Learn Tibetan On Your Own With TLI Study Materials

“Buddhism is a source of wisdom not just a set of rituals to be performed in the temple. Use it to transform your mind. If you want to make its knowledge part of your life, you need to study. Keep up your studies of Tibetan language…and try to read the scriptures.” — The 14th Dalai Lama to Westerners

Once you know how to read the script, you can then go on to acquire a basic Dharma vocabulary in Tibetan, which is so useful in becoming a better-educated Dharma practitioner. The following are some great resources you can use in starting your journey to learn Tibetan.

Learn to Say the Tibetan Alphabet

Download the sheet with the Tibetan letters to follow along while David explains the alphabet:

Then practice repeating the alphabet after David.

Learn Your First Vocabulary

Download the single-syllable Tibetan words printout (PDF).
Watch David point out the single-syllable Tibetan words.

Background Reading

The Tibetan language is beautiful, powerful, and interesting in its own right. But what is more, knowledge of Tibetan can contribute significantly to one’s Dharma study and practice. In fact, to study Tibetan is to practice the Dharma. The texts were written and translated by realized masters who were also great literary masters and their sole motivation was to liberate beings. Looking into the specialized language they created to convey the…

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I would like to begin to teach how to actually read the Tibetan script. If an English speaker who speaks or reads no other language wishes to learn French, Italian, or German, he or she will know how to read the script and use the dictionary since all of these languages have alphabets based on the one used by the Romans, and they all have the same dictionary word order. But when learning Tibetan, we first need to learn to read a very foreign-looking script…

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Learning to read script involves a seven step process. In this article I will illustrate the seven elements of learning to read Tibetan.

Tibetan is written as a series of syllables. It is not divided into words, just syllables! The syllables are separated by dots. The Tibetan word for this dot is tshake (rhymes with sake, as in “for the sake of…”). The syllables may be compromised of seven elements, some of which may be stacked on top of each other. In addition…

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Practice Writing the Tibetan Alphabet

Memorize the script by writing it. Be sure to follow the stroke order. Download these helpful study aids:

Tibetan Alphabet Calligraphy Guide (PDF)
Calligraphy Paper (PDF)

Going Farther into Tibetan


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