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Tibetan Language Program

Cultural and Linguistic History

Tibetan is spoken by approximately six million people in living on the Tibetan plateau, which spreads across China, Bhutan, Nepal, and parts of northern India. This plateau, often called “the roof of the world,” is bordered by the Himalayan mountain range, which includes Mount Everest. Literary Tibetan is the language of the most extensive corpus of Buddhist texts in the world and only a miniscule fraction has been translated into other languages. Learning Tibetan is, as such, a path to knowledge of one of the world’s great religions, as well as to ancient teachings in the fields of philosophy, art, and Eastern medicine. In the last century, study of Tibet’s ancient culture has been overshadowed by modern political struggles between the People’s Republic of China, which views Tibet as part of the Chinese state, and the Tibetan government-in-exile led by the Dalai Lama, who views Tibet as an independent nation under Chinese occupation.

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Tibetan Lecturer Background

Venerable Champa Lhunpo was born in Tibet. In 1959, when he was four years old, communist Chinese invaded Tibet and he was forced to flee with his family to India. He joined the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, India (The Dalai Lama's personal monastery) at age fifteen and earned Master of Sutra and Tantra in 1986. For many years, he traveled as part of The Dalai Lama's personal entourage, assisting him with rituals and performing sacred dance, music, and art. He has taught Tibetan language at various schools and centers in the U.S., including the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, and Namgyal Institute of Buddhist Studies in association with Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Most recently, he taught Tibetan language and Tibetan sacred art at Rime Buddhist Center in Kansas City through Ottawa University at Overland Park, Kansas.


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