Instructor: Craig Preston is an internationally known teacher of Classical Tibetan and author of three books. Educated at the University of Virginia under the renowned scholar Jeffrey Hopkins, Preston has taught Classical Tibetan for twenty years. He taught Classical Tibetan and Buddhist Philosophy at the University of Buffalo and is currently working on the UMA Five-Year Translation Project under a grant from the Ing Foundation. Preston has published two textbooks, How to Read Classical Tibetan, Vols. I and II, and co-authored Buddhist Philosophy: Losang Gonchok’s Short Commentary to Jamyang Shayba’s Root Text on Tenents with Daniel Cozort.

Books by Craig Preston:

Buddhist Philosophy: Losang Gonchok's Short Commentary to Jamyang Shayba's Root Text on Tenets, With Daniel Cozort  (Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications).

How to Read
Classical Tibetan:
Volume One:
A Summary of
the General Path

(Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications).

How to Read Classical Tibetan, Volume Two:
Buddhist Tenets

(Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications).

Housing Assistance:

Click here for general information on the Portland area, and please contact Maitripa for assistance in locating housing if you are traveling to the area for the summer by email at:

2011 Classical Tibetan Summer Intensive Class at Maitripa College

Maitripa College Classical Tibetan students participate in the “Opening of the Kangyur” – a reading from each of the Buddhist sutras in the corpus of teachings called the “Kangyur”. Maitripa Monlam (Great Prayer Festival)


Past Students in the Classical Tibetan Language Summer Intensive have said:

Craig is an amazing teacher and I am quite grateful for the opportunity to study Tibetan with him. I was impressed by Craig’s knowledge of both the philosophical underpinnings and grammatical structure of the works we studied. If you are interested in learning how to translate Classical Tibetan in a precise fashion, this is the place to be! – Michael, MA student

Craig is a dedicated and wonderful teacher. – Karl Nhambu Berg, MA in Buddhist Studies, Maitripa College

Craig Preston greatly advanced my skills and is an excellent  teacher. I sincerely recommend the course to anyone who wishes to learn to read Tibetan Buddhist texts. For those from out of town, I can moreover recommend Portland as a great city to spend the summer. – Jens, PhD student from Norway

I had never studied Tibetan [but] after eight weeks I was able to read in Tibetan, use Wylie, understand more Buddhist philosophy, and even do some debate in Tibetan. I was amazed and delighted. Now when I go to a teaching I can pick out some of what the lama is saying, which is so much fun. I can't think of a better way I could have started learning the language. – Rachel Bird, continuing education student

June 3, 2013 - August 15, 2013


SUMMER COURSE REGISTRATION OPTIONS are designed for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Courses may be taken consecutively or stand alone. Please see the course descriptions, credit options, tuition, and other details below. 

APPLICATION. Applicants for the summer intensive are admitted on a rolling basis. Class size will typically be capped at 15 students. Apply early to guarantee a spot. Late applicants will be considered as space allows or placed on a wait-list.


To discuss your prior experience, placement options, or academic credit needs, please contact us at or 503-235-2477.

Click on the "Apply Now" button below to apply & register through a simple, online form. You will be given the option to make your deposit payment online or by check.

Your application is not confirmed until your deposit is received in the Maitripa College office (see amounts for the different deposit options listed with course descriptions below).

The Classical Tibetan Language Summer Intensive at Maitripa College with Craig Preston is an opportunity for any student to cover First Year Classical Tibetan in six weeks, and for intermediate and advanced students to review and further their training in grammar and translation methodology.

This complete presentation from the alphabet to the translation of texts is an excellent foundation for students applying to or entering MA or Ph.D. programs in Buddhist Studies as well as a rare opportunity for students seeking knowledge of Classical Tibetan for their personal study and practice.

NEW IN 2013! Introduction to Speaking, Reading and Writing Tibetan Language will offer an introduction to the Tibetan alphabet, reading and writing, and beginning grammar and translation skills, for those interested in Tibetan culture and Buddhism.

This is a non-credit, Continuing Education offering of Maitripa College, and is strongly recommended for Summer Intensive students without prior Tibetan language study. Pre-registration requested, no application required. Instructor: Maitripa College faculty and staff

Course Payment
As described above, a deposit is required upon registration to hold your space (see deposit amounts below for various registration options). The deposit is credited towards tuition balance upon acceptance and admission, when students will be invoiced for their remaining tuition. Payment is due in full by the first day of class. To request a payment plan, please contact

Tuition can be paid online (CLICK HERE) or by check or money order to:
Maitripa College | 1119 SE Market Street| Portland, OR 97214

Refund/Drop Policy
Before May 20: Deposit and tuition fully refundable
May 20 – June 17: Tuition 75% refundable
From June 17 forward: No refunds

Partial-tuition scholarships are not yet confirmed for the 2013 Summer Intensive. Please check back or contact

NOTE: Scholarships are available for full-time current or incoming Maitripa degree students only. We do not have scholarships or work study for continuing education students at this time.


