Anyone know of any methods of learning languages within a Buddhist setting? Like learning to read and listen to Dhamma talks and suttas or learning conversation with dialogues of a Buddhist nature.

I mean, for example, languages like Thai, Tibetan, Chinese, Burmese, Vietnamese, Sinhalese, English, Spanish and German. Actually, I mean any language that could be in a Buddhist setting.

Maybe a method of learning both a language and beginning Buddhism , meditation at the same time. Maybe Pali and/or Sanskrit too, that would be teaching three birds with one teaching.

5 Answers 5


You can take one of the Pariyatti-Patipatti courses at Vipassana Research Institute (VRI). You can contact them for more longer and intensive courses done in partnership with universities. Some additional contact details are available in: Pali Study Program.


If your language list includes Pali, I recommend the Pali Online School by the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies (there are on-site courses there, too), plus other resources listed this answer to 'A good source to learn the Pali language?'.

For learning Chinese, you may want to check out the Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program.

Tibetan Language Institute offers various courses and resources for learning Tibetan.

Many monasteries and Buddhist centres around the world need volunteers. This can be a way to learn the local language and learn something about Buddhism. Just google volunteer Buddhist.

Meditation courses in the Goenka tradition are available in many countries and are usually held in English and in the local language at the same time. Instructions are given in both languages, and you can choose in which language you want to listen to Dhamma talks, so if it may be helpful for learning. However, I don't think you can learn the language this way if you are a complete beginner. It should work well if you already know the language at, say, intermediate level and want to improve your spoken comprehension skills. You may also listen to the Dhamma talks in English first time you take the course, and in another language next time.


You can follow a degree course at the Buddhist & Pali University of Sri Lanka


The best way I know to learn Tibetan is attending the 4 years Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Programme. Once you completed this training, you commit to translate any FPMT Study Program for at least 2 years, but if you are good at translating (interpreting, actually) you can make it a job for the rest of your life.

Another school is Esukhia but it is less Dharma oriented. Since it does not come with a commitment, you are free to roam when your studies are done. I know of people who went there (monks and lay people as well), and one of them (a monk) joined the greatest Gelug monastic university afterwards (Sera). Now, he learns Dharma by way of debating in Tibetan hours every day (this is the Gelug way of learning Dharma) and attending a few hours of class.


When I was growing up in Laos, they were teaching in the Buddhist temple. Not sure if monk in foreign country knows how to read Pali.

  • Many western monks know how to read Pali. If east and west strived to understand each other there would be that much more Metta and wisdom in the world. I didn't even realize what my own culture was like until I studied another culture.
    – Lowbrow
    Apr 9, 2017 at 18:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .