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Programs in Tibetan Language and Culture (TIB)
Tibetan is one of the four major languages for students of the Dharma, along with Sanskrit, Pali, and Chinese. By 1974, students trained by Tarthang Tulku were teaching courses in Tibetan language. The summer program in 1978 offered courses in both Tibetan and Sanskrit languages. Since then Tibetan language classes have been offered continuously at the Institute.
In all the Tibetan classes students are instructed in how to treat Tibetan texts with care and reverence, following traditional guidelines. As a student progresses through the program, the emphasis shifts from learning the basics of the alphabet, spelling, and grammar, through developing vocabulary and a sense of the structure of the language, to the finer points of grammar and nuances of meaning. The study materials are always sacred Buddhist texts: translations from Sanskrit into Tibetan or texts by Tibetan masters. For students, class participation and study are significant forms of Dharma practice. Viewed from this perspective, the benefits of the program can expand indefinitely.
The teachings emphasize the importance of opening the senses to deeper feeling and sensitivity. The path of beauty is an integral part of the practices and activities at the Nyingma Institute. Classes, lectures, and exhibitions featuring Tibetan art have introduced many individuals to its symbolic forms. Institute students and friends also have the opportunity to participate in sacred art, text preservation, and prayer wheel projects. These projects are opportunities to generate merit while gaining first-hand experience with shaping Buddhism’s profound symbols.