Learn Classical Tibetan Online

Rangjung Yeshe Institute is happy to offer our renowned Tibetan language courses in a self-paced online format. These courses consist of pre-recorded lectures hosted on Moodle, an open-source e-learning environment so students can learn at their own pace and repeat lessons as needed.   

Created for both scholars of Buddhist Studies and practitioners alike, our Classical Tibetan courses are great for those interested in reading and translating texts. Our instructors use a Western academic methodology which includes short video lectures, pdf handouts and web-based practice materials to help students learn grammar and pronunciation and aid in language acquisition. 

For Students who are interested in courses with our teachers either on campus in Nepal or live online, please see our Non-Credit Study Program for schedules and more information.

The Tibetan Alphabet
with Professor Constance Kassor

Read, write and spell Tibetan in not time with this short self-study course which guides students through learning the Tibetan alphabet. In this short course, students will learn how to: 

  • Recognize and pronounce the Tibetan alphabet 
  • Spell simple Tibetan words   
  • Read short sentences in Tibetan  

This course is a prerequisite for RYI’s online Classical Tibetan I course. 

Students can study at their own pace, completing the course in as little as one week, but will have access to this course in Moodle for four months from the date of registration.  

Cost: $33

Classical Tibetan I – (self-study)
with Professor Constance Kassor

Want to delve into Tibetan texts on your own? Classical Tibetan I covers the core principles of grammar using textbook materials and textual passages from classical Tibetan Buddhist literature. Grammar comprehension is central to this course but students will also be introduced to the basic vocabulary of classical Tibetan philosophy and practice. This course can serve as a springboard for students to begin delving into Tibetan texts on their own, and as a foundation for continuing with more advanced language instruction. 

Students in the Self-study format can choose to follow a 15-week class schedule, or proceed at their own pace and will have access to this course for one year from their date of registration.

Cost: $150 – Please choose the self-study format when registering on moodle.

Classical Tibetan II – (self-study)
with Instructor Joost Palenstijn 

In Classical Tibetan II, students will continue strengthening grammar skills and gain more experience reading and understanding classical Tibetan texts. After completing this course, students will be able to approach Tibetan texts by themselves with confidence. 

The primary means of instruction for this course is through guided readings of Tibetan classics such as The Jewel Ornament of Liberation (དྭགས་པོ་ཐར་རྒྱན་), Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva (རྒྱལ་སྲས་ལག་ལེན་), and the Mahāyāna Heart Sutra. Students will be guided through these texts sentence-by-sentence with recorded lectures. In this process students will also expand their Tibetan vocabulary.  

The prerequisite for this course is completion of RYI’s Classical Tibetan I, or a comparable level of knowledge (i.e. a semester of classical Tibetan study completed elsewhere).

Cost: $150 – Please choose the self-study format when registering on moodle.


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