Boost your Buddhist studies by learning Tibetan and develop your creativity at the same time. Tibetan is not only a visually beautiful language – it is also a language that has preserved ancient teachings with immense wisdom. It allows us access to ideas and thoughts that reveal the treasures of our mind.
Nowadays many books on Tibetan Buddhism are available in English and other languages. Translating Buddhist terms can be a challenge, because the various meanings and terminology used in Tibetan can differ depending on the context, and misunderstandings may arise. Distinctions such as when to use “mind,” “consciousness” or “awareness” are critical for a deeper understanding of Buddhism. In learning the basics of Tibetan, such as being able to read the alphabet and develop the skills to understand basic prayers, your connection to your practice will deepen, allowing for greater insight into the intended meaning.
Nitartha Summer Institute 2018 offers two Tibetan classes as elective courses which can be taken by both, Gomdra and Shedra students. Both courses are taught by experienced Tibetan translators.
From Scratch: Introduction to Tibetan
The Introduction to Tibetan is oriented toward beginners who have little or no knowledge of Tibetan but would like to gain some familiarity with the language, and how it is translated into English. The course will cover the alphabet, pronunciation, and basic reading skills. Once the basics are covered, you will learn how to chant a few of the songs of Milarepa such as The Song of Mahamudra, in Tibetan, and at the same time investigate their meaning in both Tibetan and in English. By looking into the Tibetan behind the English, you will gain a richer understanding of the songs composed by one of Tibet’s great masters.
Deepening the Skills: Tibetan Reading Course
The Tibetan Reading Course is for students who know the Tibetan alphabet and have a basic grasp of Tibetan grammar. You will read sections from various texts within the Nyingma tradition, such as Lama Mipham’s Lamp of Certainty or the Testament of Padma and from Bötrül’s Distinguishing the Views and Philosophies and Ornament of Mañjughoṣa’s Viewpoint, the texts that will be taught by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche at the Institute. Interesting and important grammatical points will be explained in the context of specific passages and you will gain a deeper understanding of the uniqueness of Tibetan.
Being immersed in Tibetan at Nitartha
Students studying the Tibetan Language at Nitartha will benefit from hearing the Tibetan language spoken and translated during talks by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen and being around native speakers and master translators. The unique retreat environment creates a caring community and offers ample occasions for discussion and connection between students, translators and faculty members.