The Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989) was a great Tibetan Buddhist master and teacher, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest living exemplars of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of meditative contemplation. He established many Dharma and retreat centers in the West, and he was a teacher for some of the most famous and esteemed Dharma teachers alive today. He had this to say about Tibetan language study.
Generally speaking, learning Tibetan is not mandatory for practicing the Dharma well, but in order to engage in deep commitment to Dharma…knowledge of Tibetan is extremely important because it allows us to understand the practice texts and the traditional Tibetan commentaries… In order for Dharma to be properly understood in the West, there must be Westerners who are willing to master the Tibetan… Once the totality of Dharma is adequately translated into Western terminology, there will be no need for Tibetan. But for now, anyone wishing to study the Dharma deeply… will reap great benefit from the study of Tibetan. If you study regularly, a little bit every day, you will quickly become knowledgeable.
Luminous Mind: The Way of the Buddha
By Kalu Rinpoche
Tibetan Language Institute PO Box 2037 Hamilton, Montana 59840 USA 406.961.5131
Executive Director: David Curtis