English for Dharma Purposes

Vision

The English for Dharma Purposes program grows out of the need to empower monastics (khenpos, lopons, and qualified lay practitioners) to learn English while gaining exposure to modern teaching methods, science, art, culture, and new fields of knowledge. This program supports urgent efforts to translate Tibetan texts and to provide skillful Dharma teachers globally.

Goal

This unique three-year program provides a foundation in English that will facilitate the individual’s Dharma service in the world. Beyond basic communication skills in comprehension, speaking, and writing, committed students will advance to supporting both written and oral Dharma translations. Teachers in this program are qualified to teach English as a Second Language and have the skills to tailor their teaching methods to serve this unique program. Students accepted into this selective program are provided a full immersion experience at the Institute.

As a residential program, students are encouraged to speak in natural settings, take field trips to historical and sacred Buddhist sites, make Dharma presentations, and experience new teaching methods in order to work toward language fluency. Students live, eat, and work with native English-speaking teachers, guests, and staff, providing them a well-rounded experience while engaged in real-life dialogues.

Prospective Students

Mature students, primarily monks over 25 years old, are encouraged to apply. The academic year begins the first Monday of the third week of September and concludes on April 15th.
The classes are small, ranging from 5 to 10 students, and focus on the needs of each individual student. The emphasis is on learning everyday vocabulary in English and developing both written and verbal communication skills. To apply, please send an email to welcome@sinibridge.org

Program Structure

Classroom activities include teacher instruction, group work, teacher-student one-on-one work, individual assignments, and student participation in class discussions.  In addition to classroom instruction, students also receive one-on-one tutoring with their teachers and volunteers at SINI.

In addition to ongoing learning in the classroom and in our residence program, the Institute facilitates field trips to the local Dhamekh Stupa, Ganges River, Bodh Gaya, and other sacred sites of historical importance.

Results

Each three-year batch of the English for Dharma Purposes has approximately 17 students. The English for Dharma Purposes program has graduated approximately fifty khenpos and lopons since the start of the program. In addition to the long commitment SINI has with providing both continuing education and opportunities for our graduates, the institute has also developed a core curriculum around teaching monastics. While our professional but volunteer English instructors generally serve a minimum of three-year commitment to the program, we have also hosted a number of shorter workshops and seminars that have helped to create 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 in India and globally.