Textual learning practices of Tibetan Buddhism

A conversation with Ven. Tenzin Damchoe, from the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India

Bylakuppe, Namdrolling Monastery

Date: 4 March (Wednesday, Week 7), 18:00 Venue: Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building, Woodstock Road Many pre-modern cultures are characterised by a particular attitude to textual learning that involves recitation, memorisation of large fragments of textual material and their internalisation into the everyday life of practitioners. As contemporary Western education has largely withdrawn from such practices, it has become difficult for modern students of ancient and pre-modern texts to understand how these texts were read and performed. However, not all traditional systems of textual learning have been lost, and Tibetan Buddhism is one example of a well-developed tradition focused on textual engagement. And today we have a possibility to meet and talk to a representative of this tradition who will be focusing on his own experiences and the curriculum of the IBD. How many texts do students memorise? How is textual knowledge assessed? Are texts learnt to gain knowledge and factual awareness or are there any other goals? Can everybody reproduce large volumes of textual material by heart? How much of their day do students spend on textual learning? How is this learning appreciated among those members of the society who are not exposed to education? These are just some examples of the questions that we plan to discuss during our conversation. And everybody is welcome to join the discussion!

About the speaker:

Ven. Tenzin Damchoe is So-Wide visiting scholar, Geshe candidate (completion of 15 years of monastic studies, equal to a PhD). He is permanently affiliated to the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India.

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