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Foundation for Universal Responsibility

of His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Abridged Programme Brochure

An initiative to provide an insight into Tibetan culture and ancient Buddhist traditions of Tibet for university students FUR Š


"To meet the challenges of our times, I believe that humanity must develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for our own individual self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind. Today we are so interdependent, so closely interconnected with each other, that without a sense of universal responsibility, a feeling of universal brotherhood and sisterhood, and an understanding and belief that we really are a part of one big human family, we cannot hope to overcome the dangers to our very existence – let alone bring about peace and happiness." - His Holiness The Dalai Lama




Programme Overview


Programme Highlights


Pictorial Journey


About the Foundation


Join Us


Write to us

This brochure will give you just the main highlights of the Gurukul Programme. We would be happy to hear from you, should you wish to know more about the programme. Please do email us at by mentioning ‘gurukul’ in the subject line.


Programme overview

In keeping with the rich Indian tradition of Gurukul, this project aims to enrich formal education processes by facilitating inspirational contact with masters of different spiritual traditions, particularly Tibetan Buddhism. The participants, mainly university students, live in Tibetan monasteries and nunneries where they learn about Tibetan culture, art and philosophy. Participants have privileged access to teachers of ancient Buddhist traditions of Tibet. By observing the teachers’ way of life at close quarters, students envision new definitions of success, achievement and fulfillment. Gurukul has been held annually for a month in Dharamsala, the home of HH the Dalai Lama and the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration. Here, participants receive an extended introduction to Tibetan culture and religion by actively engaging in daily activities of Tibetan life in the monasteries and nunneries, and with communities in exile. They have the privilege of an audience with His Holiness. Through discourses, lectures, films and other learning media, Gurukul participants gain insights into the innovative ways in which a community in exile copes with displacement and strives to keep its traditions alive. Gurukul participants will:         

Stay in Monasteries and Nunneries Interact with Buddhist Masters and Tibetan Scholars Experience Traditional Dialectic Debates and Spiritual Chanting Attend a Course in Buddhist Philosophy Special course in Understanding Modern Science and Ancient Buddhist Philosophy Special Lectures with Eminent Scholars Learn Tibetan Arts And Crafts Experience Tibetan Music and Dance Engage with Local Community with various Voluntary Activities

Students also have the opportunity to give something back to the community. They are encouraged to teach English to monks, nuns and refugees from Tibet, and volunteer with service and welfare projects.


Programme HIGHLIGHTS INTRODUCTORY TOUR: Upon reaching Dharamsala, first few days will be dedicated to introductory and explanatory tour of the place. Participants will be introduced various organisations and personalities which will prepare the base for the Gurukul Programme. One of the largest concentrations of Tibetans in exile and home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for more than five decades, the introductory tour will help participants understand the significance and symbolism of vibrant thriving culture in exile.

TWO SPECIAL COURSES: Participants will have the opportunity to attend two special course specially tailored to the Gurukul participants. Learning under one of the most prestigious and renowned figures in Tibetan community, participants will enjoy the vibrant discussions and insights. Buddhist Philosophy Course: The Role of Mind in the Pursuit of Happiness Mind Science: Inner Eastern Science of Mind and Reality Meets Modern Science Unity in Duality ÂŽ

SPECIAL LECTURES: Living in Dharamsala in the Tibetan community for a month will also provide the participants to interact with various organisations and individuals. Special lectures will be requested by the Foundation and coordinated by the participants themselves. This will enlighten participants to various issues related to life in exile, education, governance, human rights, conflict resolutions, religion, achievements, failures and successes.

OPPORTUNITIES After the introductory tour of Dharamsala, participants will opt for centres and activities of their choice as per the centers’ schedule, such as thangka painting, woodcarving, statue making, wood painting, Tibetan music and dance and volunteering in various Tibetan organisations. Each participant will enroll in these activities after discussions with the group and in consultation with the concerned centres. Participants can choose more than one activity and maintain the timetable once chosen. Apart from the above-mentioned activities, the special classes and lectures mentioned above are mandatory, based on which certificates will be issued at the end of the programme.


Pictorial Journey

AUDIENCE WITH HH THE DALAI LAMA Each year participants of Gurukul are welcomed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Dharamsala. The interaction includes discussion on issues that young people and the present generation are grappling with. Emphasis is given to moral and ethical conduct in everyday life for improving society and world at large. Centuries old Tibet and India relations are highlighted.



Pictorial Journey

AUDIENCE WITH HH THE KARMAPA His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogen Trinley Dorjee, is very enthusiastic about meeting young people. Each year the Gurukul participants meet with him and discuss issues Tibet is facing and the struggle of Tibetan people. His Holiness is also very keen on issues and activities related to environmental protection. During the annual audience for Gurukul, he motivates the group to increase awareness about environmental issues in their respective colleges and homes. The group also discusses various aspects of Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy. 7

Pictorial Journey

MEETING WITH DR. LOBSANG SANGAY Since April 2011, Gurukul participants have also had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Central Tibetan Administration in Exile. The group seeks his insights into various issues facing Tibetan community in exile especially in the fields of education and professional development. During their stay in Dharamsala, the group is encouraged to meet with officials from various departments and to explore opportunities for collaborations. 8

Pictorial Journey

LEARNING TIBETAN TRADITIONAL ARTS AND CRAFTS In collaboration with Norbulingka Institute and Thangde Gatsel Institute, the Gurukul group is introduced to Tibetan School of Thangka painting, wood carving, statue making etc. Norbulingka Institute provides the perfect platform to experience and gain understanding about the history of these arts and their practice in exile. The Institute offers courses for young Tibetans in these fields. Thangdel Gatsel Institute, founded by an ex-gurukul participant, provides an intensive course that introduces the group to Thangka painting. 9

During their one month stay in Dharamsala, each participant has the freedom to choose a field and receive intensive training from an experienced artist who uses traditional system of practice. The participants have various fields like painting, woodcarving among others, to choose from.

