Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sutta Gurumantra

( Self translation from a talk I heard in waking life)

The little boy asked, “Bhagwan, you have initiated us into sanyas but you haven’t given us any mantra. Traditional practitioners come and ask us, “what is your gurumantra?! ” Bhagwan, Why haven’t you given us a gurumantra?

Then Bhagwan said, “Now, little boy, you have to be free of mantras, just as you have to be free of the mind. If there remains no mind then where would you hold your mantra? And you if you could hold your mantra then you also need to keep your mind alive. Sure indeed, I haven’t given you any mantra. Because I don’t want, that your mind survives. I am here to snatch away all your mantras. Already you have too many mantras. Infact, you have a whole compilation of mantras. And that is the whole of your past. Much you have known and much you have gathered knowledge. Someone is Hindu, someone is Muslim, someone is Issaih, someone is Jaina. Someone’s mantra is in quran, someone’s mantra is in Ved. Someone believes this, someone believes that. My only effort is that you get rid of all of your beliefs.

You remain neither as a Hindu, nor a Christian, nor a Muslim. You are attached neither to Ved nor Koran. Your hands become completely empty. Only in these empty hands the ultimate showers. Only in an empty chitta dawns the ultimate. The doors open. You are a temple. Become totally empty and the Lord rushes to you. Give it space. Make the space. Now your house is too stuffed. You have stuffed all kinds of things and you keep on stuffing more. Even if the ultimate dawns it just hovers around as there is no space in you to accommodate it. Even if the rays comes shining down, where is the space inside you? You are filled. Being filled is your only suffering. Become empty. This is your mahamantra, this is your gurumantra. This is why I haven’t given you any mantra, because I don’t want to fill you up more.

Mind is what you need to get free from. But if you are too much in love with the word mantra and being without a mantra makes you uneasy, then just say this, that this is the mantra that you are being given, “the sutta of being free from the mind; the sutta of being (just) the witness.”

Does anything come out of repeating? That you keep on mumbling Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram, and something happens? So many are there to repeat. So many has repeated. They are repeating for ages and it has brought about absolutely nothing. From where you repeat? The act of repeating occurs through the mechanism (yantra) of the mind only. Either if you repeat quickly or if you repeat slowly the mind causes to repeat. In every repetition mind is present. I am saying, just be a witness. All these procedures of the mind, all these ripples of the mind—you just become a witness. Just keep on watching. Among all that you see, don’t choose anything. Somebody is humming a filmy song and you say that he is adhammic !! Somebody is singing a bhajan and you say he is dhammic !!! You must understand they are both in mind; hence they are both adhammic. Being in mind is being in adhamma (devoid of religion). 

Then, just contemplate the third option, that even if the mind is humming filmy song or reciting the buddhacharita you are just a witness. You hear, you see, but you don’t get adjoined with the mind. Your distance, your disconnectedness remains. Whatever is happening is enough. No mantra is needed. Get awakened in this—just be a witness of all. “

~Sagnik from India

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Lucky Me

“School life is a golden life,” I often used to cherish this quote and feel it is so true until I joined the RYI.

The beautiful environment here, students came from almost every corner of the world, Modern students learning from the traditional teacher and exposure to the daily life of Monks in RYI made me rich as a person. Moreover, studying in RYI proved my presupposed notion of college life as boring life infused with boring lecture to be wrong rather it induced me to think out of the box and have broader approach to life.

First and foremost I feel blessed to be at RYI is that I got precious opportunity to study Buddhism under the constant vigilance of Rinpoches and their priceless guidance which I find very rare and I could never trade it for anything else in life. I feel embraced by Rinpoches’ compassion all the time at RYI.

As a student, I got to learn several things in various topics here such as Himalayan Languages, Buddhist Philosophy and its history. I am provided with one of the valuable tool to enhance my skill is writing skill in which I had no knowledge beforehand. Also, constant visit of veteran professors as a guest lecturer and their valuable lecture is another benchmark of RYI in terms of its quality of learning supplement where we get to sharpen our knowledge and get to deal with distinct ideas and thoughts. It really adds the flavor to academia.

RYI student also have the privilege to learn Himalayan languages. I am thoroughly enjoying learning Tibetan language and by now I can understand and also speak correct Tibetan language pretty well. This makes my life more enriching and worthwhile as a follower of Tibetan Buddhism. For which, I am truly thankful to our qualified teacher who succeed to make us learn faster. Moreover, cooperative administrative staff who are always there to assist us in every possible way, and their endeavor to build better RYI is immensely praiseworthy. 

