LRZTP 8 began on 13th March 2018 with a grand opening ceremony to welcome our new teachers as well as our new team consisting of Dr Filip Majkowski, LRZTP Local Director and Alex Garcia, Teacher Assistant. All the other members of staff, including the invaluable Geshe Tenzin Wangdak, have been there in LRZTP for several years.
Students in LRZTP 8 came from: Australia, USA, Taiwan, Vietnam, Spain, France, Germany, UK, Israel, Mexico, Poland and Russia. Most of them had some knowledge of the Tibetan language prior to starting the course but they still considered themselves beginners.
We began the adventure of teaching Tibetan with vocabulary and grammar classes, classical Tibetan, listening comprehension, reading comprehension and drilling, as well as conversation classes with native Tibetan speakers. Later during the first year students began learning and practicing the U me script and gradually switched from classes in English/Tibetan to classes in Tibetan. Also, once they have learnt the most basic principles of Tibetan grammar and everyday vocabulary, they began studying Buddhist words and phrases.
In the second year our great teacher Geshe Tenzin Wangdak began his classes in Lam Rim in Tibetan, completing the full text by the end of Module 9 (the whole course had 10 modules). Additionally the students learnt basics of drubtha, dudra, tantra (with Geshe Ngawang from IBD), 37 Practices of the Bodhisattva and mind factors (sem chung). In the second year the students also had their training in translating and interpreting Dharma teachings. They began with theory of interpretation (classes by Alex Garcia) and later had their interpretation practice both in pairs and publicly in front of the classroom.
The international group of students completed their 2-year training at the LRZTP school in Dharamsala in March 2020. Unfortunately, the grand graduation ceremony, planned for 20th March could not happen due to local government restrictions imposed on the movement and gathering of people in the times of the Corona virus pandemic. Instead, students received their certificates of completion individually on 18th March, having passed their final exams.
During the two years of LRZPT 8 we had the privilege also of organizing two residential intensive courses of Tibetan language for the beginners. Teachers of those courses were Gen Julia Wilson and Gen Thupten. Participants came from India, Italy, Germany, Singapore, Russia, Mexico and South Korea. The first course was organized in April-May 2018, the second in October-December 2019. As part of LRZTP 8 we also had the privilege of helping out students all around the world to learn Tibetan language. The most significant of those contributions was LRZTP’s participation in the Tibetan language summer course at the University of Virginia (USA) and subsequently their autumn and spring program. For that we are forever grateful to the wonderful and invaluable former LRZTP teacher Franziska Oertle, who is also the author of the textbook The Heart of Tibetan Language used by our students. Other than that we had both residential and online students from various countries of the world studying Tibetan in their private classes with the LRZTP teachers.
For all the students and teachers of Buddhism the most wonderful occasions are always those times when it is possible to meet with our most precious teachers. In LRZTP 8 we had an enormous blessing of being able to host at school our precious Guru Lama Zopa Rinpoche (September 2018) and His Eminence Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (November 2019). Also the whole team of students and teachers and staff was granted a truly blessed honor of having a private audience and teaching from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 2nd December 2019.
So now the time has come to say goodbye to LRZTP 8. We are truly grateful and we will never forget the contributions of so many people who made it possible. Thanks go to our International Director Yaron Bahir, Local Director Filip Majkowski, Geshe Tenzin Wangdak, Alex Garcia, Martha Urbina, Thubten and Rinku Ram who were all part of the “permanent” staff and made it possible for the school to function. Special thanks to all the people and institutions who worked together with LRZTP: our international team at FPMT, Indian team at FPMT India, Khyentse Foundation, Tushita Meditation Center in Dharamkot, University of Virginia (USA), Root Institute in Bodhgaya, Vikramashila Foundation in McLeodganj, Tibet House in New Delhi, Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mr Sandeep Kakkar. And finally to our wonderful Board of Trustees in New Delhi: Prof. Renuka Singh, Mr Ranjit Walia and Mrs Sadhana Kumar. A big thank you to everybody who gave their donations and helped the school to continue financially.
Of course, in every school there must be teachers… We are forever grateful to our wonderful teachers: Geshe Tenzin Wangdak, Geshe Ngawang, Filip Majkowski, Alex Garcia, Thubten, Julia Wilson and all the Tibetan language tutors.
And finally to all the STUDENTS: without you there would be no school…
Wishing all the graduates the best in the future endeavors as Tibetan language and Dharma interpreters, translators, teachers or researchers! We hope the experience you got in LRZTP will help you on your path.
And thus the story of LRZTP 8 has come to an end. Looking forward to LRZTP 9, to meet new people and to continue serving our most precious gurus and the Buddhadharma.