This is the first of three terms in Elementary Pali. This first course will introduce you to Pali, the language of the earliest canonical collection of Buddhist scriptures as preserved in the Theravada tradition. Our focus will be quickly developing your ability to read Buddhist sutta literature in the original language.
Learning Pali is a perfect way to introduce oneself to or deepen your study of Buddhism. Pali is the language of the only complete collection of Buddhist teachings preserved in an ancient Indian language. By learning Pali, we plunge into the ocean of the teachings of the Buddha in their original (or almost original) language. We enter the colorful literary landscape of ancient India. Whether one is a Buddhist practitioner or not, any serious student of Buddhism will inevitably encounter references to the Early Teachings, mostly preserved in Pali.
Even at a foundation level, learning Pali opens a gateway to a deeper understanding of this ancient body of wisdom. It will also be a rewarding experience for anyone interested in Asian art and culture in general, and more specifically in Indian art, culture, and history.
The course will provide students with all necessary materials, although we may also recommend additional materials for students to purchase if they desire.
PALI 101 | Elementary Pali I (May 5 - July 28, 2023)
PALI 102 | Elementary Pali II (Sep 15 - Dec 8, 2023)
PALI 103 | Elementary Pali III (Jan 5 - March 29, 2024)
Two 90-minute live lessons will be held per week on Zoom.
- Mondays 10-11:30am and Wednesdays 12-1:30pm Pacific Time
- All live sessions will take place via Zoom and will be recorded for later viewing.
Live sessions will address all student questions, go over exercises and readings together, as well as personalize the learning experience with your instructor.
Weekly written homework, quizzes to test yourself, as well as a mid-term and a final.
The grading will be such that anyone who puts a regular solid effort into the weekly homework will pass; those aiming for a B or an A will also need to perform accordingly on the two exams.
Students Will Receive:
- 12 Pre-recorded lectures released weekly
- 24 Zoom live class sessions + recordings (90 min)
- 5 BSACP Credits
- Up to 36 Hours of CE credit with YA
- Yogic Studies Certificate upon completion (PDF)
- Access to the private Community Forum
Dr. Aleix Ruiz-Falqués
Head of the Department of Pali and Languages at the Shan State Buddhist University, Khyentse Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Buddhist Studies, and Lecturer of Pali at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Aleix Ruiz-Falqués teaches graduate courses in Pali language and literature in Taunggyi, Myanmar. Aleix completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2016, under the supervision of Prof. Eivind Kahrs. His research focuses on traditional grammar and scholasticism in Pali, particularly in Myanmar. More broadly, he is interested in ancient Indian literature (kāvya) and philosophy or knowledge systems (śāstra).
After completing his PhD in 2015, Aleix worked for two years on Pali manuscripts in Thailand, and he spent one year doing independent research in India. In 2018, he moved to the Shan State in Myanmar, where his long-term project is to teach and learn the Pali and Burmese languages and literature in a traditional monastic setting. One of his long-term goals is to reveal and demystify the treasures of the Pali medieval tradition that explain how we still possess the ancient words of the Buddha today.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the PALI 101 course. Dr. Aleix Ruiz-Falqués was a wonderful instructor, very encouraging and helpful. He kept things really interesting and engaging. He was humble and kind, and I appreciated his teaching style."
— PALI 101 Student
"Dr. Aleix Ruiz-Falqués is a knowledgeable and patient teacher of Pali. He understands the problems that new learners of the language face, and he also responds with interesting and relevant information that answers the questions of learners who have a bit more background either in Sanskrit or other Indic languages. The live classes offer plenty of opportunity for students to ask questions and for texts to be examined carefully. They are also fun! More than other online courses, I felt that the instructor generated a real sense of community among the students."
— Meg Gawler, Dharma teacher, Lagorce, France
"I tried for years to learn Pali by reading books; I made little progress. But Pali 101 with Dr. Ruiz-Falqués has been a great experience. His materials and lectures introduced the grammar slowly and clearly. His kind and easy nature encouraged and motivated me even when I was struggling. He added a great deal of interesting information regarding Buddhist history and philosophy. And ultimately, the course has given me enough knowledge of the Pali language to enjoy more deeply the Pali chanting that I do in my Buddhist practice. Sometimes it was hard, but I have to admit that it was the suffering that led out of suffering rather than the suffering that led to more suffering."
— Sherie Lindamood, Guang Ming Temple, Central Florida USA
"A rare opportunity to study Pali with a very learned and personable teacher who was kind and understanding with his students from around the world."
— PALI 101 Student
"Dr. Ruiz-Falqués is a wonderful professor and human being - very inclusive and balanced in his approach to complex and sometimes controversial topics. He is encouraging and motivational, and his passion is contagious. He demonstrates intellectual and cultural humility in the best of ways. He also did a remarkable job holding a class container with a very eclectic group of people. And his knowledge and skill in Pali itself is clearly of the highest order."
— Dharmacharini Upayadhi, New York City USA
Enrollment is closed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any prerequisites to enroll?
What if I can't attend the Live Sessions? Are they recorded?
Do I have to take all three PALI courses?
Is there a required textbook? Can I use a different book?
What does online Pali learning look like?
Will I have to learn a new script to study Pali?
Are these PALI courses included in the YS Membership Program?
Is there a certificate I can receive for the course?
Have further questions?
This course is eligible for 36 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance
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