Past Events

ZANGMO's TALK - January 25th, 2013

On a sunny winter morning, Zangmo, LRZTP5 graduate from Australia who is currently doing her apprenticeship in Choekyi Gyaltsen Center in Malaysia, came to LRZTP to talk to LRZTP6’s students about her experience as a student and as an interpreter.
She started by congratulating all our students for having been selected for LRZTP and to have embarked in such a great adventure. We were reminded that Tibetan letters were fashioned for the purpose of transcribing the Buddha Dharma from Sanskrit; this makes this language a sacred language and therefore the endeavor of learning it, a holy one.
She stressed Gen Sherab Dhargyela’s qualities as a pedagogue and as a scholar of Tibetan and Dharma, extremely skilled in distilling the essence of Tibetan grammar, colloquial and literary Tibetan and in presenting it to western students in a very pertinent way and such detail that cannot be found in regular textbooks. Genla designed an uncommon syllabus especially for teaching the students of LTZTP for the purpose of leading them from the basics of the language up to Dharma tantric terminology, in 2 years of classroom program. Zangmo said she felt her gratitude towards Genla ever growing now that she undergoes her apprenticeship, as she definitely realizes how all the tools she needs to interpret at the Dharma center were given to her during these two years under Genla’s guidance.

All the outer favorable conditions are gathered in the school to study perfectly: a skilled teacher, delicious food, supportive staff and an environment that procures a total immersion in the Tibetan language and culture. But this alone does not suffice to guarantee success in our studies, one needs to ensure that the inner conditions are also present. As Sakya Pandita says, one cannot expect to harvest a field – as fertile as it might be – if one hasn’t cultivated it. This is why it is essential to keep checking one’s motivation and refreshing it. The more far-reaching our motivation, the more stable and strong it will be.

One might feel discouraged at times, or want to do something else, but everything great and outstanding are always born trough overcoming difficulties and hardships, and making this achievement a total priority over other goals, as noble they may be.
One might feel that there is no time left for Dharma practice during the course of the program, but actually this program offers countless opportunities to practice the Dharma constantly.

Let’s take the six Perfections for example: as one studies, one has to practice generosity by helping fellow students, sharing one’s knowledge etc. and this whole study program later enables the interpreter to grant the generosity of the Dharma. Ethical discipline is also required, a discipline to respect our teachers and fellow students, and to maintain a moral behavior. Patience, or forbearance, is the necessary attitude to face and bear hardships as they appear and the strength to overcome them. Enthusiasm is the essential joyful interest that fuels students will and dedication. Concentration is practiced when one maintains a single pointed goal in mind and is not distracted by other activities which might seem nice and pleasurable but are in fact obstacles to our achievement and success. Finally, wisdom is what helps us discriminating between what is helpful and what is not during the course of our studies.

Then, Zangmo gave us advice regarding the methodology:
Among all methods used to learn any subject, it was found through research that recalling was the best method. It means closing one’s book, or one’s eyes, and answer the following questions: “what is it that I just read? How was this word spelled? What was this structure?” It is said that one should recall three times in 24 hours in order to internalize what was studied. This is basically what monks do in the monastic universities. Memorizing is also used and is a very useful tool even though in the west it is not always highly regarded. It really means to internalize the meaning, not to leave it in the books, but have it available in one’s memory, at all times. It requires repeating out loud many times the material until it sticks to the mind and the tongue. Although this seems very challenging at the beginning, as Shantideva says, there is nothing that doesn’t get easier with practice.
Repeated voluntary exertion is what was proved to make one excel in whatever field one practices, be it piano playing, sports, languages etc. It was shown by research that there is no such thing as innate talent, but that anyone being a genius in what they were doing exerted themselves in that activity for at least 10’000 hours, and forced themselves to practice those points or those exercises that were most rare, difficult or that one didn’t feel a natural inclination towards. In psychology, learning is defined as something that impels a transformation in one’s behavior.

Another useful tool is cooperative learning. Share your doubts, help each other, discuss different points together is an excellent way to internalize knowledge.
Zangmo noted that these two years were the main, and maybe the only, time in your life in which you will have such an exposure to Tibetan language and culture and that one should really make the best of it by talking to everyone in the streets and the shops etc. Later on, the only person with whom you will probably get to use your Tibetan will be the Geshe at the center.

