Tuesday, October 18, 2016

From a wannabe RYI alumnus - How ‘bout that?!

Where to start?

Why can’t you make a dead man eat?
I am not asking a question, definitely not, you are the one who is failing to answer it.
Because the consciousness has gone out of it, isn’t it?

So much to say.
*eating chocolate*
The subjective experience of the consciousness has nothing to do with the objective reality of the body.
But consciousness is free from any causal transactions of [what to write?] very successful merchant group... or something like that... we have to find a word.
Consciousness has nothing to do with donations for earthquake relief.
The body is the result of consciousness’ power of manifesting a place where it can stay.

So where is this consciousness going, out from what?

But I wanted to write something more…
This explanation? Who cares? Who needs it?

Still the emptiness shies at the one who realizes her essential beauty.
Beyond being moody of being empty?
what is beauty?
where does it come from?
why do we feel it?
why do we hear it?
why do we smell it?
What is its role and relationship with consciousness?
How beauty connotes
miraculously all the purities
that consciousness ever desires
to abide within!

Now I’m becoming poetic.

Beauty is love’s only confidant who builds a bridge not seen by anyone
this subjective mind and its objective body.

Union is the ultimate addiction.
Enlightenment is ultimate union,
like the deepest dream.

And Krishna says: I am everything that you desire. ?

Now, Who rants?

Being in something comfortable is also consciousness’ ploy. But this feeling of comfort is beauty’s property.
So again we come back to beauty.

Where consciousness is going after dying is a living man’s suffering.
Who cares!?

Consciousness is so subjective that it produces objectivity like the sun’s gravity producing light.

The sun is so fxxxxx up it has caught fire.
Now, don’t write that. It has to be rephrased in a nice way.

Consciousness is subjectivity.

Still… talking about consciousness.
But how can something be said about that, which is devised to photograph itself through itself? You feeling yet, anything beautiful about that?
Never mind.

“But if you in your pain you call birth as an affliction and the support of the flesh as a curse written upon your brow.
Then I answer: that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.”- Kahlil Gibran 

~Sagnik from India

Thursday, October 13, 2016

One traditional way of memorizing

Since I started studying buddhist texts in a more thorough and general way I’ve been curious about the traditional methods of learning and pedagogics used by monastics, and the efficacy of them.

Certain practices from a modern outsider’s perspective may seem overly traditional, dated and possibly useless, or at least not the most sensible way of doing things. But I have a strong suspicion that the methods used has stood the test of time because of their efficacy, not in spite of a lack of it, so I’m happy to try them out and investigate how they work for me.

I asked one of the khenpos of Ka-Nying monastery how the monks go about memorizing texts. I got the advice below, and I’ve tried to apply to the best of my ability. And I find that it’s fun and works well.

If you ask around, you may find that different people have different techniques.

Some preparation

To be better able to remember a stanza, and the connection between lines and stanzas, first make sure you understand the meaning to some degree, and extract and associate a few keywords that capture its meaning.

Pick a suitable number of stanzas for memorization, somewhere between one and five four-line stanzas may be a good place to start. It seems like the more verses you memorize in the same chunk, the better the long term retention is. But it takes more time to get it all committed to memory. You will find that it’s easier and goes faster to memorize just a single verse in a night, but long term retention may suffer. Experiment with the numbers to find what’s suitable to your capacity and schedule.


The faster you can read, the better and more you can memorize. But be careful and meticulous, and increase speed only when you can do it without causing mistakes.

To be able to read faster, try to look ahead. So while reading one word out loud, try to keep your eyes on the next few words - the further you can look ahead, the better.

And don’t be shy! By reading out loud, and clearly moving your lips and tongue, you will activate your muscles in the mouth and also hear what you read, and thereby create better circumstances for remembering

While reading the last syllable of a line, stress it while you are looking ahead to the first syllables of the following line. This will help to create a supportive mental link in those places where you otherwise might easily forget the following line due to it being less strongly connected to the flow of the words of the previous line.

Evening time

In the evening, before bed time, read your selection of stanzas out loud approximately 100 times.

While reading, don’t work on trying to memorize the stanzas in a conscious way. Just read. Read fast, and read many times. Apply the techniques mentioned above.

