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Tibetan Buddhism


Admission requirements



Tibetan Buddhism, both in its historical past and in the present, may seem to us as distant as almost anything we are ever likely to study, or as close as the neighborhood dharma group. Our semester of study will deal with its history of more than a thousand years, both in its mundane aspects (such as monastic structure, the place of Tibetan culture between the great civilizations of India and China, historical tensions between Church and State) and its philosophy and practice, how Tibetan thinkers approach the nature of the mind, how to develop the individual, and what it means to be human. This course also provides an excellent opportunity to approach basic human questions of an entirely general type, such as questions about the dynamic tension between the religious and the secular, spiritual concerns and political concerns, and about how issues of authority are mediated in societies.

Course objectives

Gaining an understanding of the basics of the history, philosophy and art and material culture of Tibetan Buddhism.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance is not obligatory for lectures, but during this lecture ample participation in the discussions is expected from the students. The conveners do not need to be informed in case of missed classes. Information and knowledge provided in the lectures greatly contribute to the subsequent courses of the programme and their contents will be part of the examination. In order to pass the course, students are strongly advised to attend all sessions.

Assessment method


  • Weekly summaries of the reading materials and participation in discussion

  • Mid-term exam

  • Final exam


  • Weekly summaries of the reading materials and participation in discussion: 10% of grade

  • Mid-term exam: 40% of grade

  • Final exam: 50% of grade

The mid-term exam will ask students to reflect on questions provided in advance; three questions will be provided, of which students will write ultimately on one (picked by the instructor). The final exam follows the same format, but with five questions provided, of which students will write on three.


In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of “5.50” (=6) or higher. There is no ‘resit’ possible for the weekly summaries/participation portion of the grade, or the mid-term. A resit of the final exam (50%) may be taken.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.

Exam review

If a student requests in writing a review of his/her examination answer script within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

To be announced.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Studeren à la carte



For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar. * For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).