Smith College and Hampshire College
His Holiness The Dalai Lama
WIsdom, Compassion, Peace. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at Hampshire and Smith Colleges


Background Information

As part of an ongoing academic exchange program with the Tibetan universities in exile in India, each year the Five Colleges send up to fifteen students to spend January term studying Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan history and culture, and Tibetan textual analysis in an intensive program taught by the faculty of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India. The Institute is a research and teaching university established and jointly administered by the Tibetan Government in Exile and the Ministry of Education of India.

Sarnath is a small village on the outskirts of Varansi (Benares) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is an ancient city of about one million on the river Ganges and a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. Sarnath, the location of the Buddha's first teaching after attaining enlightenment, is a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists, and an important archaeological site.

This course of studies will include daily lectures in Buddhist philosophy, close reading and discussion of an important Buddhist treatise, and special lectures on Tibetan medicine, art, history, and culture. Instruction in Tibetan language, while not required, is encouraged and arrangements can be made for any students who wish to pursue this. The program will also include a visit to Bodh Gaya (the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment). This will provide an opportunity to visit a major Buddhist pilgrimage site at the peak of the pilgrimage season. We will also visit Raj Gir, the site of the first Buddhist council. In addition, the program will take full advantage of its location outside of the ancient cultural treasure house of Benares to visit Hindu temples, and Indian museums, attend classical Indian music concerts and participate in other educational and cultural opportunities.

More About the Five College Tibetan Studies in India Program

More About the Five College Buddhist Studies Certificate Program

Buddhism expert Jay Garfield and local Tibetan Association President Thondup Tsering answer questions about the May 9 visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Pioneer Valley

About the Visit



Reading List

Five College Tibetan Studies

Tibetan Studies

Planning Committee


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