institutions.
(b) The provision of facilities to maintain and promote courtesy and civility and mental discipline among the student monks and the lay male students.
(c) Any other matter connected with or ancillary to the above objectives.
The objective of establishing this university is not merely offering degree programmes as it is done in any other national university. This is an institution that has been established, to achieve the aims of disseminating Dhamma in Sri Lanka and throughout the world, to promote the study of Dhamma and Discipline (Vinaya), to provide facilities for monk students and lay students in pirivenas, schools and other such institutions, teaching pali language and it is also expected to assist the monk students.
The subject stream of this university is confined to Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Culture, Archaeology, Religious Studies and Comparative Philosophy, Pali, Sanskrit, English and Sinhala. Pali and Buddhist Philosophy or Buddhist Culture is compulsory.
The priority is given to Buddhist monks when selecting students as this is an institution established to uplift, especially, Pali Language studies and Buddhist Studies.