Academics

Rangjung Yeshe Institute’s distinctive philosophical curriculum and educational practices have given it a unique and well-respected place among Buddhist studies programs globally. Its strong commitment to the study of primary source texts, open-minded inquiry, and rigorous research make Rangjung Yeshe Institute a particularly vibrant community of learning. Through the study of the original works of some of the world’s greatest Buddhist thinkers—from Nāgārjuna, Candrakirtī, Śāntideva in India to Gampopa, Sakya Pandita, Tsongkhapa and Ju Mipham Gyatso in Tibet—students at Rangjung Yeshe Institute come face to face with the existential questions that confront us as inquisitive human beings. Through lively discussions and silent contemplation, through the activities of translating, writing, presenting, debating, conducting fieldwork, observation, and participation in Buddhist contemplative practices, students at Rangjung Yeshe Institute learn to think with precision and clarity, reason effectively, engage wholeheartedly, and speak without fear.

The Academic Programs

Rangjung Yeshe Institute, despite its small size, is a leader in the field of Buddhist studies. It is the only accredited academic institute of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy in the world in which students are trained to study philosophy in the original languages of Tibetan and Sanskrit and engage in philosophical discussions with Acharya scholars trained in the Tibetan philosophical tradition (Khenpo or Lopon in Tibetan) in the source languages. This feature guarantees an unequalled degree of authenticity in the students’ education.

In parallel, students benefit from the advantages of the critical academic tradition of Western academia. Experts educated at the foremost Buddhist studies faculties of Western academia share their knowledge and guide students’ research. Rangjung Yeshe Institute offers BA, MA, and PhD degrees, an intensive summer program, a one-year translator training program (TTP) and a variety of courses for non-credit study. Courses at Rangjung Yeshe Institute are small, allowing students to take active responsibility for their education and benefit from more meaningful contact hours with instructors. They engage in personal inquiry, are actively encouraged to combine intellectual endeavor with contemplative exploration; they share their thoughts and experiences in dialogue with one another.

Scholars and research professors at Rangjung Yeshe Institute collaborate to offer an education that prioritizes transformative engagement over rigid expertise. They see themselves as examples of scholar-practitioners whose responsibility it is to stimulate questions and discussions rather than present ready-made answers. The students are encouraged to become thinkers and researchers in their own right, trained in the methods of the field and capable of expressing their research findings in their own voice. Every student is appreciated for their unique treasury of experience that they bring into the classroom. They are encouraged to explore Buddhist thought as it relates to their own individual questions, adopting various perspectives, such as the lenses of literature, history, contemplative studies, anthropology, politics, economics, psychology, art, environmental studies, cognitive sciences or artificial intelligence.

Through the study of various research languages, such as classical Tibetan, Sanskrit, literary Chinese, or colloquial Tibetan and Nepali, students acquire formidable skills of engaging with the ideas and representatives of Buddhist traditions in a non-mediated manner. Language education also opens the door to unexplored conceptual realities as the habitual patterns of thinking and language gets challenged in a new language.

Location: On the Premises of a Buddhist Monastery

Rangjung Yeshe Institute offers its courses on the premises of one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Boudha, Nepal: the Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery. Students spend their days in close proximity to their fellow students at the monastic college (Tib. shedra) in which the resident monks receive their philosophical and contemplative education according to the Tibetan scholastic tradition. Each day, on their way to and from the classrooms, students get to witness first-hand the broad variety of activities, rituals, debates, and everyday life of Buddhist monastics in training. Students are free to observe or participate in the various public events, rituals, and teachings that the monastery organizes. The location of Rangjung Yeshe Institute on the premises of a monastery acts as a powerful reminder of the ethical dimension of education.

To know the exact location, click here.

Exposure to exceptional scholars 

The diverse academic community at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, including researchers, visiting scholars, monastic Acharya Khenpos, Acharya Lopons, professors, language instructors, and assistant language instructors, are all sincerely dedicated to the education and flourishing of their students. The class sizes at Rangjung Yeshe Institute are generally small, typically ranging from 5 to 15 students. This intimate setting ensures that every student has ample opportunity to actively participate and express their own voice. Smaller classrooms foster deeper engagement with the course materials, personalized attention from instructors, and the formation of close-knit academic communities where collaborative learning thrives. Additional individual supervision in research projects and language study, the “Let’s have Lunch together” program, regular field trips, and various extracurricular activities offer each student the opportunity for interaction and discussion with mentors and experts.

Rangjung Yeshe Institute engages with a global network of scholars, researchers, and translators in Buddhist studies, who often visit the Institute to share their research. These include scholars and researchers from Emory University, McGill University, Université Laval, and Hamburg University, Harvard University, Université de Lausanne, Boston College, University of Vienna, Agnes Scott College, Williams College, Oxford University, SOAS, University of Chicago, Oregon State University, University of Virginia, Cornell University, and Humboldt State University.   

A Diverse Student Body

Rangjung Yeshe Institute regularly draws students from more than forty countries. The diverse backgrounds and experiences they bring to the college deepen and enrich their shared investigations.

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Rinpoche Talk for RYI - 2022
Weekly Meditation Class ~ Day 1
Erik Pema Kunsang & Catherine Dalton - "The Practice of Buddhist Translation"

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