English for Dharma Purposes
The English for Dharma Purposes program empowers monastics by providing English-language education in language, literature, science, arts, and new fields of knowledge. Khenpos, lopons, and qualified lay practitioners learn English through modern teaching methods and subjects tailored to their needs and interests. This program serves as a foundation for monastics who wish to contribute to the urgent effort to translate Tibetan texts and provide skillful Dharma teachers globally.
This unique three-year residential program provides a foundation of language and skills for Dharma service in the world. Communication skills, including listening and reading comprehension, speaking, and writing, are developed under the guidance of our team of qualified English teachers who are skilled at tailoring their teaching methods to serve the Dharma community.
Students who join SINI’s EDP program may further progress to different specializations: translation studies; advanced academic English studies; and Dharma teaching and humanitarian work.
The English for Dharma Purposes program is a three-year curriculum and textbook series that is currently under development. The goal of the curriculum is to provide a comprehensive English language learning program that meets the special and specific needs of the monastic community.
EDP Year One is an elementary language course where students learn building blocks of the English language through foundational Buddhist topics. During this course, students learn how to talk about where they’re from, describe their monastery and daily life, give instructions for meditation, retell the life story of the Buddha and other short stories, describe the three poisons and their antidotes, read and write simple poetry, and much more.
EDP Year Two is an intermediate language course that builds on the language and skills of the previous year by extending their knowledge and discussion of Buddhism and philosophy. Students extend their knowledge of world religions, including pilgrimages and scriptures, discuss ordination and precepts, learn about anatomy and medicine, compare and contrast daily life across cultures and religions, present on the Four Noble Truths, and much more.
EDP Year Three is an advanced language course that serves as a culmination of language and skills for the students. Students engage in discussions about issues such as cultural and environmental preservation, learn about world history and the spread of the Dharma, engage with scientific methods related to meditation and the mind, engage in cross-cultural and comparative seminars, and much more.
Classes and Activities
SINI is pleased to offer our monastic students an array of classes in different subject areas. Classes currently offered at SINI include:
- English for Dharma Purposes language-learning class from our core curriculum;
- Translation studies at the beginner and intermediate levels;
- Dharma vocabulary to focus on key terminology;
- English literature of important works;
- Dharma reading and translation of key Buddhist texts;
- Advanced academic English seminars and discussion; and
- Sanskrit for beginner and intermediate learners.
Students practice conversation in natural settings, take field trips to sacred and historical Buddhist sites, make Dharma presentations, and experience innovative teaching methods. Classroom activities include: teacher instruction, group work, personalized instruction, individual assignments, and student participation in class discussions. In addition, students also receive personal tutoring from teachers and volunteers. Students may attend field trips to the local Dhamekh Stupa, Ganges River, Bodh Gaya, and other sacred sites of historical importance. Working toward language fluency, students live, eat, and work with native English-speakers, which include teachers, volunteers, and guests. This provides a well-rounded experience, with thorough engagement in real-life dialogues. Students who are selected to participate at the Institute receive a full immersion experience.
SINI conducts ongoing and cumulative assessments of students in each of the classes in order to monitor student progress and provide results upon completion of the class. Ongoing assessment includes regular quizzes, assignments, and in-class activities, while final assessments include written exams and speaking interviews. Student assessment shows consistent language and skills development and growth across all classes.
Fifty khenpos and lopons have graduated English for Dharma Purposes since the start of the program. SINI provides both continuing education and on-going opportunities for our graduates, several of whom have extended their stays or have returned to continue their studies, engage in Dharma teaching opportunities, or connect with our programs and initiatives. We host short workshops and seminars, which foster innovative connections in a number of fields. These interdisciplinary exchanges have helped to promote new dialogues and have contributed to advancing educational thinking, policy, and change, both in India and beyond.
Information for Prospective Students
Mature students, primarily monks over 25 years old, are welcome to apply. Classes run year-round, with several breaks throughout the year for Dharma work, travel, and holidays. The academic year begins after the Losar holiday and concludes in mid-January. New students are welcome to join the program after Losar.
Each three-year cohort of the English for Dharma Purposes program has approximately 20 students. Classes are small, ranging from 10 to 15 students, and focus on the language learning needs of the students.
To apply, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org