Wednesday, April 26, 2017

OBSTACLES ON THE PATH

“It is only natural that various obstacles and hurdles occur in the spreading of the True Dharma’s rule. However, to overcome or ward off these Dharma-opposing elements while remaining true in mind, body and speech is another personal dharma and duty of each of the sanghas.” 
As various hurdles arise in my path, born from the fruition of the seeds of my own past actions, I find myself taking solace in these words uttered by my Guru.




Three and a half years ago when the bud of the Dharma’s flower began to sprout in my heart, immense motivation arose in me with regard to seeking liberation from the sorrows of the world. But with the passage of time, as the reality of the difficulties of the path began to be more visible, and the need to replace motivation with discipline took form, the various hurdles that had arisen seemed to overcome me, a naïve traveler on the path, and as such the budding flower was prevented from blossoming. Blinded by ever growing despair, unable to scale the tall wall that loomed over me, my faith and determination grew ever weaker. My reasons for coming to study at R.Y.I were all but forgotten, and indulgence in the world’s fleeting pleasures was given priority. However, as the year comes to an end, I have been
fortunate enough to begin to come back to my senses and once again begin to orient my mind towards the melody of the pure Dharma. That the Dharma may saturate my very being is my current wish. Where my path shall lead me from here on out is beyond my capacity to know, but so be it, the journey goes on.

~Wesley from Kenia

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Importance of Tibetan language to understand Buddhism



The Tibetan version of Buddhist canon whether sutra or shastra, is treated as the most authentic or significant version for the study and practice of Buddhism in modern days. 
It is undoubtedly as it was given with extraordinary care, consideration and every possible skillful means during the transmission, translation and interpretation from the original sources. 
The Tibetan version of Buddhist canon therefore has the quality to serve for us to comprehend the core message, the message what the Buddhist original canon has to convey and elucidate.  

Therefore, it seems that the study of Tibetan language is crucial to study to understand Buddhism in a far better way.



Evidently, a numbers of Buddhist sutras and shastras have been translated and interpreted into modern languages whereby one can study Buddhism and advance knowledge in it, although a number of significant issues with the translation and interpretation of key terminologies are yet to be solved. 
They have remained vaguely and are in the need of finer retranslation and reinterpretation if possible. 

Therefore, even for a non-native Tibetan speaker, there is essentiality of studying Tibetan to understand Buddhism in a far intensified way.



For the excellent study of Tibetan language what one needs is a good environment and a great possibility. 
Rangjung Yeshe Institute is indeed where one meets these needs. Tibetan language is studied from the two modes of classical and colloquial. 

One can study from native speakers and build every necessary skill from them. Moreover, one has ripe opportunity to communicate with foreign folks in Tibetan whose skills of speaking and writing Tibetan are immensely awesome. 

Additionally, one has opportunity to share their feelings and experiences regarding learning Tibetan. One could know how conducive the study of Tibetan has been for their study and penetrating or intensifying understanding in Buddhism. 

In RYI one has great possibility to make considerable improvement in a short time. The possibility is great as the atmosphere is conducive to the Tibetan study. 

Due to the kindness of generous sponsors and dedication of faculty members RYI has been successfully serving courses on Tibetan language as one of the main curriculum features to serve for us to understand Buddhism vastly and yet profoundly.


~ Karma Namgyal from Nepal
BA Student








Monday, April 3, 2017

Healthy Food for Studying Well



Eating healthy food is how we can maintain healthy body and mind. Healthy body and mind are what we need to study well. Studying well without consuming healthy food is unthinkable and implausible in our life.

Indeed, Rangjung Yeshe Institute not only has awesome intensive courses on Buddhist studies for international folks in a spiritual environment, but also has a small wonderful canteen. The canteen serves healthy food for you to be mentally and physically fit to study well at RYI.

There is no need to worry about food items, serving time, and price. The canteen serves vegetarian food with various items that are tasty and healthy. Everyday you have a chance to taste different items of food. Along with various tea and coffee items, the canteen mainly serves breakfast and lunch. Considering the importance of your time, the staff serves foods punctually and respectably. Unlike other places, there is no disappointment regarding food-serving time. When it is lunchtime, it is not you that is waiting for lunch; rather, it is your food that is freshly waiting for you.

Likewise, there is no need to be disappointed regarding prices, either. The prices are considerably reasonable. Moreover, the canteen has special discount for local students.


Another important factor is this: the wonderful service of vegetarian foods at RYI’s canteen will definitely help you to switch your meat-based diet into vegetable-based food. For the most time, I eat my 
meals at RYI’s canteen, as foods served there are tasty, healthy and prepared fast.


Due to the constant generous help and dedication of sponsors, RYI has been successfully serving people like you to study well with healthy food. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your generosity with a prayer for the prosperity and good health of all sponsors and well-wishers.


~ Karma Namgyal from Nepal

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