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Tibetan Language and Grammar

​Tib. Language, 1st cycle​Tib. Language and Grammar1​1 and 2 (Summer – winter)
Compulsory – disciplinary (C-D)​TIBLG

* Note: ECTS points are tentative, as SICGU does not have accreditation yet.


Head of dept.: Prof. Geshe Jampa Khedup
​Co-lecturers: Prof. Geshe Jampa Kunchog; assist. teacher. Tamdrin Thubten and the DLIHE team
under the guidance of Prof. Tenzin Ghegay


Lectures: Tibetan and English
Conversation: Tibetan and English
Writing assignments: Tibetan and English

Prerequisites for study

  • Completing preliminary alphabet/ reading class when necessary.
  • Registration to the first year of the 1st-cycle program in Tibetan language and grammar.
  • Recommended donation fee or comparable compensation must be arranged.

​Content (Syllabus outline)

  • The value and importance of Tibetan language and grammar and their preservation. The value of preservation and utilization of classical Tibetan linguistic materials and methods.
  • Developing a good foundation for further study of Tibetan language and grammar. This will be focused on classical Tibetan, with the aim of achieving thorough mastery to be ultimately utilized in the study of Tibetan Buddhist Scriptures, translating classical Tibetan texts and developing a translation system can standardize Tibetan religious literature.
  • Utilizing both modern and traditional methods to achieve the objectives. Besides learning vocabulary, proper pronunciation and grammar, strong emphasis is on the written language.
  • The students receive basic study materials and learn how to use various online and offline tools, with the emphasis on the Tibetan-Tibetan dictionaries and classical Tibetan grammar books. Their individual work is mentored and assisted by teachers from SICGU and DLIHE.
  • The importance of interpretation and collaboration with other scholarly institutions and presentation to the public, for effective safeguarding of classical Tibetan language and grammar, as well the classical Tibetan literature, on which it depends.
  • Principles of translating classical Tibetan literature by relying on classical grammar and grammatical scriptural heritage, as well as the necessity for thorough mastery of the content of religious scriptures when translating, through education compatible with Geshe-level study, since these scriptures are usually completely understandable only through deep study.
  • Such awareness also intends to inspire students to enthusiastically engage in study.


  • ༸གོང་ས་༸སྐྱབས་མགོན་ཆེན་པོ་མཆོག་གི་བཀའ་རོམ་མཛད་རྣམ། ངོས་ཀི་ཡུལ་དང་ངོས་ཀི་མི་མང་།། Namgyal Tantric College, 2014, Mcleod Ganj, H.P., India
  • ལེགས་བཤད་ལོན་དབང་།(SICGU material)
  • Study scripts provided by Prof. Geshe Jampa Khedup
  • Monlam Dictionary and Monlam Grand Tibetan Dictionary
  • The Tibetan and Himalayan Library online dictionary

​Objectives and competences (intended learning outcome)

  • Acquisition of basic knowledge in the fields of reading, pronunciation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary and forming a sentence structure.
  • Knowledge and utilization of the tools necessary for reading and translating classical Tibetan, including traditional scriptural and contemporary IT related tools.
  • Knowledge of the importance of the Tibetan language and grammar m in particular its classical from, importance of its preservation and importance of combining the study of language with the study of meaning (Geshe type of study) when translating religious texts.
  • Mastering the basic methods and techniques of comprehending the meaning of sentence structure based on the Dalai Lama’s book My Land and My People (ངོས་ཀྱི་ཡུལ་དང་ངོས་ཀྱི་མྱི་དམངས།)
  • The ability to form sentences, engage in a dialogue or a debate through accompanying classes and homework.
  • Learning the basic methods of translating based on classical Tib. religious study material.

​Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, interactive learning / teaching, access to recorded video material, regular writing assignments, regular reading assignments, work in pairs, and personal practice guided by tutors.

Assessment type (examination, oral, coursework, project)

Until SICGU is accredited, students can receive certificates. Yet, in accordance with the monastic tradition, this is not done for
each singular year, but for a series of years to ensure consistency and dedication. Nevertheless, criteria are already established:


  • Class participation (including homework)
  • Evaluation of reading skills progress
  • Evaluation of vocabulary progress
  • Evaluation of writing skills progress
  • Evaluation of the progress in knowing and understanding the grammatical rules

​Lecturer’s references

Prof. Geshe Jampa KHEDUP, Head of SICGU Language Department:


  • 1997: Obtained Geshe Rig Ram degree (Phd) in Buddhist philosophy of Sūtra system from Sera Jey Monastic University K.S, South India.
  • 1999-Present: Tib. Language instructor at the Wisconsin Tibetan Language and Culture School.
  • 2007-2008: Vice President of Wisconsin Tibetan Association.
  • 2013-2014: General Secretary for Wisconsin Tibetan Association
  • 2005-Present: Lecturer for Modern Tibetan Language and introduction to Tibetan Buddhism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Books in Progress:

  • First Year Tibetan Language textbook.
  • Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism Course Book.

