Academic Summer Course: Introduction to Buddhism - Philosophy, Practice and the Modern World

Kathmandu University - Rangjung Yeshe Institute | 12. June 2019 to 9. August

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We are pleased to announce the first academic Rangjung Yeshe Institute Summer Course to take place at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Germany-Austria from 12th of June to 9th of August 2019 accredited by Kathmandu University.

This course will integrate traditional approaches to Buddhist view, meditation, and conduct with contemporary academic perspectives on their historical development in India and Tibet, and their applications in the modern world in fields as diverse as neuroscience, pedagogy, healthcare, and the arts. The aim of this course is to provide a solid foundation in Buddhist doctrines and practices, while exploring the complex historical and social issues involved in their transmission across cultures. No previous knowledge of Buddhism is required.

Programme structure

This course is a full immersion into the theory and practice of Buddhism. In the unique settings of a Buddhist retreat center, students are introduced to both classical and modern Buddhist scholarship and meditation training. This summer intensive is offered for students with no Buddhist Studies background, while also being of interest to students with some experience in Buddhist Studies. The course will be held in and translated into English.

Classes are structured as a combination of traditional Tibetan-style and Western academic-style classroom lectures on fundamental Buddhist topics and texts including instruction on their practical application through meditation training. Students study the traditional way, receiving in-depth explanations of the texts being studied, as well as word-by-word commentaries from the teacher. Professors will be approaching their topic from a broad perspective that includes consideration of other Buddhist traditions and examines the historical context in which Buddhist philosophical issues and debates have arisen.

Daily meditation sessions are an important feature of the course and provide a personal perspective on the philosophical content of the lectures.

During two weeks of the program, (7th of July to 13th of July and the last week) there will be a meditation retreat. Throughout this period, the main focus of lectures is on practical meditation instruction and a major part of the day is spent in personal contemplation and group meditation practice.

Credits and workload

In addition to satisfactory grades, students must maintain an attendance rate of 80% throughout the course in order to pass. This course covers two full semesters of material. Students who complete the course receive academic credit at the Centre for Buddhist Studies for TSTD 120 Buddhist Studies Summer Program I (6 credits total: equivalent to 12 ECTS points). Students spend four hours each day in class and the expected work time outside of class ranges between two and four hours per day depending on student interest and ability.

To register as a for-credit student at Kathmandu University, please fill out this form.


James Gentry, Ph.D

James Gentry is Assistant Research Professor at the University of Virginia and Editor-in-Chief of the project 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. James holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University and an MA in Buddhist Studies from the University of Virginia. His academic research has focused on the topics of tantric Buddhist ritual theory and practice, Buddhist material culture, anthropological approaches to the study of Buddhist traditions, 16th and 17th century Tibetan intellectual history, the Tibetan Treasure tradition, Tibetan prophecy, and other themes in Buddhist and Tibetan history and culture. He has delivered papers on these topics at several professional conferences and his first book, Power Objects in Tibetan Buddhism: The Life, Writings, and Legacy of Sokdokpa Lodrö Gyaltsen (Leiden: Brill), was published in 2017. James has also lectured on Buddhist history, thought, and practice, and Tibetan language and literature at Harvard University and Kathmandu University.

Ana Cristina O. Lopes, Ph.D

Ana Cristina Lopes is a lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Specialized in the study of Buddhism, anthropology of expressive forms, visual anthropology and globalization, she has conducted years of fieldwork throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas and recently held appointments as visiting scholar at Center for the Study of World Religions (Harvard University) and at the Department of Performance Studies (Tisch School – New York University). Ana Cristina is the author of the book Tibetan Buddhism in Diaspora: Cultural Re-signification in Practice and Institutions (Routledge 2015), a pioneering work concerning the contemporary global spread of Tibetan Buddhism. She is currently finalizing her first ethnographic movie Kalachakra: Circle of Time, a 73-minute visual essay about the Kalachakra Initiation presided over by the Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya in the beginning of 2012.

Dominic Sur, Ph.D.
Dominic Sur first studied with Tibetan masters in India, Nepal, and Tibet for several years before returning to the United States, where he was fortunate enough to study with several outstanding scholars of Buddhism at Sarah Lawrence College, Harvard Divinity School, and the University of Virginia. In 2015, he completed a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia and is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Utah State University. Dr. Sur's recent publications include Entering the Way of the Great Vehicle: Dzogchen as the Culmination of the Mahāyāna (2017). He is presently working on a study of the rise of scholasticism and sectarian identity in eleventh-century Tibet.

John Dunne, Ph.D.

For one week, we will have the honor to welcome a very special guest lecturer: John D. Dunne (Ph.D. 1999, Harvard University)  holds the Distinguished Chair in Contemplative Humanities, an endowed position created through the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  He also holds a co-appointment in the new Department of Asian Languages & Cultures. 

John Dunne's work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice, especially in dialog with Cognitive Science and Psychology. His publications appear in venues ranging across both the Humanities and the Sciences, and they include works on Buddhist philosophy, contemplative practice and their interpretation within scientific contexts.  

John Dunne speaks in both academic and public contexts, and he occasionally teaches for Buddhist communities, most notably at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. In addition to serving as a faculty member for the Center for Healthy Minds, he is a Fellow and former Board member of the Mind and Life Institute. Dr. Dunne also serves an academic adviser for the Ranjung Yeshe Institute.

Rangjung Yeshe Institute

About Rangjung Yeshe Institute

Founded by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche as an institution of higher learning for those wishing to deepen their understanding of Buddhist philosophy and practice, RYI has been conducting seminars and study programs in Nepal for more than 25 years. Since 2001, the Institute has worked in close partnership with Kathmandu University to manage the Kathmandu University Centre for Buddhist Studies (KU-CBS) at Rangjung Yeshe Institute which offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in Buddhist Studies and related topics. In addition to formal partnerships, RYI also maintains a register of the many other institutions that have accepted academic credits earned by students studying at RYI.

Application deadline

Application deadline is the 10th of June 2019.


As this course is taught at the introductory level, all interested students are encouraged to apply. A statement of interest will be required as part of the application process.
All for credit students are subject to approval by the Centre for Buddhist Studies.

The course requires a medium level of English.


2.000 € for 6 weeks and 12 days retreat

This fee covers:

  • registration at Kathmandu university and associated course accreditation
  • accommodation, plus three full meals per day
  • Not included: Travel costs, tours

There is also the possibility to apply for a scholarship.

The fee is a suggested donation. 

To complete your registration, please deposit of 500 euros.
Cancellation policy:
until 4 weeks before the beginning of the course, the full amount will be refunded
until 2 weeks before the course starts, 50% will be refunded
from two weeks before the start of the course, the entire amount will be deducted

Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Austria

Bank: Raiffeisenbank Scharnstein
IBAN: AT203412780200111336

Further information

For further information do not hesitate to contact us:

Online-registration for this event has expired.