Lishu Institute is the fulfillment of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s vision of providing a retreat center and study program for western students to do long-term, in-depth study and practice of the Bön teachings. It took some time, effort and research for Rinpoche’s aspiration to manifest and in January 2009 Lishu Institute became the owner of land in Kotra Kalyanpur outside of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India. This significant step was possible due to the devotion and involvement of Geshe Thupten G. Negi, a Tibetan-Indian and a Bön Geshe. Because he is an Indian citizen he is entitled to purchase land in India and he did so on behalf of Lishu Institute.
Since that time the first building on the Lishu campus has been completed and will provide classrooms and housing for Lishu Institute’s teachers and students. Ongoing improvements are being made to this beautiful four-story building as we design and equip the kitchen, increase the water supply and prepare for the teachers and students to live, study and practice in this gorgeous and spacious setting.
The Lishu curriculum is being developed by Professor Kurt Kuetzer of the University of California at Berkeley and will be based on the three main Bön texts. The program will offer in-depth training to western students in these three areas; The Nine Ways of Bön, the Ma Gyud and the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud. As well, there will be courses of instruction in the Tibetan language. Lishu students are expected to be proficient in the English language since the teachings will be presented in English.
Lishu Institute’s mission is to provide training to serious practitioners, future leaders and teachers to preserve and propagate the Bön tradition in the West. This unique educational program will be offered in three ways. A student may attend all three years to complete the three courses on site, at Lishu Institute in India or a student may attend remotely, online, or a student may combine these approaches and attend some of the training in India and some of it elsewhere.
In order to provide the best possible instruction, we are recruiting the most qualified lamas and they will teach the texts in the traditional manner with a line-by-line explanation of the meaning as is done in the monasteries. The teachers will speak in Tibetan and an English translation will be provided of both the oral explanation and the original Tibetan texts. This will support the daily study of the Tibetan language and provide the most thorough form of instruction. We plan to video record all of the teachings and these recordings will be the core of the Lishu curriculum. There will also be a well-qualified teacher on site who will lead discussions, answer questions, demonstrate methods and rituals and lead practice sessions. Each day will include instructions on the texts, meditation practice, Tibetan language instruction and time for individual reading and study.
An international team is developing these plans with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. We still have much to do and we would very much appreciate your input on how to best structure our programs. We have put together a survey to help us understand the interests and needs of those who may consider attending programs at Lishu Institute or participating in our online programs. If you are interested in participating, please complete our survey at http://lishu.questionpro.com
Please visit www.lishu.org for news from Lishu Institute.
— Bob Anger and John Jackson