PGIPBS will become a centre of Excellence for Buddhist Studies and research in the world and a major focus for the co-ordination of collaborative study and research in Buddhist Texts, thought and culture throughout the ages.
To achieve excellence in providing learners with the best possible opportunities and facilities to develop knowledge, attitude and research skills in the field of Buddhist Studies
The Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies (PGIPBS) of the University of Kelaniya was known as the Vidyalankara Institute of Buddhist Studies since its inception on 23rd November 1975 until 30th December 1979. Then, it was affiliated to the Vidyalankara Campus of the University of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Its present name, status, and structure derive from the Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies Ordinance No.8 of 1977, which came into operation on 1st January1980. In terms of this Ordinance the Institute functions as an organization within the University of Kelaniya, under the direction and control of a Board of Management (executive authority) constituted to represent both academic and administrative personnel. All matters relating to curriculum development, courses of study, teaching, and research and the conduct of examinations is under the purview of the Faculty Board (academic authority) subject to the approval of the Board of Management and the University Senate. The Institute has three Departments of Study: Buddhist Sources, Buddhist Thought, and Buddhist Culture. The Head of each Department gives general direction to studies and research in the respective area. Teaching and supervision of research functions are managed by a panel of lecturers and academic supervisors drawn mainly from the faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences of local and foreign universities. Course work and research can be pursued either in Sinhala or in English and the Institute welcomes both local and foreign students.
The Institute provides instructions for the courses of study outlined in the Master's Degree, postgraduate certificate and short term programs. It also guides any casual students, especially from foreign countries, who may seek assistance in projects of their own. The research function includes supervision of PhD and MPhil thesis as well as research undertaken by the academic staff and external scholars.
Currently, the Institute has extended its functions over several countries. The Buddha Dharma Centre of Hong Kong Limited, Hong Kong, The Buddhist Library Graduate School of Singapore, Singapore and The China’s Buddhist Academy of Mt. Putuo, China, affiliated to the Institute, conduct its Taught and Research Programs.
Sri Lankan erudite scholars in the field of Pali and Buddhist Studies, namely, Prof. L. P. N. Perera (1979‑1984), Prof. Jothiya Dheerasekare later known as Ven. Prof. Dhammavihari, (1984‑1990), Prof. Y. Karunadasa (1991‑2000), Prof. Thilak Kariyawasam (2000‑2003), Prof. Asanga Thilakarathne (2003‑2007) and Prof. Sumanapala Galmangoda (2007‑2013) have engaged in the mission of enlightening the journey of the Institute initiated by Ven. Dr. Havanpola Rathanasara, the founding Director of the Institute.