English Translation Institutions
Nitartha Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies was established in 1996 under the guidance of the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche to provide a classical study and training program in the Kagyu monastic college tradition specifically for Western students.
The course texts and commentaries are translated by the Nitartha Translation Network. Initially, courses are taught twice from the traditional root texts and commentaries in Tibetan by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche or an acharya, then taught in English by Western faculty members. Thus, while the material is rooted in the shedra (monastic college) tradition, it is made accessible to Westerners using appropriate Western pedagogy.
Tsadra Foundation Grantee from 2003 until 2010. For more on the Institute, please see the Buddhist Higher Education section of the website.
Nitartha Institute’s completed projects as a Tsadra Foundation Grantee
• The Karmapa’s Middle Way: Feast for the Fortunate, Chandrakirti, commentary by the Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje (trans. Tyler Dewar). Snow Lion Publications, Nitartha Institute Series
• Nitartha Institute Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced Curriculum textbooks
• Classifications of Mind, Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche (trans. Karl Brunnhölzl), commentary by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche (ed. Scott Wellenbach)
• The Practice of Analytical Meditation, Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen (ed. Carmen Rumbaut)
• Ocean of Texts on Reasoning, the Seventh Karmapa Chödrak Gyatso (trans. Tyler Dewar)
Tyler Dewar joined Nitartha Institute as a faculty member in 2000 translating for the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, and for Acharya Sherab Gyaltsen Negi and Acharya Tashi Wangchuk when they began teaching at the Institute. Tyler has regularly translated for such courses as Collected Topics, Abhidharma, Mind Only and Madhyamaka.
Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen completed his education at Karma Shri Nalanda Institute where he excelled in his studies under some of the greatest living masters in the Kagyü lineage. Currently, he is Chancellor and Head of Study for Nitartha Institute, emphatically maintains that he is not a translator. “Sometimes,” however, “I say to myself that I am the machine of the translators; all the translators can use me as a machine for whatever they want to do.” And he’s rather playful, enjoying the process of encouraging new translators or new practitioners, “because … I can play with their minds pretty well.” Acharya and the new translators and practitioners can “brainstorm” together.
Such expert translating facilitation dovetails nicely with Lama Tenpa’s motivational view that Buddhist practitioners can make a powerful, long-term connection with the Dharma through translated books, whereas oral teachings, inspiring though they may be, can often prove ephemeral. “It is very helpful to have a book to read,” especially “when you understand that this book is Buddha,” that great realized masters can, in a sense, emanate through their written teachings. “Translation is actually a way to increase the Buddha’s emanations.”
Through rigorous practice and accessible translations, Acharya Lama Tenpa aspires that Western Buddhists not simply adapt the Dharma to Western culture (“go to the bar and smoke cigars”), but skillfully transform the Eastern Buddhist foundation into an authentic “new Buddhist culture” for the West.
English Translation Program