Summer Program Buddhist Studies

The Buddhist Studies summer courses provide a rigorous combination of the traditional and academic study of the Buddhist tradition. Students complete the equivalent of two semesters of coursework over the span of 8 weeks, establishing a foundation of knowledge that prepares them for further, in-depth study of Buddhist history, philosophy and meditation. 

Visit our admissions page for application details and program-specific dates

Buddhist Studies I (TSTD 120) 6 Credits

Foundations of Buddhism: Theory & Practice

Buddhist Studies I fully immerses students into the theory and practice of Buddhism. In the unique settings of a Buddhist monastery and a traditional retreat center, students are introduced to both classical and modern Buddhist scholarship and meditation training. The course offers students first-hand experience of many key aspects of Buddhist training which are otherwise rarely accessible to lay students.

For the first six weeks, classes are held on the RYI campus, inside the Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastic complex in Boudha, a few minutes walk away from the great stupa. While studying on RYI’s campus, students receive daily philosophy teachings from a monastic professor, attend a daily meditation class taught by a lama, and take an introduction to Buddhist history and philosophy class from a western instructor. Learning about the tradition from the inside and from the outside teaches the student different ways of contemplating and understanding the teachings of the Buddha and their application to our lives. 

After six weeks of study in Boudha, students will embark on a ten-day retreat in Pharping at the end of the course. It was at this cave that Guru Rinpoche took retreat and performed the deity practices of both Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakilaya. This precious opportunity allows students to integrate their learning so it becomes part of their own experience.  

Class Structure

Classes run Monday through Friday, for four hours each day, featuring three daily classes. Two of the classes are taught by Tibetan Khenpos, Lopons, or Lamas and translated into English. In these classes, students study in the traditional way, receiving in-depth explanations of the texts being studied, as well as word-by-word commentaries from the Tibetan teachers. The third class is taught by a western instructor and approaches the topic from a broader perspective that includes consideration of other Buddhist traditions and examines the historical context in which Buddhist philosophical issues and debates have arisen. Students should be prepared to spend at least two hours each day outside of class time for readings, homework and study. 

Students complete the equivalent of two semesters of coursework over the span of 8 weeks, establishing a foundation of knowledge that prepares them for further, more in-depth study of Buddhist history, philosophy and meditation. The course is taught by traditional Tibetan monastic scholars and western academic scholars. 

Schedule

On-Campus

Khenpo classMon-Thur 11:15 am – 12:45 pm
Meditation classMon-Fri 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Buddhist studies Mon- Fri 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Review classFri 11:15 am – 12:45 pm

All times are NPT Nepal Time UTC +5:45

Class Materials

The primary texts used for the Buddhist Studies summer intensive are a translation of the Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, a meditation text selected by the lama teaching the class, and other English-language Buddhist Studies materials that include handouts, articles, and video recordings. The texts will be available for purchase in the RYI office.

The academic Buddhist Studies part of the class will be based on Dominique Side’s Discovering Buddhism. This book is difficult to acquire in Nepal, so please order the book prior to coming to Nepal. Alternatively, there is an e-book available. Supplementary reading materials will be provided during this course in the form of a reader.

To make use of the online resources included with the course it’s best to have access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge. However, Teams will also run on smartphones (iOS or Android).

Accreditation

Students who complete the course receive academic credit at the Centre for Buddhist Studies for TSTD 120 Buddhist Studies I Summer Program I (6 credits total). In addition to satisfactory grades, students must maintain an attendance rate of 80% throughout the course in order to pass. The level of intensity of the program is high and the students are expected to invest considerable time and effort in order to meet class requirements and academic expectations.

TSTD 120 may also be taken on a non-credit basis.

Admission Criteria

TSTD 120 is taught at the introductory level, and all interested students are encouraged to apply. A statement of interest is required as part of the application process. All applications are subject to approval by the Centre for Buddhist Studies. TSTD 120 is popular and places may fill up quickly, so apply now to reserve your place.
For more information, please refer to the Eligibility Requirements and Admissions Process for the summer program

Buddhist Studies II (TSTD 220) 6 Credits

Compassion in the Nepal Mandala:

Exploring Compassion in Philosophy, Meditation & Art 

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. 

Class Structure

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 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 cultivating and enhancing 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 of 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.  

Schedule

On-campus

Khenpo classMon-Thur 11:15 am – 12:45 pm
Meditation classMon-Thur 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Buddhist studies Mon-Thur 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Field trip Friday

All times are NPT Nepal Time UTC +5:45

Class Materials

The primary texts used for the Buddhist Studies summer intensive are a translation of the Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, a meditation text selected by the lama teaching the class, and other English-language Buddhist Studies materials that include handouts, articles, and video recordings. The texts will be available for purchase in the RYI office.

To make use of the online resources included with the course it’s best to have access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge. However, Teams will also run on smartphones (iOS or Android).

Accreditation

Students who complete the course receive academic credit at the Centre for Buddhist Studies for TSTD 220 Buddhist Studies II Summer Program (6 credits total). In addition to satisfactory grades, students must maintain an attendance rate of 80% throughout the course in order to pass. The level of intensity of the program is high and the students are expected to invest considerable time and effort in order to meet class requirements and academic expectations.

TSTD 220 may also be taken on a non-credit basis.

Admission Criteria

TSTD 220 is open to students with some prior study of Buddhism. A statement of interest is required as part of the application process and students should outline their prior study in this statement. All applications are subject to approval by the Centre for Buddhist Studies.

For more information, please refer to the Eligibility Requirements and Admissions Process for the summer program


Fee Request

In accordance with University guidelines, RYI course fees are determined by each student’s home base and nationality. A three-tier system is in effect which covers (i) Nepali students, (ii) SAARC students and (iii) other international students. Please select below to find out the fees structure for your particular circumstances.

You will find the Tuition Fee List for all programs linked on the right-hand side of the admissions page.

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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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