This program in Dharamsala, India, offers a unique opportunity to live and study in a rich and complex cross-cultural setting. Dharamsala is home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile, as well as the cultural and intellectual capital of the Tibetan exile community. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of a community in exile and issues associated with Tibetan refugees. They will experience and engage in the challenges and possibilities that confront the Tibetan community which is striving to preserve traditional cultural values and identities in the context of globalization and the loss of their homeland. The program is designed to immerse the student in a number of different academic, cultural, and social experiences. These experiences will take the form of course work, lectures, travel, homestays, service, cooking classes, learning music/ dance /yoga, meeting with artists, politicians, and religious leaders … and much more.
The Earlham program works with the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD – http://www.ibdindia.org/) to create a semester of rigorous academic work, Tibetan language study, cultural immersion, contemplative practice and field research. The IBD was established by HH the Dalai Lama in 1973 and is the most prestigious center for advanced Buddhist study and practice in the world. IBD provides the teachers and lecturers for the program. Students will attend classes at the Sarah Campus of IBD as well as the campus at McLeod Ganj, and will have an opportunity to experience the daily life of the Tibetan community in Dharamsala.
All of our classes will combine learning inside and outside of the classroom. We will have the opportunity to learn from Tibetan and Indian academics, lamas, artists, activists, cooks, taxi drivers, train passengers, chaiwallahs, uncles, aunties, children, and whomever else we encounter and pay attention to.
The program will include five classes:
1.Tibetan History and Culture (4 credits)
In this class, we will learn Tibetan history, including how there came to be a Tibetan community in Dharamsala. We will learn about and experience Tibetan cultural expessions, including visual and performing arts. The course will include readings, lectures, papers, activities, and visits to cultural institutions.
2. Tibetan Language 101 (4 credits)
This course is an introduction to modern spoken and written Tibetan. By the end of the course, students will be able to understand and speak colloquial Tibetan at the novice level, write the classical dbu can script and read simple passages. The course will meet four to five days a week and will include grammar, reading, writing, speaking, and oral comprehension. There will be exams. Two times a week students will practice with a local language partner, spending some time working on Tibetan and some time helping the language partner with English.
3.Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy and Practice (4 Credits)
This course covers the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism and more advanced exploration of Mahayana psychology, philosophy, and ethics.
4. Mindfulness, Reflection, Identity (4 credits)
Mindfulness is a concept and practice centrally important to Tibetan Buddhism, as well as to many other religions, including Quakerism and Hinduism. There is increasing research suggesting that mindfulness has a powerful role to play in education. In this course, we will learn about innovative research into the benefits of mindfulness practices including different forms of meditation and yoga, and we will observe ourselves as scholars and citizens of the world. In the lectures, activities, and writings for this course we will aim to integrate our scholarship and all experiences on the program.
5.Independent Research (2 credits)
This course allows students to explore a particular Tibetan Studies related topic and ends with a public presentation and a paper.