New Course Offering!

We are offering the following new courses for our Summer Program and Fall Semester this year which will be on campus only.

Summer Program: Buddhist Studies II

Buddhist Studies II (TSTD 220) 6 Credits

Compassion in the Nepal Mandala: Exploring Compassion in Philosophy, Meditation & Art 

About the course

This course explores how compassion is taught, practiced, and lived in Tibetan and Newar Buddhism. In the unique settings of a Buddhist monastery and various temples dedicated to the Buddha of compassion, Avalokiteśvara, students are introduced to classical and modern Buddhist scholarship as well as meditation training on the topic.  

Classes will be held on the RYI campus, inside the Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastic complex in Boudha, a few minutes’ walk away from the great stupa. The schedule includes education in Buddhist ethics and philosophy taught by a monastic professor, meditation classes, and academic classes exploring the topic of compassion in Buddhist teachings through the lens of modern scholarship.  

In addition, students will go on weekly excursions to various sacred places related to the Buddha of compassion in the Kathmandu Valley – or the Nepal Mandala, as the local population refers to it – and receive instructions from an art historian of Newar art. 

Classes run Monday through Friday. For the first four days, students will take four hours of classes consisting of the following three elements:

A textual class on the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva is taught by a monastic scholar of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, holding the degree of Khenpo or Lopon, and translated into English. In this class, students study Buddhist ethics in the traditional way, which includes receiving a word-by-word explanation of the root text, with additional elaborations from various commentaries.  

The meditation class introduces students to contemplative practices that help cultivate and enhance compassion. 

The academic class will explore the topic of compassion from various perspectives, including its intellectual history, psychological explorations, and some of the latest discoveries in neuroscience on empathy and compassion. In this class, students are invited to critically reflect, discuss, and test their own understanding. In addition to the class meetings, students spend about 2 hours in preparation and homework, and reading. 

Once a week, on Friday, an expert in Buddhist art will take the students on excursions to sacred places related to Avalokiteśvara, the Buddha of compassion, and introduce students to the beautiful ways in which compassion is reflected in art, architecture, rituals, and community service in the daily lives of Buddhists today.


Fall Semester:

Bachelor of Arts in Buddhist Studies with Himalayan Language

Master of Arts, Preparatory Program

Visiting Student Program

Buddhist Literary Chinese I (CLAN 101) – 3 Credits

About the Course

This is an introductory course that provides students with the opportunity to learn the basics of Buddhist Literary Chinese in preparation for the study of Chinese Buddhist texts. The course is taught in English medium and assumes no knowledge of written or spoken Chinese. From the beginning of the course, students work with sentences from the Buddhist text, Shijio Sanzijing 釋教三字經, roughly translated as “Three-lettered treatise on Buddhist teachings.” This text nicely introduces the basic vocabulary required to understand Buddhist texts. It includes stories on the birth of the Buddha, the propagation of Buddhism to China, and an introduction to the ten Chinese Buddhist schools, along with explanations of major Buddhist concepts such as aggregates, elements, three bodies, five wisdoms of the Buddha, etc. The text is in the format of three-lettered verses, designed to be memorized in a rhythmic way. This text will provide some 700-800 characters. Over the course of the semester, students learn basic grammar. Assessments include quizzes, exams, and evaluation of class

Madhyamaka Thought (BSTD 304 ) – 3 credits

About the course

This course introduces students to the major texts and modern scholarship on Madhyamaka.  Students read foundational Indian Madhyamaka texts – sūtra and śāstra – together with their Chinese and Tibetan commentaries (all in translation). The Chinese interpretations of Madhyamaka differ from the Tibetans in interesting ways. The Chinese translator Kumārajīva presents his Madhyamaka vies in the Ta-chih-tu lun, the Treatise which is a Teaching on the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra. Students will gain an understanding of the topics of emptiness, the two truths, Madhyamaka dialectics, the relationship of Madhyamaka to other Indian Buddhist schools, and the Tibetan views on the distinction between Svātantrika and Prāsangika Madhyamaka.

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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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