Pali Level 1

Would you like to read and understand the Pāli canon for yourself? Do you want to be able to check translations instead of blindly relying on them? Did you ever ask yourself: “Is that really what the Buddha and his disciples teach in the Pāli canon?”

This course is the first step to your mastery of Pāli! It contains 24 lessons, each with one lecture, several exercises and further materials such as factsheets and vocabulary lists. All this enables you to learn whenever and wherever you want, fitting the learning into your individual schedule.

The course is cumulative, meaning that the lessons build upon each other but you are free to navigate through the course as you like. You can skip all exercises and just do the lessons if you want. You can view Lecture 1, then jump to Lesson 17, then do the exercise of Lesson 3 – whichever way you want to do it. However, a completion rate of 75% for all exercises of the entire course is necessary if you want to receive a certificate. Don’t worry: you have an unlimited number of attempts for all the exercises.

Access to a Pāli dictionary is necessary for going through the exercises – luckily, one of the best complete dictionaries is available for free online, as a searchable database: The Pāli Text Society’s Pāli English Dictionary

A few facts about the course:

Content: 24 Lectures, amounting to 3.5 hours + 24 Factsheets + 13 Vocabulary Lists + many Exercises
Duration: 4-5 weeks based on 3-4 hours of self-study per week
Difficulty: Absolute Beginner (no previous knowledge required)

Note that once bought, your access to the course does not expire. When we update the course – for example by adding material or exercises – you will automatically have access to the new version.

This course is the first Level of our 3-Level Pāli instruction. Levels 2 and 3 can be found in the catalogue.

Learning Objectives for Pāli Level 1:

• You will learn about the early history of Pāli, including the reasons why Pāli can be considered to be the language of the Buddha
• You will develop proficiency in the Pāli alphabet and sound system: you will learn how to read and pronounce Pāli correctly
• You will build up a foundational level of Pāli vocabulary
• Nouns: you will become adept in the system of nominal inflection
• Verbs: you will receive a comprehensive overview of the Pāli verbal system, and gain an advanced knowledge of present tense conjugations
• Pronouns: you will learn how to use the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person pronouns
• You will learn how the principle of concord works: how nouns/pronouns, adjectives and verbs connect to create meaning
• You will be introduced to difficult aspects of Pāli syntax, including various uses of the verb to be: the copula, its omission, apposition, statements of possession etc.
• You will be able to form and translate complex Pāli sentences
• You will understand the grammar of two important Pāli chants: homage to the Buddha, and going for refuge

Take this Course

18 thoughts on “Pali Level 1”

  1. I am around the half waymark now and enjoying your Pali course. To receive a certificate, do you mean to say that one should manage 100% on 75% of the exercises or something else? I haven’t had access to all the diacritics and I’ve misspelled the occasional English word, but for the most part, after having produced a slew of Flashcards and gone over some lessons a few times, I’m catching on. It’s a great course. I intend to complete the three levels, albeit perhaps more slowly than you envision. It’s adding a whole new dimension to dhamma study. With metta, Michael

    • Thank you very much, Michael. We are glad to hear you enjoy the course. To get the certificate, you need to pass all exercises with at least 75% correct answers.

      No worries, you can take all the time you want and need. We tried to create the course in a way so that everybody can learn in her/his own pace. That is also why your course access will not expire.

      Please be aware that we would very much appreciate a review of the course, if you want to write one.

      • Sir, you have taken a lots of efforts to design this course. This is very useful to understand the basic grammer easily. I am fortunate to be a part of this course. This is really great experience for me. Thank You So Much Sir…Thanks a Lot.

  2. It is a great course and enjoyed it very much. I had little knowledge of Pāli. Doing this course helped me to understand the grammar bit more.
    Hope to register for level 2.

  3. Wonderfully clear and organized course. I appreciated the lesson size and video length allowing each module to be completed in an hour or so (depending on degree of difficulty). This lessened any feeling of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of learning a new language. In addition, I was grateful for the multiple learning methodologies used such as video, written resources and exercises. An enhancement to the course might be some sort of vocab memorization tool such as flashcard ‘game’ or ‘app’. I particularly enjoyed taking the live Level 1 option, as I was working through the online course, it was immeasurably helpful in solidifying my understanding.

  4. Thanks you, sir, you have taken very much hard work, and I am glad to learn ocbs course, it is very good teaching and understand the tapes …of Pali …
    Thanks a lot..

  5. Thank you so much Sir for your great efforts to design this course.It is very useful to enhance the Pali Grammar and vocabulary.I’m feeling fortunate to have this.I would like to learn more. It is
    the excellent way to learn.Thank you Sir.

  6. It’s matter of pride to be a part of Oxford University through Mumbai University for OCBS Level 1 Course. Hope this course will certainly enhance my knowledge in the path of moving on Nibbanic peace journey to a great extent.

    Thanks to MU associates for all the support and guidance rendered so far and in the coming days…

  7. Thank you respected to all teachers to giving me this great opportunity of online course from Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. It is really, very easy practice to understand the Palī grammar with vocabulary.
    Thank You Once Again Mumbai University ..

Leave a Comment