Ven. Aggamahāpanḍiita Dr. Paúóitavarâbhivaèsa, Rector, State Pariyatti Sasana University, Mandalay, Myanmar
The Government, with the aim of establishing a Sâsana University, invited the leading Sayadaws for consultation. And it was decided that the task of setting up a University should be entrusted to a person of competence, in the person of the late Bhaddanta Vicittasârâbhivaèsa, the Mingun Sayadaw, who at that time was over seventy years of age.
The Endeavours of Mingun Sayadaw.
Mingun Sayadaw, after duly accepting the appeal of State Saṇgha Mahānāyaka Committee, formed a Committee for the Construction and Donation of Sāsana Universities on 17 October, 1980, with six Ovādācariya Sayadaws, and Dr. Thar Hla as Chairman. In accordance with Mingun Sayadaw’s exhortation to choose the place already donated to the Sāsana, the Committee chose a place, the place of Mahâvijaya Hman Kyaung Monastery which was the donation of Queen Supayalat of King Thibaw, on 17 December 1982. The selected site was in the east of the Atumashi (Incomparable) Monastery and also of the Shwe Kyaung Monastery.
After choosing the place, Mingun Sayadaw donated as an initial outlay kyats 50,000 from the donated funds of Dhammanāda Monastery and the Sayadaw explained about it to the monks of his monastery. 500 monks led by Ariya Maggaè Sayadaw recited Parittas, blessing the land to be free from evils and dangers.
Mingun Sayadaw traveled up and down the country delivering sermons to raise fund for the construction of the University. A Sīmā (Ordination Hall) was built first in accordance with the Sayadaw’s advice that the “Ordination Hall is the basis of Sāsana.“
With the initial outlay of Kyats 50,000, the chosen place was cleared for construction, and 500 monks led by Ariya Maggaè Sayadaw recited Parittas, blessing the land to be free from evils and dangers.
Mingun Sayadaw traveled up and down the country delivering sermons at pre-libation ceremonies held for donors to the construction of the University. With the money from donations, a site in the north east, 59 feet in measurement, within the Mahāvijaya Puñña Hman Kyaung was fixed as a place for Sîmâ (Ordination Hall) construction in accordance with the Sayadaw’s exhortation that the “Ordination Hall, the basis of Sāsana, must be built first”.
Consequently, the foundation-laying ceremony for that Sīmā was held by the 100 monks from the Momeik and Dhammanâda Monasteries on the 4th Waxing Day of the month of Tabaung, 1344 Myanmar Era. Again, that foundation-laying ceremony was repeatedly held by sayadaws; Bago Myoma Monastery Sayadaw and Mingun Sayadaw, together with 200 monks, successfully completed the ceremony on the 2nd Waxing Day of Tabaung of that year at 8.20 a.m. The ordination hall was named “Dhammadhara Sāsana Sobhiúî Ordination Hall”.
And on the 8th Waxing Day of Wazo, 1345 ME, the foundation-laying work was implemented for that Ordination Hall and for the other 9 sections of the Sāsana University (Mandalay). As Mingun Sayadaw had exhorted that the building must be true to the form of religious edifices, arts and crafts designer U Aye Myint drew a construction plan and got approval from the Sayadaw. And the construction of the buildings for the Sāsana University (Mandalay) was completed in a time-span of over three years.
Additional task for Mingun Sayadaw
While the task of constructing the Sâsana University (Mandalay) was fulfilled and the burden on the Sayadaw seemed to have been lessened, another duty was given to the Sayadaw – another Sâsana University in Yangon had to be constructed.
Formerly, as Mandalay had the highest number of monks, the Sāsana University was arranged to be built only in Mandalay. But as Yangon was the capital, the State Saṇgha Nāyaka Committee in its numerous meetings observed it was not appropriate for Yangon not to have a Sâsana University. And so a decision was made on the 5th Waning moon of Tazaungmone to entrust the task to Mingun Sayadaw who again willingly accepted the duty. Another task in his hand as well, the Sayadaw continued to work on the unfinished matters of the State Pariyatti Sâsana University (Mandalay).
Arrangement to open Jîvitadâna Sâsana Special Hospital
As it had been arranged to meet the health problems of teachers and student monks, a land space was first chosen for the construction of a hospital. The needed land-space was donated by Sein Donn Sayadaw whose monastery lay to the south of the University. In that space a hall for in-patients of Madaya monastery where the Sayadaw had donated for the purpose.
The foundation-laying of that hospital was carried out on the 6th Waning moon of Tabaung, 134??? ME., and completed on the 13th Waxing moon of Nadaw, 1352 ME. And on that morning of the day of completion, the hospital was transferred to the hands of the State Saṇgha Mahā Nāyaka Committee with the holding of a libation ceremony. That Administrative Committee drew up a construction rules and regulations to open the Universities.
Opening of State Pariyatti Sâsana Universities
In accordance with the construction rules and regulations, the Sāsana University in Yangon was opened on 23rd June, 1986, and the Sāsana University in Mandalay on 21st August, 1986.
Bhaddanta Jotikābhivaṃsa was appointed Rector, and a five-year Sāsanatakkasīla Mahādhammācariya (M.A. in Buddhism) was started with 19 teachers, 37 student monks; and 3 years for thesis-writing was fixed. Three faculties, viz., Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma were set up. Monks who were not older than 35 years of age, and 15 years of standing in the Sāsana, and who had already passed the Dhammācariya Teachership examination, were accepted for the course.
Change of Academic Programme
In 1989 (1351 ME) the course was changed to the four-year Sâsanatakkasīla Dhammācariya course, and students who had passed the Pathamagyi-level examination were accepted for this. The prescribed syllabus, apart from the 3 main Piíakas, was further extended, and departments of Pâéi Literature, Myanmar Literature, English and Propagation of Buddhist Sāsana were established as well.
