Learning Tibetan at Rangjung Yeshe Institute

I have studied Tibetan language for several years before I started studying at Rangjung Yeshe in June, 2013. However, it was a struggle for me to study it in Japan because, as a working person, I didn’t have much time I can devote for studying, and there was (as long as I knew) no systematically designed courses to learn Tibetan. Also, the Tibetan community in Japan is small, so it’s not easy to find a person with whom one can practice Tibetan.

I took the summer advanced colloquial course at Rangjung Yeshe in 2013. The course was well designed, and two things really attracted me; there were two language partner sessions, and a khenpo teaching session everyday! I was also able to ask so many questions I accumulated in Japan to the instructor (there was no one to ask grammatical questions when I was in Japan). I feel that my Tibetan language skill has greatly improved within two months.

After the summer course, I continued my study at Rangjung Yeshe as an MA prep student. There, I didn’t have time to take private lessons to practice colloquial. I took a classical Tibetan class. In the classical class, what we did most of the time was translating Tibetan texts to English, which was a challenge for me because both are foreign languages for me, and the grammatical difference between the two languages is large. It is much easier for me to translate Tibetan to Japanese because the structures of sentences (word order) are similar. 

I also took two khenpo classes in the academic year 2013-2014. This helped me a lot to maintain and improve my listening skill. Without these classes, I might have forgotten parts of the skills I acquired during the summer.

Now, as an MA student, I have even less time studying and practicing Tibetan language, so I utilize my time talking with Tibetan speaking people in and outside of Rangjung Yeshe. I wish I can improve my language skill more so that I can help other people who do not understand Tibetan language to learn Buddhism.

~ Tomoko from Japan

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