Resources for Tibetan & Himalayan Studies at CU Boulder and through Local Partners

Center for Asian Studies at CU Boulder

The Center for Asian Studies (CAS) is an important resource on the CU Boulder campus for supporting Asia-related research and curriculum development, hosting Asia-related events and guest speakers, and providing student support for language study, study abroad, and internship opportunities. CAS currently supports THI through an Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages (UISFL) grant from the US Department of Education. As part of this grant, CAS offers scholarship support for Tibetan and Nepali summer language study, and supports Directed Independent Language Study in Tibetan and Nepali through the Anderson Language and Technology Center (ALTEC).

Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Group

The Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Group (THSG) is an interdisciplinary cohort that brings together students and faculty from CU Boulder, as well as nearby institutions, including Naropa University, University of Denver, and Colorado State University. An inter-disciplinary community comprising members of the departments of Geography, Anthropology, Religious Studies, Musicology, Sociology, Linguistics, and more, the group exists to both broaden and deepen engagement with Tibet and the Himalayas. On the basis of regular bi-weekly meetings, THSG members provide peer-review on papers, research proposals, conference presentations, and literature reviews, generating a critical and inclusive community that continues to expand the presence of Tibet and the Himalaya at CU Boulder and along Colorado's Front Range.

Directed Independent Lanuage Study in Tibetan and Nepali

CU Boulder offers Directed Independent Language Study (DILS) in Tibetan and Nepali in collaboration the Anderson Language Technology Center (ALTEC). Since 2010, we have run seven semester-long instances of DILS Tibetan, and in 2014 we began offering DILS Nepali. Since DILS Tibetan functions like a one-room schoolhouse with students at different aptitudes in Tibetan language, we initiated a new pedagogy called "Tibetan Storytime." This pedagogy seeks to integrate reading, listening, and speaking abilities and involves instructor Lhoppon Rechung reading short texts of diverse literary genres aloud and then explaining them in colloquial Tibetan, followed by a dialogue on the topic. These recordings are featured at

Consortium Agreement with Naropa University

CU Boulder and Naropa University are collaborating by sharing resources for language study, guest speakers, and library materials. Under a Consortium Agreement between the two univeristies, students at CU Boulder frequently take classical Tibetan and Sanskrit language classes at Naropa University, and Naropa students are eligible to take Chinese, Japenese, Hindi or other Asian languages at CU Boulder and are also welcome to join the DILS Tibetan class at no cost. In terms of guest speakers, we are in our third year of collaborating on a Chögyam Trunpga Lecture Series in Buddhist Studies. Our speakers so far have included Janet Gyatso from Harvard University, John Makransky from Boston College, and José Cabezön from UC Santa Barbara. In additiion, CU Boulder and Naropa have a substantial colleciton of Tibetan texts in their respective libraries, available for consultation by faculty and students of both institutions.

Tsadra Research Center in Boulder

The Tsadra Foundation recently opened a Resarch Center in Boulder, which houses an array of Tibetan texts and regularly hosts Tibet-related events. These events include their Salon Tibétain series featuring visiting guest speakers and Tibetan translation workshops with Tsadra Fellows who also serve as Naropa faculty, Sarah Harding and Lama Tenpa. The Center for Asian Studies at CU Boulder acted as a Partner in the Tsadra "Translation and Transmission" conference that gathered together more than 200 scholars and translators for keynotes, panels and workshops in Keystone, CO on October 2-5, 2014. Currently, the Tibet Himalaya Initiative is partnering with the Tsadra Foundation to help bring the next translation conference to Boulder in 2017. The Tsadra Foundation helped to support a small translation conference at CU Boulder in April 2013 and generously donated a sizeable collection of Tibetan texts to the CU Libraries.

Bernier Archive Project at the VRC

Professor Bernier (1943-2012) was a historian of Asian art who specialized in Himalyan architecture and taught for the Art and Art History Department at CU Boulder for 35 years. During that time he traveled all over Asia and beyond, documenting his journeys through beautiful photographs. The collection, which was gifted to the Visual Resources Center (VRC) on campus in 2012, comprises 30,000 slides, with a particular strength in the cultures of Nepal, Tibet, India, and Southeast Asia. This pilot project will digitize and catalog a subset of 500 images that highlights the extraordinary depth and breadth of Dr. Bernier’s archive. Read more about the Ronald M. Bernier slide digitization project.

Collection of Tibetan Texts in CU Libraries

The CU Boulder Library has a complete collection of the recent critical edition of the Tibetan Buddhist canon, published in Beijing by the China Tibetology Publishing House. There are two major collections: the Kangyur (Buddhist scriptures translated from Sanskrit) in 106 hardbound volumes and Tengyur (Buddhist commentaries translated from Sanskrit) in 112 hardbound volumes. They take up an impressive two full shelves (top to bottom) in Norlin in the BQ aisle if you ever want to visit and consult them.

We have a number of other notable collections of Tibetan texts and journals:

  • A Collection of Tibetan Historical and Biographical Works (Bod kyi lo rgyus rnam thar phyogs bsgrigs) in 29 volumes
  • The Collected Nyingma Tantras (Snga 'gyur rgyud 'bum phyogs bsgrigs) in 57 volumes, an important extra-canonical collection
  • Collected Commentaries on the Kālacakra Tantra (Dus 'khor 'grel mchan phyogs bsgrigs) in 7 volumes
  • Collected Works of numerous Buddhist masters, amplified by our subscription to the Core Text Collections 1 & 2 of the TBRC
  • Contemporary Tibetan literary and research journals including: Light Rain, Popular Arts, and China Tibetology.

A donation by the Tsadra Foundation in Fall 2014 significantly expanded both the breadth and depth of these holdings to include an impressive range of collected works by Buddhist luminaries in the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, significant historical and biographical materials, selected works on epistemology and other philosophical domains, and woodblock carvings of The Treasury of Knowledge, an important artifact in the study of the production of Tibetan texts.

In addition, the CU Boulder Library has also subscribed to 2 of 8 "Core Text Collections" of the Tibetan Buddhist Resources Center, the largest digital library of Tibetan literature based in Cambridge, MA