Patrick Dowd grew up on a horse farm in the foothills of rural North Carolina. He first traveled to India as an undergraduate, where he developed an abiding interest in the Buddha’s teachings and the cultures that hold and preserve them. From 2012-2013, he had a Fulbright research grant in Dharamsala, where he began his study of Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism. This led to several more years studying Buddhism privately with Tibetan teachers in India, Nepal and Tibet. In 2017, he received his master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied language revitalization and curriculum development, with a focus on the Himalaya. Following his graduation, with the support of the Khyentse Foundation, he oversaw the writing, illustration and publication of a children’s book in Ladakh, inspired by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Universal Ethics. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, researching the Tibetan oral-written interface and its role in the transmission and practice of Tibetan Buddhism.
He first collaborated with SINI in 2019, while curating an exhibition on sacred Tibetan books and numinous written objects at UBC’s Liu Institute. In 2020, he began his role as “Mr. Sloth” for the colloquial Tibetan class. In May 2022, he traveled to Manali where he taught in the English for Dharma Purposes summer program and translated for the school’s administration and the Kangyur Karchag team. He continues to work for SINI remotely, teaching a Dharma reading class (dam chos klog pa’i ‘dzin grwa) where his students examine the translation and English vocabulary of canonical Tibetan Buddhist texts, and explain their meaning in English. Regularly meeting his student-friends, who are consistently intelligent, kind and funny, is the highlight of his mornings and a renewing source of inspiration in his current life of dissertation writing.
His writing has been featured in Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, and The Treasury of Lives, and selected translations are on Lotsawa House and Tib Shelf. In collaboration with SINI, he is the translator and editor of a series of reports on Tibetan refugees in India that will soon be published by the Refugees in Towns project, operated by the Fletcher School at Tufts University.