Learn to Translate!

Option 2With one year of intensive training, Rangjung Yeshe Institute’s Translator Training Program can take you from basic competence in spoken and Dharma Tibetan to translating Dharma teachings into English.

Entry into the program requires one year’s prior study of spoken and Classical Tibetan, and a basic understanding of Buddhist philosophy. The program begins each June, and by September students begin practicing their translation skills in class, five days per week. In addition, they study spoken Tibetan, Classical Tibetan, Buddhist philosophy, and translation methodology. Classes are small, and a number of sessions are one-on-one with native Tibetan speakers. Translation practice classes use Tibetan Lopons, Lamas, and Khenpos as the teachers, in a setting similar to what one would encounter as a real-life translator. The program is intensive and you should expect to work hard! But the reward is commensurate with the effort–graduates from the program are currently translating in the US, Mexico, Nepal, India and other countries.

If you dream of translating but are completely new to Tibetan, you can study for a year in our undergraduate program to learn what you need to know in order to join the Translator Training Program.


Visit our website for more information!

Karmapa’s first European visit announced

karmapa europeThe Karmapa Office and Karmapa Europe have just officially announced that the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, will make his first-ever visit to Europe from May 28 to June 9. On this brief tour, the Karmapa will offer teachings and transmissions at his main European seat, Kamalashila Institute in Langenfeld, Germany, followed by public talks and cultural events in Germany’s capital, Berlin. Visit here for details about the program and how to attend.

American Himalayan Foundation creates fund for families of Sherpa avalanche victims

An honorary procession in Kathmandu for eight of the Sherpa victims of last Friday's Mt. Everest avalanche preceding their Buddhist cremation. Photo © Thomas Kelly.

An honorary procession in Kathmandu for eight of the Sherpa victims of last Friday’s Mt. Everest avalanche, preceding their Buddhist cremation

Buddhist cremation ceremonies were conducted Monday for eight of the thirteen Sherpa mountaineering guides who were killed on Friday, April 18, in an avalanche on Mt. Everest while making advance preparations for foreign climbers. The bodies were transported in an honorary procession through the streets of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, culminating in the cremation at the religious complex surrounding the Swayambhunath stupa. Three other guides were hospitalized with critical injuries, while a search continues for a further three who are unaccounted for.

The American Himalayan Foundation has created a Sherpa Family Fund, promising that “100% of donations will go directly to help the families of the deceased.” See their announcement here.

Special thanks to Kathmandu-based photographer Thomas Kelly for providing the image above. It’s from a series of ten he took during the funeral procession, and Kelly intends to donate the proceeds from any sales of these images to support the children of his friend Ang Kaji Sherpa.

Further images and story details may be seen here. Read More »

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in New York: New film “Vara” to screen online for free next week; public talk webcast Friday night

Dance sequence from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's new film, "Vara: A Blessing".

Dance sequence from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s new film, “Vara: A Blessing”

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, the Buddhist teacher whose ventures into filmmaking to date — The Cup and Travellers and Magicians — have focused on his native Bhutan, has ventured into new cultural territory. His latest film, entitled Vara: A Blessing, was shot in Sri Lanka and is a spiritually-infused love story based on a special style of Indian classical dance. And now, in conjunction with its North American premiere next week at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, US residents will have the chance to screen Vara online for free and participate in the festival’s audience award competition.

From 9 pm on Monday, April 21, to 3 pm on Wednesday, April 23, viewers may visit the festival’s online audience page, select Vara, and halfway through the film, click to rate it on a scale of one to five stars.  Be aware that only the first 1,500 viewers will have access to the film. Read More »

UPDATED: Two-week Mongolian monastery retreat program offered to foreigners

Pethub Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Pethub Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

A dharma adventure for foreigners is on offer in Mongolian monasteries just prior to the Dalai Lama’s conferral of the Kalachakra initiation in the capital Ulaanbaatar, beginning August 1 [UPDATE: the Dalai Lama's visit to Mongolia has been postponed until 2015]. From July 14-30, retreat participants will stay in Mongolian Buddhist monasteries in both Ulaanbaatar and the ancient capital of Genghis Khan, Kharkhorin. They will meditate and take meals with the resident monks, and receive teachings from some of the most learned of the elder Mongolian lamas, focused on Mongolian commentaries to Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva. There will also be plenty of free time for guided exploration of traditional Mongolian culture. For further information, visit here and click on the PDF link at the bottom.

Reuters wins Pulitzer for reporting on Myanmar’s Buddhist/Muslim conflict; signs of hope appear amid ongoing violence

Youth activists with Myanmar's new "Flower Speech Movement" spreading their anti-hate speech message at the recent Water Festival

Youth activists with Myanmar’s new Flower Speech Movement spreading their anti-hate-speech message at the recent Water Festival

This past Monday, Reuters reporters Jason Szep and Andrew Marshall won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for their two-year series of articles from Myanmar — whose inhabitants mostly self-identify as Buddhist — raising international awareness of the sometimes violent persecution of that country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, as well as their susceptibility to human trafficking in their desperation to escape these conditions. For an example of Szep and Marshall’s reporting, see “Apartheid tactics separate Myanmar’s minority Muslims from majority Buddhists” from May 2013.

