a book of art teaching the Tibetan language
Jason Mendes
Princeville, Hawaii
United States
1 Team Member

A book promoting and helping to preserve Tibetan culture by teaching the Tibetan language through relevant art

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“The need for manuals of [Tibetan] language instruction has … become all the more urgent” — བོད་ཀྱི་སྤྱི་སྐད་སློབ་དེབ། Manual of Standard Tibetan

“The Tibetan people will remain alive as distinct from other nationals as long as the Tibetan language exists.”  — Samdhong Rinpoche


བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས་ Tashi Delek! I am a linguist and an artist working to promote Tibetan culture by making the language more accessible to a wider range of people. When a language lives, a culture lives.


Language, Tibetan in particular, is not inherently difficult to learn, but the way one learns and the tools one uses are important to how one succeeds.

This book is in response to my own journey learning the language and the resources that I have come across. There is a need for more manuals of language instruction and the manuals need to present the information in an easily understood way.

I am working on a new book teaching the Tibetan language that presents the language through the medium of art that makes understanding flow more easily.

In this small way, I am working to promote and preserve the Tibetan culture. For I am deeply grateful for Tibet and all that its people have given to humanity.  

This fundraising campaign will cover all of supplies needed to complete the book and to print the book itself. I have already completed much of the outlines and sketches for the pages, and then the process of painting and computer editing comes, for which I need more paint, canvases, and computer power to complete.

Most importantly, the cost to print the book! I intend for the book to be printed on recycled paper in Dharamsala by a Tibetan printer.

Please read on for a more detailed look at the book, why I am writing it, and why it is unique.

prayer flag

My name is Jason and I have for most of my life been fascinated by the study of language. I have to varying degrees studied more languages than I can count on my fingers and toes, but no language has thus far on my journey captivated me as the Tibetan language has. It is my intention with this work to make it simpler and more expedient to learn this precious gem.

By making it simpler and easier for a greater amount of people to learn, the Tibetan language is encouraged to grow. The more people that can read and speak the language, the more the culture and its wisdom live. The more a language lives, the more a culture lives.


The modern Indian mystic Acharya Rajneesh said, "Nowhere has such concentrated effort been made to discover man's being." The Dalai Lama has also expressed concern over the declining use of the language. This is why I feel that the Tibetan language matters, as the indispensible key to its cultural wisdom, and why it thus is important for there to be more accessible learning resources for a wide range of demographics. And that is what I am creating.


I intend to accomplish this in three ways: powerful use of art, color, pattern and sacred geometrical design (mandalas) and composition for the physical layout of each page, thus making the information more readily absorbed; secondly, I will assume no prior linguistic knowledge and yet the book will remain comprehensive and authoritive on pronunciation, phonology, and so on.

Lastly, the book will be unique in that you will start reading Tibetan from the very first page. In fact, I am sure that you already speak a lot more Tibetan than you might believe! You probably know words like Lama, Rinpoche,  Pema or the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, and this book will show you how to begin directly reading, speaking and writing these words in the Tibetan (u-chen) script.

I have a unique vision and style of presentation that synthesizes and presents information in a way that can greatly aid others on their paths herewith.


Most importantly, I see this through the use of art--moving beyond black on white text in forgettable square data tables. I can see that others, as I have, could learn much more easily if this information is encoded into color and form.

What I Need and What You Receive


I am asking for money to fund the time intensive process of writing, painting, designing, editing, and producing the book. Based off of my sketches and outlines thus far, a great amount of the pages will be hand designed and painted, then digitized and completed on the computer. There will be at least thirty unique paintings I will do for the book focusing on Tibetan letters, mantras, and vocabulary.

All of the donations generated here will fund the cost of materials--such as paints, brushes, canvases--and the cost to print the book.

Please look to the right of the page for an overview of all that you receive for your donations.

The Impact

By supporting this work, you are directly supporting the preservation of an incredibly powerful culture. This will be an amazingly unique book and tool, and I am sincerely excited about its potential to help people study the Tibetan language and to promote the language overall, showing the world its importance.

more prayer flags

Other Ways You Can Help

I also need help by sharing this campaign. Please share it with anyone you know who has an interest in promoting and the preserving Tibetan language or culture. Even if you already speak Tibetan, or even if you don't have an interest in the language, I encourage you to donate and share the message of this project with others.

Thank you. I am deeply grateful to you for your help in allowing me to serve humanity in this way. May you all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.


Find This Campaign On
raised in 1 month
4% funded
No time left
$12,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on May 12, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    ༄༅། Thank you card

    Receive a handmade thank you card in Tibetan. All amounts will help contribute to make this project a success! You are like the wind waiving the prayer flag.

    0 claimed
  • $12USD
    ༄༅། E-book

    You will receive the book in digital format of your choice (pdf, epub for android/apple, or mobi for kindle). The book will be forever DRM free, which means you can copy, distribute, and use it as you wish.

    0 claimed
  • $37USD
    ༄༅། The book

    You get the physical book! You will also receive the e-book in the format of your choice

    3 claimed
  • $52USD
    ༄༅། Poster

    As well as the book and the e-book, you will also receive a silk-screen printed poster of your choice of one of the paintings from the book

    0 claimed
  • $135USD
    ༄༅། Mani Stone

    I also work in clay, and specifically harvest and refine by hand my own clay from the hillsides. With this I will make a stone with the syllable ཨོཾ (OM) inscribed in it. You will receive one Mani Stone, as well as the e-book, the poster, and the printed book

    1 claimed
  • $500USD
    ༄༅། Original

    Receive one of the original paintings on mounted canvas that will be featured in the book, as well as the e-book, the alphabet poster, the physical book and a Mani stone.

    0 claimed
  • $900USD
    ༄༅། Mantra Painting

    You will receive an original painting of a mantra of your choice, as well as the e-book, the printed book, the alphabet poster, the Mani stone, AND one of the original paintings featured in the book

    0 claimed
  • $1,200USD
    ༄༅། Artist's final draft

    Just one available! When the book is completed, in addition to all of the above, you will also receive the final draft of the book: handmade pages, sketches, paintings, and notes of the author/artist--collected into a handmade one of a kind exclusive copy of the book. Signed by the artist/author.

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    ༄༅། Snow Lion

    You uphold the seat upon which this book rests, ensuring that it becomes truly great. In addition to all of the above, you receive an exclusive full page in the book to create as you choose. Common ideas would be organizations and charities that wish to advertise. We will work together to ensure a cohesive and integrated result with the book overall is achieved.

    0 claimed
  • $12,000USD
    ༄༅། Chenrezig

    Through your incredible compassion, the book is instantly transformed from just an idea to the physical plane. You receive all of the above--the e-book, a copy of the physical book, a screen printed poster, a Mani stone, an original painting from the book, a custom mantra painting, a full page space to create in the book, and three additional pages in the book, and a two week Tibetan language intensive with the author in Dharamsala. We will coordinate the travel dates together for our schedules.

    0 claimed
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