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A letter to Classical Tibetan

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A letter to Classical Tibetan


Dear Classical Tibetan,
our story began three years ago, when I came to Nepal to study a Buddhist text at a Shedra, and they also offered Classical Tibetan lessons. In the beginning, I was amazed by all your lines and squiggles, since I never learned an alphabet different from my own. When I first managed to transform these squiggles into actual sounds, I thought the hardest part would lie behind me. Little did I know. You forced me through your spellings that just made zero sense to me, and then you threw all these particles at me until I couldn’t feel my brain anymore. In the beginning, all I could understand were sentences about yaks and rabbits drinking tea. I hadn’t looked at a sutra in my life, and I was planning to keep it that way. But with your subtle but persistent charm you lured me into RYI, and there I was, sitting in a proper class setting, learning your expressions for Dharma things. Slowly I got to read along puja texts and understanding a wor…

Feelings

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THE FEELINGS
Firstly as the recipient of the South Asia and Himalayan Scholarship, I am highly honored and would like to express my sincere heartfelt gratitude for the tremendous support bestowed to me through this scholarship. Without a doubt this scholarship will play key role in my educational dreams and I knew I had been given the privilege to attend a prestigious program that not many people were lucky enough to which bestowed in me a sense of obligation to use the opportunity effectively.
Changes can make people overwhelm with the newness of the situation. Moving from a high school to a university is one of the largest changes to my life. I was very excited, since I finally made it to the university that I and my parents dreamed about. But then at the very beginning it’s hard to put my nerves to the bed, as I felt that I entered some new world and this program made me realize how big and complex the world really is. Will I fit? Am I smart enough? Will I be able to relate creditabl…

Muara Jambi – The Sources of Atisha’s Lojong

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Muara Jambi – The Sources of Atisha’s Lojong   
I was born in Jambi, a town in Central Sumatra. Half hour from Jambi, there is the Muara Jambi Temple Compounds. Most people have heard of the Buddhist temple complexes in Indonesia, such as Borobudur, are located on the island of Java. Apparently, a lot of people do not know that in Sumatera island, precisely in Jambi, there is one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in South East Asia – Muara Jambi Compounds. Compared to Borobudur, the Muara Jambi temple complex is much smaller and more dispersed. This makes it a bit challenging for visitors to see everything.
The Muara Jambi Compound was believed by some archeologists to be a center of Buddhist studies and practices in the past. Moreover, Atisha was also believed to receive the precious teaching of bodhicitta (enlightenment mind) here from his teacher Serlingpa Dharmakirti (or also known as Svarnadvipa Guru).[1] Due to the kindness of his teacher, Atisha could teach and spread the …

Basking Under the Dharma Sun

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Basking Under the Dharma Sun

"Buddhist Studies? Wow, so interesting. Where?" starts the familiar drill.
"In Nepal," I reply.
"Oh!!.....where in Nepal?"
"In Kathmandu."
"Oh okay....is it in the main city of Kathmandu itself?"
"Yes, but not in the city center. It's in a neighborhood called Boudha."
"Ahh..alright. What did you say it was called?"
"Rangjung Yeshe Institute."

This is often followed by a head nod, an "Ahh, I see...," or the plain old awkward silence. Sometimes though, I am given an eager look anticipating a response, as if just uttering the name of the college was insufficient without an explanation of the intentions behind my decision.

As I finish my semester of classes, this interrogative expression doesn't confound me as much as it did before moving to Kathmandu valley. Having to state the series of causes and conditions that contributed to me quitting a job I loved to study B…

Truckin'

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Truckin’
The last 100 days in Boudha, as I approach the end of my first semester of study at Rangjung Yeshe and first time in Nepal, remind me of that line from the Grateful Dead song Truckin’:Sometimes the lights all shinin’ on me, other times I can barely see. But lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.


Such an odd choice of adjectives and perhaps song lyrics isn’t to convey a lack of enjoyment or signal discontentment, don’t get me wrong. The learning has been tremendous. Just that lessons have coalesced, spontaneously and unexpectedly across my windshield. I hope I don’t miss my turning. I decided three years ago I wanted to study Buddhism and I still think my understanding of the subtle and profound Dharma is basic and contrived. But the last three months have felt like I’m heading somewhere. I can’t explain why, but it’s a feeling I have.



A friend here at RYI, who’s wiser than I will ever be, over beers casually remarked that he’s always grateful for intense, a…
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Come here and bring them over

Kathmandu valley is certainly richly packed with holy places, and even the Boudhanath area alone, full of monasteries, lamas and holy objects as it is, would be a good destination for a potential pilgrim.
If you’re anything like me, though, your family members (and many of your friends) might not be typical Buddhist pilgrims at all. They might not want to tour the four great places associated with Buddha’s life, or attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings, or even go to your local Buddhist center. However, if you are here, they might want to see how you’re doing—and, of course, tour around a little bit (how often do they go to Asia in general or Nepal in particular?) Don’t miss on that chance to hook them to something virtuous!
Many of the objects in the Kathmandu valley have the reputation of “liberation upon seeing”. Tibetan Buddhists believe that seeing a holy stupa—or even a sticker with a mantra, for that matter—leaves a powerful imprint in the mind: something…

Learning how to unlearn

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Learning how to unlearn

My father once told me that the majority of the people who seek spirituality have had some kind of bad experience or dissatisfaction in their dealings with the materialistic world. He further explained that out of this dissatisfaction, and in the hope of quenching their thirst of frustration, people embark on the search for a peace and happiness in the spiritual world which they could not find in the materialistic world. Unlike monks who start their spiritual path from childhood, it is very rare that an individual engages in spiritual path seriously, without any of such unsatisfying experiences, he added.
He might well have been describing the path I’ve taken to date. A sense of dissatisfaction and frustration with the workings of this world made me think long and hard, and prompted my search for a spiritual oasis. I feel truly fortunate to have stumbled upon RYI. The first thing that struck me about RYI is that everybody looked so happy and bright The Rinpoches…