Our Classes

List of some of the classes

Dura – Buddhist Philosophy

Teacher: Geshe Jampa Kunchog

Dura (བསྡུས་གྲྭ་) is the fundamental study text of the Geshe study. It explains the key concepts of Buddhist philosophy which are used throughout the whole study of the Tibetan Buddhist monastic universities, get they are not explained afterwards. Dura provides essential definitions of the concepts, their synonyms and antonyms, divisions of the sets and subsets and other relations among them. While such systematic structure offers clarity about the topic, the study of the Dura classes is also fun and exciting, partly because Geshe la’s ability to create a relaxed yet inquisitive atmosphere and because he understands challenges that western students are facing when learning Tibetan philosophy, and partly because each debate opens new horizons of Buddhist philosophy. Geshe Jampa Kunchog is a highly qualified awarded scholar who is also a westerner, which makes him uniquely beneficial for the students. He is also the head of the department of Buddhist philosophy. This way, each new class presents a new adventure, gradually developing both understanding of the concepts as well as thinking abilities. Dura classes are connected to Debate 1 and 2 classes and the Student Sessions.

Dura Debate 1

Teacher: Geshe Jamyang Tashi

Debate classes support and further develop understanding and thinking abilities from the Dura Class. Geshe Jamyang Tashi is highly qualified scholar and skillful teacher, with always new challenges at hand. He knows how to bring the concepts to life by presenting them in unexpected contexts and combinations and forcing the students to use all the available knowledge definitions, divisions etc. to come to a logical conclusion. In an excellent manner of the scholars, he avoids giving the answer which the students would copy-paste, instead he is teaching the students how to think. (All the philosophy teachers train the students in this non-dogmatic manner.) The speed of Geshe la’s responses, his skillfulness in challenges and his great patience make his class time always quickly pass.

Dura Debate 2

Teacher: Thubten Tamdrin

Another wonderful aspect of classical monastic university study is the variety of teachers that the students are exposed to during their study. Different teachers bring different emphasis different understanding to the students which in addition benefits the debates. Our teachers’ ability to adapt to the level of each student and to increase their abilities to think on their own is not something that we would learn through our western education or in dharma centers, yet it is the approach which is well enrooted in the monastic tradition stemming from the great Nalanda University and back, to the ancient India of the Buddha and his disciples. All our teachers are well trained in this tradition and they kindly transfer their knowledge to the present time students. Just like other SICGU teachers, Thuben Tamdrin has been studying in Sera Jey Monastic University, following its centuries long lineage. 

Student Sessions

All students of full program (Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language)

The students of philosophy classes (Dura, The Tenets, Debate 1 and 2) practice what they have learnt, reviewing the definitions divisions and other relations among the discussed concepts and challenge each other through debates. These sessions are often fun and bonding the student towards the same goal, while at the same time strengthening and internalizing their understanding, thus shaping their way of thinking.

Introduction to the Tenets and Translation of Classical Tibetan

Teacher: Geshe Jampa Kunchog

About the Class:

Classical Tibetan Language and Grammar Class

Teacher: Geshe Jampa Kunchog

Classical Tibetan Language and Grammar Class is based on the book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama My Land and My People (ངོས་ཀྱི་ཡུལ་དང་ངོས་ཀྱི་མི་དམངས།) and it is connected to the Writing Class. Each class analysis a section of the book from the points of view of vocabulary, grammar and meaning. The students practice in pairs. The classes take place online and are recorded for the registered students who cannot attend them during the regular class time. After the class, each student is assigned the homework of memorization of new vocabulary, reading practice as well as written homework, initially consisting of two short paragraphs and gradually progressing to larger assignments. The classes are led by Geshe Jampa Khedup, a highly qualified professor of Tibetan language, equally fluent in English and Tibetan. His background in classical monastic education adds another benefit to the students – explanation of the implied meaning of the text when this is not obvious. Geshe la Jampa Khedup is also supervising the writing classes and leading the language department of SICGU.

Writing Class

Teachers: Gen Yeshi Dorjee and Gen Gyatso under the mentorship of Gen Tenzin Ghegay (all from DLIHE)

Writing classes are connected to the Classical Tibetan Language and Grammar Classes and lead by the teacher and his assistants from the DLIHE. The students are provided all the necessary material for the writing assignments (ངོས་ཀྱི་ཡུལ་དང་ངོས་ཀྱི་མི་དམངས།, grammar book
 ལེགས་བཤད་ལྗོན་དབང་།, as well as help with the dictionary and the Tibetan font when necessary). The teachers of the writing class come from the renown Dalai Lama Institute of Higher Education (DLIHE).

The Light of Meditation Class

Teacher: Geshe Jampa Kunchog

The Light of Meditation class is based on the book of the same name. It belongs to the commentarial classification of the Lamrim books – the books that define the gradual path to enlightenment and are common under different names in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The unique feature of this book and even more the class is that the author of the book and the teacher of the personifies an extremely rare unity of classical Tibetan scholarship while being a western monk, growing up submerged in the experiences of the western culture as well as spending over twenty years in a Tibetan monastery where he studied and taught. When such precise and profound understanding of the Buddhist path is applied to the western way of life, one’s everyday life can be truly effectively transformed, starting with one’s mental habits. Just like the book, the classes are divided to two main parts: the first is elucidating general premises of Buddhist philosophy applied to everyday life, while the second section is focused on developing sharp mind and introducing us to the fundamentals of the Tibetan debate.

Meditation Sessions based on The Light of Meditation

Note: These classes take place only in Slovenia.
Leader: Ani Tenzin Wangmo

These meditation sessions are opened to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Although they are based on the key aspects of Buddhists philosophy, they are designed, due to the nature of the book, to benefit the student in their everyday life situation regardless their religious belief. They consist of a combination of theory, meditation and discussion. This way each participant takes part in shaping the program through their individual needs and circumstances, while a solid structure is maintained.

Stories of the Land of Snow Drawing Sessions

Mentor: Ani Tenzin Wangmo

These sessions are focused on the paintings for the Stories of The Land of Snow. They combine basic theories and techniques of Tibetan and Western history of art. The sessions are designed to support the artists personal creativity while introducing new artistic possibilities. The student is provided with basic theoretical knowledge, several visual references and descriptions of the techniques. Online sessions are combined with individual work at home, which is analyzed and continued in the next session.