Tibetan Language and Literature Courses

A beginning Tibetan class developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in modern Tibetan (Lhasa dialect). Prerequisite: None.

This course is an intensive introduction to reading classical Tibetan literature. Following an introduction to basic grammar, the course moves quickly into selected readings from Buddhist texts in Tibetan. It typically builds on basic skills acquired in 1A-1B (elementary Tibetan), though with consent it may be taken independently.

This course is an introduction to the history, institutions, doctrines, and ritual practices of Buddhism in Tibet. The course will progress along two parallel tracks, one chronological and the other thematic, providing on the one hand a sense of the historical development of Tibetan Buddhism, and on the other a general overview of some central themes. Along the historical track, the course proceeds from Buddhism's initial arrival into Tibet through to the present day, with each week addressing another period in this history. At the same time, each week will focus on a given theme that relates to the historical period in question. Themes include tantric myth, 'treasure' (terma) revelation, hidden valleys, the Dalai Lamas, exile, and more. Prerequisites: None.

This semester the course offers the reading of a wide range of topics within Tibetan Buddhist history. Based upon a number of key texts, the intriguing system of incarnation as presented by a number of the most prominent Buddhist schools will be analyzed and discussed. In medieval Tibet prophecies played a huge communicative role as a political and religious strategy, the topics will be addressed through the reading of a number of informative texts; further, the course will look at the some medieval historiographical texts recently traced in Tibet.