Monks, who wish to study at the University, first have to sit for the entrance examination. In the format of the entrance examination there will be:
(1) 4 questions on Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma,
(2) 4 questions on General Knowledge (to be taken in a day)
A session of personal interview will follow the next day. Only applicants who pass the entrance examination will be accepted, and the University will be wholly responsible for the accommodation, food and health of the student monks.
Starting from academic year 2006 (1368-1369 ME), with the aim of upgrading the quality of examination, the format of the entrance examination has been changed; thus there are now:
(1) 4 English questions corresponding to Basic Education Higher level,
(2) 4 questions on Pāḷi language,
(3) 4 General knowledge questions on Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma, in three days, one paper to be answered each day,
(4) personal interview.
Sâsanatakkasīla Dhammācariya (B.A. Buddhism) Degree
– Student monks have to study for 4 years for the degree of Sāsanatakkasīla Dhammācariya, and as a part of their course are required:
(1) to attend a month’s course on indigenous medicine,
(2) to write a term paper of 60 to 100 pages,
(3) to attend 10-day course meditation practice.
Sâsanatakkasîla Mahâdhammâcariya (M.A. Buddhism) Degree
The following criteria are used to select candidates for the above degree:
(1) 75 percent of maximum marks given is to be scored in the examinations of First, Second, Third and midterm and final examination of fourth year.
(2) Good moral behaviour in the fourth academic year.
For Sāsanatakkasīla Mahādhammācariya Degree the term fixed is 2 years, and during this term of two years, the basis of the course is the three Piíakas, Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma, together with subjects such as Myanmar, English, Pâéi and Propagation of Sâsana. Major subject of study is selected for the candidates based on their marks scored in the 4th year examination on Piíaka subjects, Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma.
To help in thesis writing for the degree, candidate monks are divided into small groups of four or five to write a short thesis in their first year of Master’s program. That thesis must be within the range of 60 to 100 pages, and in the second year this short thesis becomes the seminar topic. After completing the two-year course, the candidates have to go for 45-day meditation practice at the Mahasi Meditation Centre. After the meditation practice, the candidate must write a thesis in three years for the bachelor’s degree. And after submission of the thesis, the candidate must serve in the missionary service for two years at the border areas and remote highlands. Those candidates who work at the University must serve three years, and after completion of the respective services, the candidates will be conferred the degree of Sāsanatakkasīla Mahādhammācariya.
In the Sāsanatakkasīla Mahādhammācariya course, Pārājikakaṭṭha, Sīlakkhandha, Aṭṭhasālinī texts are taught in modern perspective, with precis-writing, and seminars.
In the First and Second Year of Sāsanatakkasīla Mahādhammācariya the following texts are taught:
For candidates majoring in Vinaya– all the texts of Vinaya; for candidates majoring in Suttanta – all the texts of Suttanta; for candidates majoring in Abhidhamma – all the texts of Sammohavinodanî Commentary together with Pañcapakaraṇa Commentary subjects such as Myanmar, English, Pāḷi and Sanskrit and History. To write thesis for the bachelor’s degree, the candidates have the right to choose any topic from the Three Piṭakas.
In 2004 a Ph.D (Dhamma Pāragū) programme was initiated at the State Pariyatti Sāsana University, and as a preliminary course a one-year Intensive English Course was started. It was taught by teachers from the University of Foreign Languages as an act of merit (Paññâ Dāna). Examinations are held every six months. The same preliminary course was also started in Mandalay. The candidates who successfully completed the Intensive English Course are accepted for the Ph.D programme and candidates are taught by Prof. U Myint Swe, M.A. (London).
 Presented at The International Conference of All Theravâda Buddhist Universities held at International Theravâda Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon & Woodlands Hotel, Poppa Mountain Resort, Bagan, Myanmar, 9-12th March 2007.
 Consequently, the foundation-laying ceremony for that Sîmâ was held by the 100 monks from the Momeik and Dhammanâda Monasteries on the 4th Waxing Day of the month of Tabaung, 1344 Myanmar Era. Again, that foundation-laying ceremony was repeatedly held by sayadaws; Bago Myoma Monastery Sayadaw and Mingun Sayadaw, together with 200 monks, successfully completed the ceremony on the 2nd Waxing Day of Tabaung of that year at 8.20 a.m. The ordination hall was named “Dhammadhara Sāsana Sobhiúî Ordination Hall”.
And on the 8th Waxing Day of Wazo, 1345 ME, the foundation-laying work was implemented for that Ordination Hall and for the other 9 sections of the Sâsana University (Mandalay). As Mingun Sayadaw had exhorted that the building must be true to the form of religious edifices, arts and crafts designer U Aye Myint drew a construction plan and got approval from the Sayadaw. And the construction of the buildings for the Sâsana University (Mandalay) was completed in a time-span of over three years.
 The semester started on the 1st Day of the month of Nayon, and the examination would be held in the month of Tabaung.
 The examination is held on the 12th Waxing Day of the month of Tazaungmone every year. The applicants have to pass Pathamagyi, be under the age of 30, have been10 years in the Sâsana (or Vassas), be of good moral behaviour, of able body and of pleasant personality.
 The class routine is as follows: six lectures a day; 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon; morning lectures start at 7 am and end at 10 am; evening lectures start at 1 pm and end at 4 pm; the 7th and 8th waxing days, and the 7th and 8th waning days of the month are holidays; in addition, full-moon days and new moon days (or dark moon days) of the month are also holidays. The convocation is held on the full-moon day of the month of Nadaw every year.
Source : http://atbu.org/node/31