Nisheeta Jagtiani received a Khyentse Foundation scholarship in 2008, which was renewed in 2009. Nisheeeta is studying Tibetan language and pursuing Buddhist studies at the College of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, Dharamsala. Her goal is to teach Buddhist studies at the university level in India. Here is her report on her progress until December 2008.
Two things inspire me the most; first, being able to understand the Dalai Lama when he teaches in Tibetan. Second, noticing the amount of progress achieved due to working hard.
I feel extremely fortunate to have received this scholarship by Khyentse Foundation in order to study Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan is very sacred. It was created for the purpose of establishing a complete and thorough system of Buddhist education in Tibet, just as Sanskrit was the language of Dharma in India.
Being an Indian, I feel even more enthusiastic and thrilled to study this language because the Tibetans have been able to preserve a very rich tradition that we Indians have unfortunately lost. I rejoice at the efforts made by the exiled Tibetan community in India. They have worked and continue to work very hard to preserve the Buddha Dharma.
Each semester at Sarah College has been quite significant for me. In 2008, I focused mainly on reading Tibetan. I picked up books by the Dalai Lama, pechas [Tibetan books], and with the help of a dictionary, tried to read them all the time. After five months of working on this, I was able to read Tibetan Buddhist texts quite well. I was fortunate to attend His Holiness’s teachings Dharamsala from August to October of 2008 and at Sarnath in January of 2009 where I was able to understand his teachings without a translator for the first time.
I have used the funds allocated to me for my tuition and living expenses at Sarah, library fees, Internet, books, and travel. In one and a half years of being in Dharamsala I have made a good amount of progress in my studies. I have realized that studying the teachings of the Buddha is not like getting a MBA, which can be finished off in two years. It takes one quite a few years to know anything. I will continue to work hard on my studies so that I can share with others this knowledge of the Buddha’s words and hope that they can be benefit from it.
As for my study plans, I am researching for my masters degree which I hope to submit by Nov 2009. This way I can start my PhD by 2010. When I asked Khyentse Rinpoche about staying longer at Sarah, he said that he felt Sarah is good. At Sarah I can continue with my Tibetan language studies, tuition and living expenses are reasonably priced, and most importantly, the atmosphere here is very conducive to study.
Finally, I’d like to express immense gratitude to my Guru Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.