Thus, I am completely blissed-out and lucky to be at RYI and it has given me a chance to sharpen my knowledge in the field of my choice.

~ Choki Gurung from Nepal.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Much more than a mere academic environment

Generally speaking, the academic environment is consider to be a place of competition and incentive for inflated egos. A place where the best ones are persons that, as having a superior status in comparison from others, always keep a distance that shows and reinforce he or she superiority. As result, to the so called lower ones there are only the hope to attain the same status, no matter what is necessary to do.

Fortunately, in diametrical opposition, even the formal aspect of an university being sustained in RYI - Rangjung Yeshe Institute, here what we experience is a place where the teachers and colleagues support each other and rejoice for others’ victories and achievements.

A place where the role of the worldly identities are object of contemplation and gentle exercises of transformation and purification. Nothing is discarded, everything is recognized in their wisdom aspect and as skillful means to generate benefit to others. Who is in an incontestable situation of superiority is who stay closer of the simple ones, of the learners and beginners; always being an excellent source of inspiration and example of kindly care.

In our daily academic routine, it is common, very common, we meet Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche kindly talking with the little monks from Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, many of them from poor families and with sorrowful experiences in a such young age. Rinpoche always ask their names and then call them “Khenpo Tashi”, “Lopon Sonam - in a clear way to incentive them to take as example the many monastic scholars and realized practitioners that this monastery bring forth.

The same occurs when Rinpoche come to our classes. He always share inspirational histories and want to know about every one, if we are happy, what we are doing, what are our aspirations. He always pointed out the qualities of the teachers and translators and incentive us to follow their example, as professionals as well as practitioners.

Thus, here we have a real example that is possible to combine the traditional approach is Buddhism studies with a modern academic formation. And also it is provided to us the effective support for we become better person, through the inspiration and example of ours kind-hearted Masters, Teachers, Translators and all the Staff from the RYI.

We are indeed very fortunate… I rejoice!!!

~ Jigme Choedzin from Brazil

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Learning more than just Sanskrit

My classmates and teachers during the summer
I had the wish to learn Sanskrit since quite a long time. With the help of a generous sponsor and much needed motivation, I was finally able to join Beginning Sanskrit Course during Summer 2016 at RYI.

Fortunately, on the first day of orientation, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche-la invited all the students for a talk and lunch. He gave us motivational speech regarding how fortunate we all are to get this chance to learn Dharma by one way or the other.

I had been learning Tibetan language too. So, at the end of the talk, I gathered the courage to go forth to him and ask for blessings in Tibetan language to complete the course. He was amazed to see me do so and gave me his blessings. I left with the smile on my face and with confidence that I will be able to do the course no matter what obstacles may occur.

Prayer flags at Namo Buddha

So, the classes began. I and my classmates were doing fine. I was happy with how the classes were going on until that one day when suddenly I had to stop going to class at all. With just two weeks remaining for the finals, I was in the verge of dropping the course.

Then, I realized how much I was affected by the pride. Having missed many classes and assignments, I was afraid of how the grades were going to degrade and affect my academic career. I was being so selfish and stubborn that I decided to drop the course. However, on the night before the finals, I had this insight. I remembered the moment I took blessings from Rinpoche –la, the sense of confidence I had, the generous donor  who paid for the whole course, regular messages of my teacher showing concern about my health and boosting my confidence that I can do it, amazing friends who passed my messages to the teachers, the dedication I showed during those six weeks, aspirations I made on the trip to Namobuddha, my family who were there in every instance and pushed me forward so that I would not give up after having come so far and so on. I decided then and there that I will give the finals on the finals itself regardless of how my performance will be.

The next day – on finals, I showed up at the exam hall in not so good condition. But what matters is that the Sanskrit teachers were there to tell me that I can do well and my friends were so welcoming. Hence, I finished my finals. After few weeks, I also received good grades.

Therefore, during this summer, I learnt Sanskrit. Along with that, I learnt how fortunate I am to have this support from every direction and every individual involved for me to go through any obstacle. I learnt to overcome my pride to some degree. I learnt that I must have accumulated some merit in past. At that very period, I am thankful to the previous Buddhas and Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche-la for their aspirations. I am grateful at that very period of time, everything fell into places and everything went all right.
Beautiful view of Seto Gompa where RYI is located

In my mind, I shall always keep the words that Rinpoche-la often bestows –

“If it is possible for us to be able to study Dharma, it is solely because of all the previous Buddha’s aspirations and our accumulations since the past lives.”