Introduction to Speaking, Reading and Writing Tibetan Language
(Non-credit only)
Instructors: TBD
Tuition: $120
Deposit Upon Registration: $20

Dates: June 3, 5, 10, 12

Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays, 7 – 9 pm

This course will offer an introduction to the Tibetan language for anyone wishing to learn about the language of millions of Himalayan peoples and in which Tibetan Buddhism preserves, elaborates, and transmits Buddhist philosophy and practice.

The first week will introduce the alphabet, reading and writing in the U-Chen script, Lhasa pronunciation, transliteration, and beginning colloquial conversation.

The second week introduces particles and grammatical structures found in Classical Tibetan through a group translation of a basic Buddhist prayer such as the Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

TIB110: Classical Tibetan Language: Grammar and Translation Methodology
with Craig Preston
(6 credits)
Tuition:  $2,004 (credit); $1500 (non-credit)
Deposit Upon Registration: $250

Dates: June 17 – August 2

(No class Thursday, July 4, make-up class scheduled for Wednesday July 3; No classes July 15 – 19.)

Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 10:00 am – 12 pm and 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This course covers the grammar and methodology components of first year Classical Tibetan in a very intensive six weeks. It is designed for students who want a systematic presentation or review of grammar and academic translation methodology.

The course starts with the alphabet and pronunciation, then rapidly moves on to words and particles. Next comes learning the patterns within syllables, words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. The course then introduces the grammar of Classical Tibetan as found in Indian treatises translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan and in indigenous Tibetan philosophical works. The second phase of the course introduces academic methodologies for preparing translations of Tibetan Buddhist philosophical works.

The course will draw from Joe Wilson’sTranslating Buddhism from Tibetan, Tibetan philosophic text(s) and commentaries in the original language, and supplemental materials prepared by Craig Preston.

TIB310r: Topics in Translation: Genre and Methodology
with Craig Preston
(2 credits)
Tuition: $668 (credit); $500 (non-credit)
Deposit Upon Registration: $100

Dates: August 5 - 16

Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 10:00 am – 12 pm and 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This two week intermediate / advanced course explores genres of Tibetan Buddhist scholastic literature through readings from Collected Topics manuals (bsdus grva) and/or Tenets manuals (grub mtha’). Texts may include The Magical Key to the Path of Reasoning (rigs lam ‘phrul gyi sde mig) by Pur-bu-jok Jam-ba-gya-tso (phur bu lcog byams ba rgya mtsho, 1825-1901) or Presentation of Tenets (grub mtha’i rnam gzhag) by Jay-dzün Chö-gyi-gyel-tsen (rje btsun chos kyi rgyal mtshan,1469-1546). We will also locate the authors’ philosophical allegiances within the larger scope of Tibetan philosophical thought.

Prerequisites: A minimum of one year of Classical Tibetan or permission of the instructor.

Additional (restricted) courses
(please contact the office to confirm eligibility& to register for these courses)

TIB103: Introduction to Classical Tibetan Language
(3 credits)

Tuition: $1002 (credit); $750 (non-credit)

June 17 – July 5

This course is for the student who wishes to commit to the intensive model of study and has never studied Classical Tibetan, or who wishes a review from the beginning, but can only enroll for three weeks/ one semester equivalent.

The course covers first semester Classical Tibetan and starts with the alphabet and pronunciation, then rapidly moves on to words and particles. Next comes learning the patterns within syllables, words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. Finally you will start to learn the grammar of Classical Tibetan as found in Indian treatises translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan and in indigenous Tibetan philosophical works.

Prerequisite: None, but some familiarization with the Tibetan alphabet would be helpful.

TIB203r: Classical Tibetan Grammar and Academic Translation Methodology
(4 credits)

Tuition: $1,336 (credit); $1000 (non-credit)

July 1 – August 2

Prerequisite: This unit is available only for students who have had prior Tibetan language study with Craig Preston and who wish to review and deepen their understanding of Tibetan grammar.


Maitripa College | 1119 SE Market Street | Portland, Oregon USA 97214 | phone: 503-235-2477 | email: | fax: 503-231-6408