Instead of learning isolated words, Zangmo also noted that it was more useful to learn whole sentences and structures, as it is easier to keep in mind and re use whole units of meaning/communication.
As a final advice, Zangmo exhorted the students to take care of themselves, physically and mentally, and to take care and cherish each other.
Tibetan language is similar to the Tibetan terrain itself, very difficult to access but once on has penetrated its secret, what a sight!

LOSAR LUNCH - January 8th, 2013

On the 8th of January (2013), LRZTP celebrated Losar – the Tibetan New Year – with a special lunch and the projection of the movie Milarepa (in Tibetan!).
The students had prepared beautiful offering baskets for their Teacher and each member of the staff to thank them for their work and help. This was truly a thoughtful gesture and was sincerely appreciated by the LRZTP team.
The students wore beautiful chubas (Tibetan dress) of different styles, from Central Tibet to Kham region, in honour and praise of Tibetan culture.

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OUTINGS - TERM1 - November 17th, 2012

On the 17th of November, the students and staff of LRZTP6 gathered in Norbulingka, the summer palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in exile, to visit the different workshops and learn about the preservation of Tibetan crafts such as Thangka painting, woodcarving and statue making.
Afterwards, we all were invited at Thosamling Institute for a delicious lunch and visit of this inspiring community.
Later, we visited the neighboring nunnery called Drolma Ling with its massive debating courtyard, and breathtaking landscape.
It was a very sunny and beautiful day in which all students enjoyed getting together outside the school and had fun learning more about Tibetan culture and lifestyle.

LHA BAB DU CHEN - November 6th, 2012

My Most dear most kind most precious wish fulfilling students of LRZTP 6,
Zillions and billions of thanks for reading the Golden Light sutra in Tibetan…especially to those who only started Tibetan 1 month ago…you people must be like Manjushri! And also I appreciate Sally’s recitation of the Diamond Cutter Sutra in English.
Since many of you received teachings from His Holiness…think you are fulfilling His Holiness’s wishes by learning Tibetan for the purpose of preserving the Dharma. That means following the wishes of numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas!
It becomes the most powerful purification and the most extensive way to create merit…this means quick enlightenment…and also benefiting sentient beings, to bring them to quick enlightenment. With each Tibetan word you translate think this.
As much as possible each day with each action have compassion for all sentient beings, or at least many times in the day…this is the way to make the life most meaningful and to become the most happiest life!
And you have a very qualified teacher – a very good teacher, please recognize this.
Thank you very much and see you very soon.
With much love and prayer,

Lama Zopa

On the 7th of November 2012, LRZTP6 students and staff gathered early in our classroom to commemorate this special day by reading the Golden Light Sutra.
As most of the students are still learning how to read, they have proved to be very brave and diligently read the whole sutra together, and finished in 2 hours! Everyone was very joyful and happy to be able to read the sutra in Tibetan.
Sally, the assistant director who doesn’t read Tibetan, joined in and read the Vajra Cutter Sutra in English.
Afterwards we all enjoyed doughnuts and chocolate tsampa balls made by one of our students.
We offered this virtuous endeavour to Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche and were delighted to receive this encouraging letter from Him (above).
You can read an article about this event in Mandala Magazine Online.

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OPENING CEREMONY - October 6th, 2012

LRZTP6 was launched on the 6th of October with an inauguration party in which all Teachers, students, conversation partners and staff participated. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other and to set the objective and motivation for the program. After being introduced to the Teachers and staff, we had a great momo party in the autumn sun. Everyone was very excited and happy, and very impatient to get started!
Classes started class on the 8th of October with our teacher Gen Sherab Dhargye-la and 15 students, with a few students wishing to join in second year. They all seem very enthusiastic and motivated.

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DAILY LIFE IN LRZTP

From improvised yoga sessions to conversation sessions and calligraphy, the students enjoy learning Tibetan language while having fun in the beautiful landscape of Dharamsala.
Living here provides a total immersion in the Tibetan culture in exile, and the precious opportunity to receive numerous teachings from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama whose main residence is also located in Dharamsala.

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