~ Laxmi from Nepal

Friday, January 20, 2017

The beginning of the spring semester.

Now we are at the beginning of the “spring semester” in RYI (Rangjung Yeshe Institute), however in this time is very, very cold in Nepal!!!

Everyone are using all the warm clothes that is possible to protect from the freeze weather, thus we have a huge variety of colorful and creative styles around. Even the nuns and monks display their warm neckerchief and gloves as well different kinds of very warm bonnet, as me they do not have natural protection from the chilliness…

That way, despite of the cold weather everyone is very happy and with warm heart!!!

All the students, teachers, staff and nuns and monks are very glad and rejoicing to see each other after a short vacation of one month.
When we meet each other the curiosity to know what we did during the free time is the first subject of our talking.

Some students went home, what means for some to travel for their countries - what mean all the continents, as our Shedra – university, is an international Shedra. As it was Christmas and western New Year time, for many families this represents the time that the families must stay together, that way many students had a good time with their families. Others students went to India, Thailand, and others neighboring countries, some for to tourism propose and others for pilgrimage, as example of many of them that went to Bodhgaya to receive Dalai Lama’s teachings and empowerments.

Others students went to some cities as Pokhara and Amaratika. Others spent their vacation staying in retreat, in places as Asura Cave, Namo Buddha, Nagi Gompa, and so on. However, many students preferred just to stay in Kathmandu and to rest and a bit, enjoy together their friends, eating the tasty local food, drinking a lot of ginger, lemon, honey tea, or drinking the famous chang, the Tibetan beer.

So, at the Shedra there are many interesting news to know about, as new students, new teacher, and, obviously, new subject to be studied. It is a very exuberant time!!!

~ Jigme Choedzin – from Brazil

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Best of studying in Nepal

 Pale sunrise in Boudhanath from my rooftop

I came to Nepal for the first time in 2013, when I started my studies at RYI. At that time, I was quite overwhelmed by everything, without any knowledge of Buddhism and university studies as I was. 

During that first year, it was difficult for me to have fun while studying. I definitely did not appreciate all the things I learned here, and I was terribly lazy. But now I know better! So, I would like to share a few things that I have learned to appreciate while studying here at RYI.

The first thing is to really appreciate the whole process of studying. Maybe it is only me, but I still feel the same childish excitement when I study Tibetan and realize that I understand what I am reading, even if it´s only a simple sentence. I am still overwhelmed by the fact that I can read and (sometimes) understand Tibetan. Often, when I sit up at night, translating for class, I think about this. It is a very, very nice feeling.

I also like to think about how fortunate I am, we all are, who get to study Buddhism in a place like Nepal. Nepal is such a one of a kind place. Knowing this makes me appreciate studying here a lot sometimes. Like yesterday. I woke up early to admire a pale sunrise from my own rooftop. I was fortunate enough to get to listen to a wonderful, wonderful teaching on emptiness and devotion. Then I came home to discover that a part of my bathroom wall had essentially exploded, spraying water all over the place. Amazing. All in one day ☺

~ Rebecca from Sweden

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

An ode to a lost Sailor

Hello how you doin?
He asked
Gulping on useless space
Spinning in circles he stood
In his abiding place.
And while he stood
We began to lose.
Where do we go now?
Asked the little fellow
Standing by my knee,
Also there were those
Who asked
how much the fee?

Above all, and below too, this is a mysterious situation, pertaining to the logic which fits in the wave as some distorted colour. But nevertheless, mystery lives 2 floors above masks’ rented “selves and shelves”!! They said the elevator is blocked these days as there is no oil. So we use the stairs, simple. But mystery’s roommate happens to be fear. Someone told me that too, I haven't been up there. She is beautiful though, that I know. Mystery spends much more time with her these days. You know what love could do.

But from love I digress
Back to protons and neutrons
(The heart of this matter)
Back to our sailor whose cosmic ship
Took a dip
And came up disturbed
Asking Who and Why
and you want to fly?

Flying is simple when you don't mind the physics, he said. But the mind minds until you are high and certainly uncertain about the location of the cat and the sailor himself.
Not here
Not not here
Like a steam locomotive
On Indian railway’s track
There's no question
About coming back.

And any middle
Of the whole

Is also not in the middle
rather beyond
so, he said once and for all
follow me not
Follow never
for you have eyes
which sees
Not that
Which is seen ..

~Sagnik from India