Prof. Geshe Jampa KUNCHOG, Head of SICGU Philosophy Dept.
and Head of SICGU Translation Committee

  • Founder of Scholastic Institute Chokyi Gyaltsen (SICGU) and SICGU Dhargey Publishing
  • Gelong Jampa Kunchog is the first American to have spent over twenty years in India, studying at Sera Jey Monastic University and the primary reason we can undertake the study and the translation of Sera Jey Monastery’s curriculum. His understanding of Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan culture, as well as knowledge of both English and Tibetan, is the primary reason SICGU is able to undertake such an ambitious project.
  • During study at Sera Monastery, he studied the five primary fields of Buddhist philosophy.


  • 1973: Began taking classes at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala. Attended classed on the Gradual Path to Liberation, classes on the Madhyamika School of philosophy.
  • 1974: Arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal for courses on the Gradual Path to Enlightenment during the months of April – May. Continued the course with a four-month Vajrasattva retreat and teachings. Continued course on the Gradual Path to Liberation.
  • 1975: Returned to Nepal to continue learning Tibetan language and debate. Taught English at the Himalayan School in Kathmandu, Nepal. Returned to Dharamsala, India to continue studies in logic on the second chapter of the text Commentary on Valid Cognitions. In 1976 he continued studies of Tibetan language and Tibetan grammar.
  • 1978-1995: At the invitation of the Abbot of Sera Jey Monastery, left Dharmsala for Sera Jey Monastic University in Bylakuppe, Mysore District, Karnataka State, India to begin studies in Buddhist logic and theory. Entered the University as a novice scholar.
  • Studied the following subjects: the three elementary texts of debate, the different types of mind, valid and invalid forms of reason, the four schools of Buddhist tenets, Grounds and Paths and the Seventy Meanings. After three years of study, he qualified as “intermediate scholar”. This concludes the BA study.
  • During the next four years, he studied the advanced texts of the Abhisamayālaṅkāra based on Rang Gyupa School of thought and practice. These classes entailed studies of the root text of the Abhisamayālaṅkāra and its commentaries on the Sūtra of the Wisdom Gone Beyond. The
  • commentaries included examinations by Je Rinpoche in Ser Ding, Namshe Nyingpo Gyen, which is the commentary by Gyalsab Rinpoche and the Sounds of the Fortunate Eon – commentary by Jetsun Chokyi Gyaltsen. Other courses of study included Rik, Sam Stuk, Jorlam, the twelve interdependent links and the commentary on the aspects of valid cognition (Prajñāpāramitā). This concludes the MA study.
  • 1984-1990: Graduated to the next level of studies, necessary for the attainment of PhD Study. The course of study was based on the theories held by the Madhyamika school of thought. This concludes the doctoral study.
  • 1985: Received teachings and initiations from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the practice of Tamdrin, Lam Rim Chenmo, Drung Nge, and the Golden Rosary.
  • Postdoctoral study: the texts Abhidharma and the Vinaya, completed in the year 1994. In 1995 after receiving Geshe degree, he returned to the US to begin teaching.

Awards and recognitions

  • 1982: received the highest award of debating excellence – the Rik-Chung Award. He also received letters of recommendation by the Abbot of Sera Jey University, Geshe Lobsang Thubten.
  • 1985: Received special educational recognition from The Dalai Lama for debates held in his audience.

Tamdrin Thubten, Assistant teacher
Thubten Tamdrin was born in 1971 Araknang in Kham province of Tibet. He became a monk in 1978 and started his Buddhist studies there, including philosophy, debate, logic, Buddhist psychology etc. He escaped from Tibet and joined the Sera Jey Monastic University where he continued his studies of Buddhist philosophy, grammar and other subjects. He studied under various renown scholars, including Geshe Wangchen Norbu, former Abbot of Sera Jey Geshe Phudrug, Geshe Pema Gyaltsen, Geshe Tsekha, Geshe Shakya, grammar teacher Geshe Thinley Ngodup, Geshe Ngawang Delek, Geshe Chopen, Geshe Jampa Kunchog and others. Now Thubten Tamdrin is American citizen and speaks fluent Tibetan and English.


  • Currently self-study on Tibetan grammar & Buddhist philosophy.
  • (CNA) Certified Nursing Assistant, completed since 2003 in New Jersey.
  • In 2001 River-side English Language skill in Manhattan, NYC.
  • Computer Keyboarding, I & II classes completed in 2003 from Queens, NYC.
  • Sera Jey University – Bylakuppe, India. Bachelor’s in philosophy 1997.