We offer a free online Tibetan learning course, based on “The Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattva”, and designed to be user-friendly for those with basic Tibetan language skills. Our aspiration is that students will gradually learn the thirty-seven practices in accordance with their own level, and at the same time improve their Tibetan listening and reading abilities.
I: Class Content
The course is designed by Tibetan scholars and language teachers to enable students to interact with each other through online teaching, entirely in Tibetan. The course content is based on “The Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattva”, a foundational text written by the Tibetan master Thogme Zangpo in the fourteenth century. The thirty-seven practices are much revered and have been long practiced by the four major Tibetan Buddhist schools. Through continuous and repeated explanation, online interaction, and practice tests, the thirty-seven verses may be studied thoroughly. In addition to learning Tibetan, the principles of Buddhism will also be assimilated. In this lively and interactive learning environment, learning Tibetan will become more vivid and efficient.
II: This Course is Aimed at those who:
- Have basic conversational skills in Tibetan;
- Have knowledge of basic Tibetan grammar, have studied Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, and are familiar with commonly used Tibetan Buddhist vocabulary;
- Are enthusiastic to learn Tibetan, but may have time constraints and wish for a flexible study course;
- Wish to be able to test their language ability, and interact with teachers online so as to overcome any difficulties in the process of self-study.
III: Class Format
Part 1: Explanation of the Verses
- Each online unit features an explanatory approach to the verses. Using a multimedia approach, audio files are available alongside the texts. Each unit contains a new vocabulary section, an audio file section, and a video teaching section. In the key explanation, the Tibetan lecturer explains the essential meaning of each lesson. The videos have Tibetan subtitles to help students understand the content of the lecture. Finally, the reading section extends the thematic content of the lesson.
- Self-assessment questions are available at the end of each unit. The website also has a Q & A platform that allows for interaction with teachers.
Part 2: Stories from Buddhist Scriptures
- The online course also provides one or two stories from the Buddhist scriptures based on the content of the lessons as an opportunity for further reading. Through the explanations of the verses in the first part, the foundations laid during the study are further developed. Using flashcards, sound files from Buddhist scriptures, and video explanation by the instructor, students can practice higher-level vocabulary and listening exercises.
- At the end of each unit, there are practice questions. Through repeated exercises and games, students can have fun learning whilst keeping the Buddhist teachings in mind. If you have any questions, you can go to the “discussion area” where you can interact with the teacher. We hope that through this flexible and interactive online platform, students will progress in their studies and continue to the next stage.
IV: Online Course - Additional Information
- Due to the limited Tibetan teaching and research materials currently available online, even though the lessons are based on a thousand high-frequency words, there are still some difficult words to master. It is recommended that students work with the course in an integrated way. If you do not understand a term in “The Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattva,” or the Buddhist scripture stories, do not rush to check the dictionary. Try to understand it first from context, and then verify later. This will help you in training your ability to read and to listen to lengthy Tibetan texts.
- The course is designed for students who wish to read and develop their self-study skills in Tibetan at the same time. The learning time required for each unit will vary depending on the situation of the student. As a guide, students who read or write Tibetan at intermediate level or above should aim to spend three to five hours on each unit.
- We strongly recommend that students preview before the beginning of each unit, and are able to recite the verses by heart. We also recommend that students try to avoid translating into their own language, and should use the intuitive learning method to directly enter the Tibetan language in order to understand its logic. This course also strongly recommends that students use the ANKI online language learning flashcard application for revision. This application will help you compile your vocabulary and build your own flashcard library, which can effectively reduce the time you spend learning vocabulary. Using it to review difficult words improves learning efficiency.
- The online question and answer platform is a core concept in the design of our system. We hope that through such exercises, students can develop the ability to directly discuss in Tibetan with Tibetan scholars in the future, so that their Tibetan ability is not merely confined to books, but also can also be used in daily speaking.
Please visit www.arapatsa.org or sign up and learn online at your own pace.