The Tibetan cultural identity expresses itself in a variety of ways, including music, dance, literature and art, science, philosophy, medicine, astrology and spiritual practice. All are characterized by the development of basic human values, such as love, compassion and non-violence. Nowadays Tibetan culture is very much endangered; it is therefore fundamental to preserve this culture in all its aspects for future generations.
The mind is at the very centre of the Tibetan tradition of spirituality. According to the principles of Tibetan Buddhism, the root of happiness and peace is within our very own mind. This means that we are responsible for our own happiness and wellbeing. In order to reach true balance of mind, we need to befriend our mind through the practice of meditation.
Basing themselves on the spiritual principles of Buddhism, the Tibetans were able to develop fundamental human values and to take these as pillars for their organizations. Nowadays their culture is famously characterized by love, compassion and peace, yet it is also very concrete and practical. The Tibetans managed to create stable value-based organizations with highly result-oriented structures.
The Tibetan healthcare system is based on a holistic view of the body and mind, envisioning them as a single whole. According to this system, the state of our mind is a crucial factor in the health of our body. Relaxing the mind and discovering inner peace has a direct influence on our physical wellbeing.
Over the centuries, art, music and dance have been for many Tibetans a much beloved way of expressing their spiritual and cultural identity. Religious dance, liturgical art, thangkas, as well as heart touching love songs are poignant examples of this rich artistic heritage.
The Tibetan language is a key to access Tibetan culture and to understand Buddhist philosophy as it has been preserved and transmitted in Tibet. In this regard, the whole spectrum of Buddhist teachings has been preserved in the diverse canons of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tibetan alphabet (modelled on the Indian Gupta alphabet) and the grammar of classical Tibetan were elaborated by Thonmi Sambhota in the 7th century. Regular classes in classical Tibetan are held at the centre.
Tibetology is the scientific study of everything pertaining to Tibet. This discipline has made enormous contributions to our understanding of Tibetan culture, history and religion. However, often the results of this research are confined to a rather small circle of specialists. We seek to present certain aspects of this tibetological research to a wider audience through regular lectures on selected themes of interest.
Depending on one’s vantage point, Buddhism can be described as a philosophy, a religion or a way of life. The Buddha’s teaching offers numerous methods to free the mind from its self-imposed shackles.
Inter-religious dialogue is anchored in a dedicated spiritual discipline, while being open towards other traditions which it seeks to understand in their richness and complexity. This perspective opens up a space of mutual respect and listening, while also allowing for the discovery of unexpected riches within one’s own religion.
Tibetan Buddhist philosophy has a firm tradition of logic, reasoning and fact-finding, which has surprising similarities with the Western scientific approach. This makes a philosophical and scientific exchange both possible and meaningful.