The time has finally come. In the last week of April 2023 Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Program finally inaugurated its ninth Tibetan language intensive 2-year course. For the first time in three years new students were able to arrive in Dharamsala and start their classes.
Originally LRZTP 9 was scheduled to kick off in October 2020 but due to circumstances we all know the program had to be postponed and only the online classes were happening. But, as they say, better late than never, and here we are, in April 2023 with new faces at our school in Dharamsala.
The official opening ceremony was held in Lotsawa on Tuesday, April 25. It began with prayers recited by the teachers, program coordinator and the new students. Then everyone was welcomed by the LRZTP coordinator Julia Wilson, who introduced teachers: Geshe Tenzin Wangdak, who has been involved with LRZTP for many years now and is the main teacher of the online program as well as the second year of LRZTP 9; Filip Majkowski, who previously coordinated and taught in LRZTP 8 and will now teach the first year of Tibetan language in LRZTP 9; and Gen Thupten-la who has also been part of the Lotsawa team for many years and coordinates the language tutors. Each of them said a few words about themselves.
Later our new students were each offered a khatak, small gift and asked to introduce themselves. This year LRZTP starts with 13 new students who have arrived from USA, Argentina, Australia, France, India, Italy, Germany, Poland and Israel. After short introductions from the language tutors – some new and some veteran LRZTP teachers – everybody went outside to offer sang and take a group photo. This was followed by cakes, snacks and tea prepared by our new cooks, who joined the LRZTP team this year.
On Wednesday, April 26 the first classes began. As is LRZTP’s well proven tradition, in the morning students have “theory” lessons and after lunch they are joined by conversation tutors. Some of the new students are beginners, others have learnt Tibetan before but all will start from the basics. So for some there is going to be a lot to study from the start, for others it is going to be a thorough revision of what they already know.
The aim of the program is not only to teach Tibetan but also to train new translators and interpreters from Tibetan language who may in future join various Dharma centers and offer their service to the international Buddhist community.
The school is under the auspices of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) and was opened by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in the 1990s. As of today it has successfully completed eight programs and the graduates work as Dharma translators/interpreters all over the world.
Our dear founding father, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, just several days prior to the beginning of this new program manifested the act of leaving this impermanent body and passing away. Even though it is always an extremely sad event for the disciples, we all know how important this lesson is for us. Rinpoche throughout his whole life never stopped teaching Dharma with his body and speech and this was his final teaching for all of us. Now we pray for Rinpoche’s swift return in a new body for the benefit of FPMT, LRZTP, all Dharma practitioners and all sentient beings thoughout time and space. Thank you Rinpoche for your immense kindness!
And good luck to all of our new students! Let your adventure in LRZTP be fruitful and beneficial for you and all beings. And, of course, LRZTP does not close its doors now that the new program has started. We still welcome anyone who wishes to join our students and has a sufficient level of Tibetan. We also welcome anyone, regardless of level, who would like to have individual classes at school or via Internet. We are always open!