In my experience, remembering comes gradually and spontaneously, and you will find that before reaching a hundred repetitions you more or less remember the stanzas, with maybe a few places causing some struggle. When this happens, you may want to apply some memory technique as a bridge to that particular passage so that you manage to remember what doesn’t come spontaneously after what you just read.

In the morning

When you wake up in the morning, again try to read your selection of stanzas from memory, and look at the text when necessary.
By now you will more or less effortlessly have committed your selection of stanzas to memory.

Once you can remember your stanzas with some ease, you can just recite them from memory while walking around.


In some of our khenpo classes at RYI we need to memorize stanzas, and for the quizzes you might need to write the stanzas. In that case need to adjust the process a bit to account for learning how to spell all words properly (in Tibetan), or remembering the correct punctuation (in English). I’ve found that just adding a few rounds of writing the stanzas after having prepared as above works fine for me.

Final words

At a recent lunch with Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche at Ka-Nying monastery, he mentioned the benefits of having a text memorized, for instance the one thousand stanzas of the Bodhicaryavatara. With a text like this committed to memory, one is always prepared to read it to oneself for inspiration, or use it as a basis for teaching others. By learning 3 stanzas or so every day, the entire book would be memorized in a year. If this inspires you, and you decide to do it, please let me know how it goes.

~Peter from Sweden

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What I want and what I need

In Bodhicharyavatara, Śāntideva mentions:

Since I and other beings both,
In wanting happiness, are equal and alike,
In fleeing suffering, are equal and alike,

However, not knowing the causes of happiness and of suffering, all the sentient beings are wandering in Samsara since the beginningless time.

I am not different either. I am one of them seeking happiness.

During this journey towards what I want, I forgot to ask myself if what I want is what I actually need. I engaged in whatever activities craving for what I want. I found happiness in serving others but forgetting that even suffering does exist, I suffered and I did not know why.

After all, what I need is the happiness that lasted forever. Not knowing what brings about such happiness, I was lost.

What brings about that happiness then? Practicing DHARMA.

What is DHARMA then?

During an annual retreat for the locals in Pharping, His Holiness Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche gave the much needed answer to that question.

Dharma is taming one’s mind and happiness is serving all the sentient beings until Buddhahood. 

The moment those precious words were bestowed by Rinpoche-la; I realized, well, this is what I want and this is exactly what I need.
Rinpoche-la also mentioned about RYI located right at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery providing Buddhist Studies to lay people. There, one can learn to train the mind to tame the mind into its purest form – the precious Buddha nature.
I gathered courage and went to Rinpoche-la with the sincere wish to study in RYI. The joy in Rinpoche-la’s face to see a local youth wanting to study Dharma radiated throughout the retreat hall. That joy touched me from inside, brought me immense happiness and encouragement to study the genuine Dharma.
These days, I feel blessed and extremely fortunate at RYI doing Buddhist Studies with the blend of academic systems and the monastic settings. Taking a step towards what I want and what I need.

~ Laxmi from Nepal

35th Traditional Annual Seminar at Rangjung Yeshe Institute

As it is already tradition in Kathmandu, in November of 2015, at Rangjung Yeshe Institute,  happened the 35th  Annual Seminar, which's subject was “The Path to Enlightenment”.  During 12 days many activities were guided  by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche and  Phakchok Rinpoche. Several teachings, practices and some empowerments were held. It was a time full of joy and great interest for everyone.

The students of RYI were present in all activities and many students of the Rinpoches joined from different parts of the world, as they do every year. Some local Tibetan and Nepali practitioners also were present during the seminar and others came only to pay respect and devotion to their masters. 
The institute and the Rinpoches created a real familiar and enjoyable environment. We had not only moments of practices and teachings, but also time to do any questions that could be important to us and even join lunch together sometimes when Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche invited us.  
We had special schedule in RYI during the seminar and the Institute sponsored us, covering the seminar fee. This way we were able to attend the teachings and empowerments and keep some regular classes. Everything passed in a really organized and harmonic way.

These days were a great opportunity to integrate the academic approach in which we are being instructed in RYI with the realization of the masters.  The masters transmitted their natural view and realization about different aspects of the path in the Tibetan Buddhism; the understanding and view that arise through their profound realization, as result of the many years of study, contemplation and meditation.