Other news from Myanmar this week draws attention to a more positive trend. Read More »

PBS NewsHour Tuesday: “Culture at Risk” segment to examine tourism vs. preservation at Myanmar’s ancient Bagan Buddhist site

Tourists pay $350 for a 40-minute balloon ride at sunrise over the temples and pagodas in Bagan. Photo by Mary Jo Brooks/PBS NewsHour

Tourists pay $350 for a 40-minute balloon ride at sunrise over the temples and pagodas in Bagan

PBS NewsHour will launch its “Culture at Risk” segment today, April 15, with a report from Myanmar, including an examination of the efforts to restore Bagan, “the site of what’s said to be the highest concentration of Buddhist architecture of any place in the world.” Will the site — with more than 2,000 temples and pagodas, some of which are more than 1,000 years old — be preserved according to its original spiritual vision? Or, as PBS correspondent Jeffrey Brown asked while researching the piece, will the lure of tourist revenue result in Bagan being “turned into a kind of theme park…’loved to death,’ as has been the fate of some other great archaeological sites”? Tune in tonight, or watch the episode once it’s uploaded here. Read More »

NYT editorial urges Nepal to cease China-influenced mistreatment of Tibetan refugees

Tibetan Buddhist nun detained by Nepalese police during protests as the Chinese Olympic flame reached Lhasa, Tibet.

Tibetan Buddhist nun detained by Nepalese police during protests as Chinese Olympic flame reached Lhasa, Tibet

The repression of Tibetan refugees by authorities in their temporary Nepalese home, and Chinese influence in provoking it, has garnered serious international condemnation this month, including a New York Times editorial this past Sunday. The Times’s editors referenced findings detailed in a Human Rights Watch report released in late March, entitled Under China’s Shadow: Mistreatment of Tibetans in Nepal.

“In effect,” they said, “Nepal has turned itself into a partner of China’s anti-Tibetan policies.” Read More »

Ratna Ling printing press survives permit challenge from nearby resident group

Volunteers load texts into shipping boxes at Ratna Ling's printing press.

Volunteers load texts into shipping boxes at Ratna Ling’s printing press

The expansion of printing activities at Tarthang Tulku’s Ratna Ling Retreat Center in rural Sonoma County, CA, has gotten the approval of county authorities, overriding a challenge to its permit by a local resident group called Coastal Hills Rural Preservation. Since 2005, volunteers have run the massive press to print Buddhist texts that are distributed for free to Tibetan Buddhist monasteries throughout Asia. According to a story in the Press Democrat, those in charge of the printing press contended that creating the texts is “a religious practice ancillary to the retreat,” while those in opposition said the scope of the project, which includes regular truck traffic, “is an industrial activity inappropriate to the county’s strikingly beautiful northwest hills and violates the county’s general plan.” After a review and public hearing, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors sided with Ratna Ling in a 3-2 vote.

Read the full story, which has drawn numerous comments, pro and con.

Met to offer first look for the West at ancient Burmese Buddhist sculpture, other early Southeast Asian works

Buddha in meditation, Thailand, late 6th - early 7th CE. Image via www.metmuseum.org.

Buddha in meditation, Thailand, late 6th – early 7th CE

Repressive politics has a way of concealing art. Such was the case in Myanmar, ruled under a military dictatorship for decades until a more lenient civilian system emerged in 2010. One fruit of this opening is the inclusion of ancient Buddhist sculpture never seen outside Myanmar in a major exhibition that opens April 14 at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century” will feature 160 works in total — many on loan from the source countries, not just those in Western collections — showing the profound influence of Indic culture on the early kingdoms of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. You can see images of all the objects by visiting the Met’s “Lost Kingdoms” exhibition site. NDT.tv has also provided some narrated preview film, which you can see at this link. Read More »

“Open the Vaults” project launched for free online access to vast Tibetan Buddhism film archive

Over nearly three decades, Great Britain’s Meridian Trust has amassed and organized more than 2,500 hours of Tibetan Buddhism film footage, featuring nearly all of the last century’s great masters who taught in the West, as well as landmarks in modern Tibetan spiritual culture. With all of the archive now digitized, their aim now is to fulfill a promise made to the Dalai Lama by making all of it available on one website for free. Toward that end, the trust has launched an “Open the Vaults” Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds, and there’s one week left to reach their goal. The video below offers a concise overview of the project; click here for more info and to participate.

Bernie Glassman’s 75th birthday, Zen career honored with book of Peter Cunningham’s photos

a thousand armsZen Buddhist teacher Bernie Glassman is approaching his 75th birthday, and one of the ways his Zen Peacemakers organization is honoring the occasion is through the release of a glossy coffee-table-size “photo essay” of images taken by photographer Peter Cunningham, spanning Glassman’s spiritual career. Entitled A Thousand Arms, a reference to the Bodhisattva of Compassion, the 234-page book is being sold as a fundraiser for Zen Peacekeepers’ Elder Fund, a project to support Glassman and his wife, Eve Marko (see the Buddhadharma News post on the Elder Fund here), as their schedule necessarily slows down. Click here for a digital preview of the entire book.

Patriarch of Vietnamese Buddhism dies, Dalai Lama sends special letter to mourners

thich tri tinhThe Patriarch of Vietnamese Buddhism, Most Venerable Thich Tri Tinh, passed away last week on the day before his 98th birthday, prompting Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to write a special letter directly to the National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha. In the letter, reports phayul.com, the Dalai Lama expressed his sorrow and sympathy, saying “the best way to pay tribute to him would be to do whatever we can to implement the Buddha’s message of inner peace, non-violence and compassion in our own lives.”

Mourning among Vietnam’s Buddhists has continued throughout the week, with memorial events attended by high government officials. The official funeral was held April 2.