From August 8-26, 2005, the Tibetan Language Institute hosted three one-week seminars for those interested in the Tibetan language. The site chosen--Ewam Sang-ngak Ling near Arlee, Montana--was an idyllic spot, with the beautiful Prajnaparamita statue in the Buddha Garden, a lovely shrine/classroom with a view to the mountains, and 360 degree views of the vast open spaces of the Big Sky.

Prajnaparamita (Yum Chenmo, Tibetan) statue in the Buddha Garden

Some of the 1000 Buddha statues to be placed in the Buddha Garden   Sunset at Ewam Retreat Center

Thirty students came from nine states to attend the seminar. David Curtis, president of TLI, taught Weeks I and II (Beginning Tibetan and Intermediate courses). Classes were held in the shrine room of Tulku Sang-ngak Rinpoche's house. A bookstore and lounge was also set up for students to peruse the large selection of books for sale through TLI and to relax between classes..

David Curtis and Level I Course                                               David explaining a grammar point

Class is starting                         Students in the Level I Course

Teaching assistant Tracy Howard of Columbia University leading evening study session

Young scholar demonstrating the electronic            In the bookstore during a break
Illuminator dictionary

The walk from dormitory to class                          Three scholars outstanding in their field

            Studying together after lunch

Tracy (work/study student from Columbia University) giving some private help

Watching the DVD Spirit of Tibet one evening    Sitting by the Prajnaparamita statue--very peaceful

The shrine room was used as the classroom

Tulku Sang-ngak Rinpoche leading Week One attendees in a Guru Rinpoche Tsok. A joyful evening together!

Level 2 class: "We made it through the 5 days of grammar!!"

During the weekend breaks, attendees recharged by discovering the beauty of Montana: Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, National Bison Range, waterfalls, the nearby city of Missoula….Many new friendships were forged through love of language, of Dharma, and the spectacular outdoors.

Heading out for Shakespeare in the Park

Glorious Glacier Park                                         Friends at the Bison Range


On a drive near Arlee, MT The waterfall near the seminar site


Happy at the waterfall

Tulku Thubten Rinpoche graciously agreed to teach the Level III course, and Tulku Sang-ngak Rinpoche opened his home to welcome him. Tulku Sang-ngak Rinpoche also welcomed the group and gave teachings and encouragement to the students. Both Rinpoches were very enthusiastic about the Summer Seminar. Not only did the students apply themselves during class time, but also during breaks they could be heard chanting the Divine Tree Grammar Poem in groups, quizzing each other with flashcards, and reviewing the material. Tulku Sang-nak Rinpoche mentioned all this, but also said that this was a particularly unusual group because they did all this and were also so happy and laughing during the breaks, seemingly untired from their efforts. All the causes and conditions seemed to come together during these three weeks for an auspicious learning of Tibetan through Dharma teachings by gifted, learned and loving teachers.

Tulku Thubten Rinpoche was born in Tibet and took up Buddhism at an early age. He was recognized as the incarnation of Anam Lama by several masters, including Gompa Tulku Rinpoche. Rinpoche came to the West in 1992. He teaches in fluent English.

Sang-ngag Rinpoche, the 6th Gochen Tulku, is an incarnation of Gyalwa Chokyang, one of the Nine-Heart Children of Padmasambhava, the enlightened founder of Buddhism in Tibet. When Rinpoche was three years old his family and a large group of other people were harvesting hay in a field and left him sitting on a boulder at the foot of a cliff, where he left a very clear footprint in the rock as though in soft clay. After his recognition as the tulku of Gochen Monastery, he was thoroughly trained in all aspects of the Dharma and the teachings of the Nyingma school in particular.

Tulku Thubten Rinpoche speaks excellent English and offered lucid and inspired translations of Tulku Sang-ngak Rinpoche's teachings.

During a tsok (Week 3)

Tulku Thubten and David Curtis co-taught Week Three, a week of study of Dzogchen texts

During the diploma and closing ceremony: requesting that both Rinpoches join TLI to teach again in August 2006. They generously agreed!

Group photo Week Three: What an amazing week!

To those who attended the Tibetan Language Institute's Summer Seminar 2005:

We thank you all for your sincere efforts and enthusiasm in learning the Tibetan language! It was a pleasure to meet you, and your happy energy and sharp intelligence was inspiring.

We hope to see you and many others next year at the TLI Summer Seminar 2006 in August! The seminar will again be held at the Ewam Retreat Center near Arlee, MT (near Missoula MT in Western Montana). Here are the dates:

Week 1
Beginning Tibetan July 31-Aug 4 David Curtis, Instructor
Week 2
Intermediate Tibetan Aug. 7-11 David Curtis, Instructor
Week 3
Reading/Translating Texts Aug 14-18 Tulku Sang-ngak and Tulku Thubten Rinpoche, Instructors; David Curtis, assistant


Please contact TLI for more information about this or other services or products: info@tibetanlanguage.org

A special thanks to those who sponsored and supported the TLI Summer Seminar 2005:

Tulku Sang-ngak Rinpoche and Melong Baldwin and family

The Good Food Store, Missoula, MT

The Western Bakery, Missoula, MT

Zimorino's Pizzas, Arlee, MT

The Missoula Children's Theater, Missoula, MT

Le Petit Outre, Missoula, MT

Arlee School Board, Arlee, MT

Loonies and Toonies, Hamilton, MT

Peter Kola, Arlee, MT

Carol and Kevin Keskeny, Florence, MT

Pam Diedrich and Perry Gleisman, Missoula, MT

Dr. Georgia Milan, Florence, MT

Henry and George, Hamilton, MT