THE INSTITUTE OF BUDDHIST DIALECTICS, Mcleod Ganj

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES :

From the beginning, the aims of the institute at Mcleod Ganj were to develop the higher education of Tibetans in exile. This has taken the form of a combination of traditional Tibetan disciplines such as Buddhist philosophy, literature and language and modern Western subjects.

This combination is used in order to educate people that they might make an effective contribution to their society in exile, and be fully equipped to return to their homeland as well qualified and competent citizens.

Education at basic and higher levels is crucial for the autonomy of a people, and this is particularly relevant in the case of the Tibetan people. Due to the oppressive nature of Chinese rule many Tibetans have been relegated to second class status, and thus inhibited from achieving positions of responsibility and control in their homeland. Due to this, a seat of learning is urgently needed where Tibetans can maintain their identity, and in particular their rich philosophical and spiritual tradition, thereby benefiting not only themselves but all mankind.

To summarize the institute was established with five main purposes:

  • To produce advanced religious practitioners who would spend long periods of time in retreat thus continuing the rich traditions of Tibetan Buddhist practice.
  • To train religious teachers.
  • To produce interpreters of the Dharma.
  • To carry out comparative studies of Western science and Buddhist.
  • To produce scholars with an awareness of traditional and modern perspectives.

No institution had ever existed in this form in the history of Tibetan culture and such a development is a crucial move to ensure that the people of Tibet can move into modernity without loosing their rich cultural heritage.

In order to meet these aims a wide range of courses are offered at the institute. These include: Traditional courses in Buddhist philosophy, culture, language, literature, poetry, religious and political histories, rites and rituals, and astrology.

The text for these courses is both Tibetan and Indian and includes Buddhist and secular material, depending on the context.

In addition to this, modern advanced courses are offered including B.A. and M.A. degrees from Indian Universities through correspondence courses.

The traditional Tibetan degrees issued by the Institute are equivalent to B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. They are recognized by several well reputed universities in Europe and the United States and their reputation continues to grow every year.

OUTREACH WORK AT McLEOD INSTITUTE
From it's origins in the 1970's the Dialectic Institute has always looked outwards to be a benefit to the whole community, at both lay and monastic levels.

The Education of Nuns
The most notable example of this policy is in relation to the needs of nuns in the local area. This is particularly significant as the position of women in Tibetan Buddhism has often been criticized by Western observers as unequal and discriminatory. The late Ven Lobsang Gyatso la drafted a curriculum for nuns in the Dharamsala region and the present director continues with this work.

From the 1970's monks from the dialectic school have been sent to various nunneries in and around Dharamsala. The monks in addition to teaching Tibetan language, grammar and philosophy also help the nuns improve their debating skills, which form a crucial part of their monastic education.

Annual Journal
The Dialectic school produces a free journal on many aspects of Western philosophy, the environment, current affairs, and science and technology for the local community.

Winter Education Workshops
During the winter vacation from mid-December to mid-February, the Dialectic Institute offers a valuable service for Tibetan children. Children between seven and twelve years old attend the Institute for basic instruction in Tibetan reading, writing and other activities, including visits to the main temple and other places of interest. The children respond enthusiastically to this service.

Buddhist Teaching in the West
The Director, Assistant Director and the teachers of the Dialectic Institute visit institutions abroad giving teachings on various aspects of Buddhist Philosophy, such programs could be arranged by any institution that wishes to invite our scholars to give teachings and talks.

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