Grandeur of Tibetan Monastic Training and Some Reflections

I have lived in Nepal for almost one year and I feel extremely fortunate to study Tibetan language at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute (RYI). RYI, being the Buddhist Studies center of the Kathmandu University, is a very unusual kind of an institution considering the Western notions of academic colleges and universities. The most noteworthy feature of RYI is its location in the environment of the Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling monastery. While RYI is based on a modern academic curriculum taught by professors trained in Asian, American and European universities, its neighboring shedra (the monastic school) has monks studying in the intensive Tibetan methods of education. In addition to experiencing the vibrant daily activities at the monastery, I also consider it a privilege to attend classes taught by the Lopons and Khenpos from the Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling monastery. I have had many interesting experiences while studying at RYI, staying at International Buddhist Academy, and being in the sacred city …

The Blessed Rice in Nepal

Nowadays, people always talk about eating healthy. Therefore, black rice is well-known as the food which has the highest levels of antioxidants. The well-known black rice such as Indonesian black rice and Thai Jasmine black rice are made in those maritime countries. However, there are few people knowing that there is also black rice in Nepal and this kind of black rice had been blessed by the God of kindness—Bungadyah.

The history of the black rice in Nepal started from the invasion by a King of Palpa called Mukunda Sen. At the beginning of the invasion, Mukunda ordered his soldiers to dig many trenches and hide all the rice which was harvested from all fields in Nepal. Mukunda was trying to create a starvation in the city. When he attacked the city of Lalitpur, the people in Lalitpur took the image of Bungadyah around the city. The priests performed a ritual bath to the image and asked for protection from the invasion and the starvation. When people realized that Mukunda came to attac…

Becoming a Bodhisattva

It was the craziest, the scariest… It was the smartest step I’ve ever taken, buying myself that ticket to Kathmandu. Let me first say, I do not think a life in Nepal is for everyone. But when reflecting on the more than a year I’ve spent here I’m overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for what I’ve experienced so far, and also a trust that there is more to come. In my first year at the Shedra I had the great fortune of studying Śāntideva’s, “The Way of the Bodhisattva” – the title says it all. In his text, the first century Buddhist master expounds on the meaning of becoming a bodhisattva and I’d like to share a few thoughts on why the bodhisattva path is just as relevant and perhaps even more challenging within the capitalist societies of today's world.
Entering the bodhisattva path is a willingness to transform into a super-human. According to the tradition, bodhisattvas are “…heroic, indefatigable beings…who generate the supreme thought of enlightenment and who strive in the practic…

Staying Healthy: The Need for Unified Prajñā and Upāya

Staying Healthy: The Need for Unified Prajñā and Upāya

When I first arrived to Nepal that fateful rainy eve some 4 1/2 years ago, the very first thing I did was brush my teeth using tap-water. The second thing I did was suffer 24 hours of excruciating diarrhea, vomiting, and high fever alone in my cold hotel room. Needless to say, it is a difficult task to stay healthy here in Kathmandu and even more so for the uneducated, naïve individual who arrogantly disregards the many wise bits of advice that can be found within the RYI Student Guidebook. During the course of my studies at RYI I’ve become ill many times, but the worst instance by far was a chronic Giardia infection (known as Giardiasis) that lasted for almost two continuous years. 

Initial symptoms of Giardia include uncontrollable diarrhea, extreme bloating, burping/gas that smell like sulfur/eggs, possible vomiting, yellow fatty discharge in stool, dehydration, loss of strength etc. Left untreated, these symptoms typ…

A Path Uncharted

As I come to the end of my studies, I find myself more and more worried regarding the direction my path in life shall take in the years to come. My circumstances don’t seem to reflect the circumstances of those around me much, so in many ways I’m forced to play it by ear. “What shall I do?” “How shall I do it?” “Does a viable career path really exist in my future?” “How shall I be able to lay the bricks down upon the path I wish to walk?” A siege of questions such as these have taken it upon themselves to be my tormentors, and without a valid response to offer them, I find myself taking solace in the faith that allowed me to make it this far to begin with.
For when I set out upon this strangest of journeys four years back, I knew even less about how I was going to end up at my destination. Yet I believed so strongly, so strongly that I would still make it nonetheless. It seems that back then the heavens were delighted in my resolve and sought to dance to the tune of my desires. Perhaps…

The Right Way to Seek Happiness

I came to wherever I am for the purpose of solving a problem. This might be same for all of you with many different colors, languages, status, and beliefs. Such a problem surely exists not only in human beings like me but also in all conscious, wishful, and desirous beings. To put it very simply this business of solving a problem is to increase the happiness by reducing the unhappiness I experience throughout a day, month, and year. If there is one entity about, which I can claim a true existence about it, it will be the wish that I have for the increment of happiness. Even sublime beings as Bodhisattvas do not want other beings suffer, which actually indicates they wish for the increment of happiness of all beings. So I truly believe such a wish is truly there both in my microcosm and macrocosm.
Unfortunately, in the process of seeking the happiness I wish for, I conversely experience so much unhappiness endlessly without control and will. Having been asking myself why such a strategy…

Studying in Rangjung Yeshe Institute is a special

It’s been few years studying in Rangjung Yeshe Institute as a B.A. Student. When I first joined the institute I did not have much knowledge about Buddhism even though I came from a family with Buddhist background. After joining RYI, for the first time in my life, I felt like I am studying something that might truly benefit me. I realized that here, I am not studying about external, material things but rather something deeper about our own being, the very nature of our own mind. And the reason I think it is beneficial is because studying Buddhism has helped me to deal with emotions which otherwise leads us to suffering. Nevertheless, I also feel very blessed joining RYI since I get an opportunity to study Buddhism more deeply through which my perception towards myself has become clearer and my faith towards triple gems become much stronger than before. Besides studying, I also love food at the RYI restaurant. The staffs at RYI restaurant serves delicious and variety of vegetarian food …