I was really moved to listen to many senior students exposing how important these teachings  and practices were to them as they had the opportunity to breakthrough all the conceptual understandings. Thus, these were very precious days. Under the guidance of these realized masters we could go into more  subtle aspects of the understanding and training, creating a really balanced education that is taught at the RYI.

~ Ani Choedzin from Brazil

Friday, August 19, 2016

“With your laughter the whole samsara collapses. With your laughter illusion falls apart.”

This is the chorus of a song that was composed by two special friends, in honor of my first Buddhist master (Lama Padma Samten, the first lama that received ordination by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche in Brazil).

I can say to you all that I have this good fortune to meet many masters endowed with a great power:  the ability of completely to break our rigidity and fear by their compassionate laughter.  The great ability and wisdom to show us that the liberation of the pain and sorrow will not happen by the hardness in our eyes or cold smile.

from left to right: Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo; Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche; Gyalwang Dukpa; Lama Padma Samten and H.H. the Dalai Lama

Usually they are masters with great and daring aspirations. They have strong and inspiring presence. They take care us with profound loving-kindness and compassion. And when it is necessary, they also manifest through firm words that put our motivation in the right direction.    

Here in RYI is not being different. The presence and guidance of Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche is very expressive. He also have this powerful laughter, that dissolves any appearance of solidity that we impute to everything around us.

Usually, just to stay close to these master or even keep them in our mind and heart already bestows many blessings. Through their compassionate presence and bright example, they nourish and irrigate the seeds of virtues that, for many lives, are waiting to be awakened.

Their wise words and delightful smile touches our hearts deeply. Because we know that they direct their love for all living beings without distinction, through their “magic dance of doing good in every way that is possible.”

Thus, I rejoice for all the masters who have shown me the path and inspire me to follow it.

~ Jigme from Brazil


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Namo Buddha

Namo Buddha, one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sides in Nepal, was blessed by the Buddha out of his limitless compassion and generosity for sentient beings.  
Since then the place has become a sanctuary for pilgrims. It is the greatest source of direct blessing from the Buddha, and the 'classroom' where still anyone can learn the prowess of the Buddha in the course of saving countless ignorant beings from suffering. 

Just visiting the cave where the Buddha performed the greatest act of human generosity the area, one is enfolded by the compassion of the Buddha. Spending a few days there, one is removed from afflictive state and levitated in the sphere of blithe. Under the great bless and vision of a Tibetan Bodhisattva, the place’s sanctifying potency has been enhanced, the actual words of the Buddha in thousands volumes are studied with the inspiration that had been planted there by the Buddha. 
The learning center, with such a magnificent temple surrounded by many large structures steep near the peak of the steep mountain symbolizes the ever-inspiring story of the land. 

A week long stay there made me very fortunate to see the show of Buddhas and their embodiments’ dharma activity, and also taste the serenity of mind that is Buddha’s essence. I was infused with a great hope for following generations through seeing the generosity of elder monks and masses of cute and innocent little monks.

 Thus, we are not at all hopeless. We are always protected by the entourages of Buddhas, the deity and dakinis. We are nourished by the compassion of Buddhas and served by the Bodhisattva.   

~Champa from Tibet

Friday, July 22, 2016



‘’Mero gau maa jaane ho?’’ 
The only question I have been asked more times than this is whether my hair is real or not. 
‘’Will you visit my village?’’ everyone asks after a short conversation and getting to know each other. 

Having grown up in Nairobi, the capital city of my country, I had become accustomed to people having rather condescending views of the more rural areas. I and a lot of my friends viewed them as boring places where life was generally harder and, as such, most of my generation born and raised in Nairobi would not enjoy trips to the villages where our respective tribes are concentrated. 

Here in Nepal though, I have encountered that more often than not, people take pride in their homelands and villages, regardless of how simple or humble a background they may come from. It’s quite a refreshing experience to say the least. It makes me wonder how people from the rural areas that have moved to Nairobi feel about their villages. It’s something I had never given thought to before, I only knew how I saw it. 

Though I haven’t yet been able to take anyone up on their offer (mostly due to time constraints), I do intend on doing so one of these days. The scenery in some of these villages that I have been able to witness in pictures and during some of my travels outside of Kathmandu are much too alluring to miss out on. And while my experiences may not accurately represent the situation for the majority in either country, it has still been a rather enlightening experience to encounter attitudes like these.

~ Wesley from Kenia