Pictorial Journey



Pictorial Journey

SOUNDS OF TIBETAN TRADITIONAL MUSIC AND OPERA Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established in exile as soon as Tibetans came into India. Under the leadership of senior masters, Tibetan young people are given the chance to preserve and appreciate their rich ancient tradition of music and opera. Gurukul participants experience and live the ancient heritage of Tibet by sitting in and auditing some of these courses during the stay. 11

Pictorial PictorialJourney Journey

DIALOGUE WITH VARIOUS TIBETAN ORGANISAIONS Dharamsala is the center for many organizations, such as Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, Tibetan Centre for Conflict Resolution, Tibetan Women’s Association, Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for Free Tibet and many departments of Central Tibetan Administration. Special lectures are arranged to learn more about each organization and build common platforms to support each other’s work.


Pictorial Journey

SPECIAL COURSES IN BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY & MODERN MIND SCEINCE Two special courses are conducted as part of the Gurukul programme. ‘A Role of Mind in Pursuit of Happiness’ is conducted by Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. ‘Mind Science: Unity in Duality’ course is dedicated to dialogue between modern science and Buddhist philosophy supported by Tarab Ling Institute. The courses last for a month and are coupled with group discussions with senior teachers. Participants are also encouraged to have evening consultations and debate with monks and nuns of their respective monasteries where they stay. 13

Pictorial Journey

ENGAGING WITH THE HOST COMMUNITY Part of the programme is to interact and learn about the host community. In this regard, many organizations extend a warm welcome to participants of the Gurukul. Participants have the freedom to choose and plan their visits and contribute their knowledge and expertise in whatever manner they can. Opportunities range from career counseling, teaching, volunteering and community support. 14

Pictorial Journey

GURUKUL – LIVING AND LEARNING IN NUNNERIES AND MONSTREIES In keeping with the rich Indian tradition of Gurukul, this programme aims to enrich formal education processes by facilitating inspirational contact with masters of different spiritual traditions, particularly Tibetan Buddhism. The participants live in Tibetan monasteries and nunneries where they learn about Tibetan culture, art and philosophy under the able guidance of experienced masters. 15

Pictorial Journey

NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT One of the aspects of the programme is to understand and appreciate nature through nature walks and re-education on environmental issues through various initiatives. Participants can enjoy the guided walks through the woods and also go for hiking in the nearby hills. In collaboration with Tibetan Settlement Office Dharamsala, they are also introduced to various programmes including various recycling projects, initiated to preserve the local environment. 16

About the Foundation "This Foundation will implement projects to benefit people everywhere, focusing especially on assisting nonviolent methods, on improving communications between religion and science, on securing human rights and democratic freedoms, and on conserving and restoring our precious Mother Earth." – His Holiness The Dalai Lama


Foster the celebration of diversity, the spirit of universal responsibility and the understanding of interdependence across faiths, creeds and religions.

Support personal transformation in ways that facilitate larger processes of social change.

Develop and sustain peace building and coexistence initiatives in regions of violent conflict and social unrest.

Encourage and cultivate Ahimsa (nonviolence) as a guiding principle for interaction among human beings and with their environments.

Offer inclusive and holistic paradigms of education that prioritize experiential learning, cross-cultural dialogue, and a global ethic of peace and justice.

Build capacity for conflict transformation, human rights and democratic freedom through partnerships with civil society groups across the globe.

Explore new frontiers on understanding of the mind by building bridges between science and spirituality.

Support the professional development of future leaders and decision-makers through scholarships and fellowships.

Create media products and educational materials that promote the objectives of the Foundation.

Nurture an understanding of the relevance and value of Tibetan civilisational heritage to contemporary issues and predicaments. 17

About the Foundation MISSION 

To promote universal responsibility in a manner that respects difference and encourages a diversity of beliefs, practices and approaches.


To build a global ethic of nonviolence, coexistence, gender equity and peace by facilitating secular processes that cultivate personal and social ethical values.


To enrich educational paradigms that tap the transformative potential of the human mind.

The Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness The Dalai Lama is a not for profit, nonsectarian, non-denominational organisation established with the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to His Holiness in 1989. In the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, the Foundation brings together men and women of different faiths, professions and nationalities, through a range of initiatives and mutually sustaining collaborations.


Join us ONLINE RESOURCE Website Email Alerts Sign up by sending an email at Facebook Twitter

SUPPORT US! The Foundation works with a modest corpus. There are no charges or tickets for our events. DONATIONS are welcome to meet expenses towards organizing secular events like this one. These are tax exempt under Sec 80G in India. Contributions are accepted preferably by cheque or draft payable to: ‘Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH The Dalai Lama’ and send to: Core 4A, UGF, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi – 110003, India For other modes of payments, please visit,


Should you have any queries regarding the Gurukul Programme, or would like to participate in future, we will be glad to hear from you.

WRITE TO US! Gurukul Programme Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness The Dalai Lama Core 4A, UGF, India Habitat Center Lodi Road, New Delhi – 110003 Tel: (91) (11) 24648450, Fax: (91) (11) 24648451 I


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Gurukul brochure 2014