Expanding Wisdom and Compassion
Through Study and Contemplation
About the UMA Institute for Tibetan Studies
About the Work of the Institute
The UMA Institute for Tibetan Studies was founded in Charlottesville, Virginia (USA) to support long-term translation of texts and oral teachings from Tibetan Buddhist traditions; conduct seminars, classes, and retreats on focal topics of Tibetan Buddhism and instruction in the literary and colloquial aspects of the Tibetan language; and maintain and develop multimedia sites and archives as research and instructional resources accessible across the Worldwide Web.
UMA stands for "Union of the Modern and the Ancient" and also means "Middle Way" in Tibetan. Founded by Jeffrey Hopkins, renowned scholar and human-rights activist, the UMA Institute is unique in that most of our translators have worked together for decades. More importantly, all share a consistent vocabulary and produce translations in a uniform style.
Three Great Indian Books
UMA’s current project focuses on Tibetan expositions of Three Great Indian Books, together with a related theme of the Mind of Clear Light. The Three Great Indian books are essential Buddhist texts that even today form the basis of philosophical study in Tibetan Monastic Colleges. They are Maitreya’s Ornament for the Clear Realizations, Chandrakīrti’s Supplement to (Nāgārjuna’s) “Treatise on the Middle,” and Dharmakīrti’s Commentary on (Dignāga’s) “Compilation of Valid Cognition.”
“There are two main types of meditation -- stabilizing and analytical. Both are necessary for the complete development of the mind. Stabilizing meditation is the cultivation of calm abiding (śamatha), and analytical meditation is the cultivation of special insight (vipaśyanā). Stabilizing meditation - the focusing of the mind on a single object - is what people commonly think of as meditation, but analytical meditation is less well known ... and involves following a specific line of thought without any obvious formal reasoning.”
“The four reliances are employed to guide the process of differentiating between interpretable and definitive teachings and interpretable and definitive phenomena. They are indispensable advice for those in search of the final view of reality.”