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The Secret Ones

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I.                                                                                                                  What is the deep listening?                                          Sema is a greeting from the secret ones                                                      inside the heart, a letter.                                    [Divani Shamsi Tabriz, Rumi: The Big Red Book]
Let this writing, in however insignificant way it might, bring solace to those of us who have had suffering at the forefront of our lives all along and especially to those of us who have retreated into unfathomable silence. When we long for everything we have lost and all the things we could never have, material and beyond, we wonder why the world outside is so ruthless. When we are shaken to our inner most core, we become acutely aware of the terror that grips us completely. We think that we are living the worst days of our lives. We do not want to share anything with others becaus…

Modern Boudhanath

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After finishing 5 kora at Boudha stupa, I went to one tea stall. The taste of the tea was so good and it was made by an old lady, around my grandma’s age. I asked her about the background story of Boudha during her childhood. She started telling me the story of Boudhanath.
Once upon time, Boudha was a very beautiful village adorned in all directions by thousands of trees and flowers, blooming through all four seasons. Different kinds of insects made noises that sounded like bells. Different birds tweeted like a melody-queen.
The main source of local peoples’ income was from agriculture. Almost 90 percent of people were farmers and all the locals were Tamang. Usually, Tamang people worked very hard in the day time but at the night they all needed to have rakshi (local whisky). Boudha’s local people were living autonomously, a simple life.
After finishing the conversation with the old lady, I got to know some back ground story of Boudha. It made me reflect on the history of Boudha and ho…

Investigating Buddhist Ethics

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Investigating Buddhist Ethics
This semester RYI offered a class on Buddhist ethics, taught by Prof. Diane Denis. Have you ever wondered what Buddhism has to say about complicated ethical questions? Sure, we should be compassionate, follow our vows, avoid the ten non-virtuous actions and engage in the ten virtuous actions and the six paramitas, but what do we do when an issue is too complex to be answered by these maxims or they contradict each other? Is it more ethical to do a retreat or to help society through activism? I usually have an opinion on ethical issues, but it is mostly based on my gut-feeling rather than ethical considerations and I often wonder if my intuition is in accordance with Buddhist philosophy or not. There are many issues and problems in modern times that are not directly addressed in Buddhist teachings, because they were not relevant at the time. In our class, we started by learning a variety of ethical ideas that Buddhism has to offer and chose individual topic…

Nṛtya offering

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Arya Tara on Khenpo Rinpoche's 86th Birthday


Today (March 1st 2020) is KhenpoTsultrimGyamtso Rinpoche’s birthday. On this auspicious day, one of my secret wishes was fulfilled. Last year, I received lojong and vajra dance trainings from Ani Tsering Youdon, one of Khenpo Rinpoche’s nuns. This year, I began

Last Semester at RYI

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This is my last semester at RYI!!! Amazing, we are already at the second half of the spring semester. When I started my BA years ago, I thought this time would never come and four years felt like a lifetime. However, now I feel like it was only yesterday I arrived in Kathmandu, and I almost wish I could do the whole thing again. It was so nice to come to Nepal and know absolutely nothing about Nepal! At that time I did not even know that buff momos are better than vegetable momos, and I still enjoyed the Nepali traffic because it was “fun” compared to the traffic back home:) The only bad thing I can say about the early days was that I didn’t realize how amazing an opportunity it is to get to study Tibetan, Philosophy, and so forth in such an amazing monastery, and therefore I was quite lazy. I could have learned the basics of Tibetan and academic paper writing much earlier if I had been smarter back then. In spite of that however, I am so happy that I decided to stay in Nepal and cont…

My experience of offering Music Therapy sessions at RYI.

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I am a third year B.A student at Ranjung Yeshe Institute. Apart from studying at RYI, I also work as a freelance music therapist and musical artist. Last fall semester, I got an opportunity to facilitate music therapy sessions for RYI students at the newly built meditation room in Utpala Café. We would meet most Monday late afternoons and engage in an hour of musical activities. The activities included chanting, music and movement, and various self-reflective exercises. These sessions were open to all RYI students and occasional guests were also welcome to join us. It was a heart warming experience for me to offer my services to fellow student friends and their guests as this was the time where we could share our thoughts, connect with each other, or just sit silently in a safe musical space. The sessions were filled with enthusiasm and reverence for one another. It was a meaningful opportunity for us to get to know each other besides class room settings. During the sessions, we were u…

Dirty Window: A Reflection on the Uttaratantra-śāstra

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During the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters, a group of Rangjung Yeshe’s students had the good fortune to meet every day, during one and a half hours, to study the Uttaratantra-śāstra by Arya Maitreya[1] with Khenpo Karma Gyurme (also known as Tokpa Tulku). Approaching canonical Buddhist texts under the guidance of the ordained sangha is definitely one of the highlights of studying at RYI. Below, I wish to share a reflection on the subject of Buddhahood as ultimately uncreated, which is one of the core teachings explained in the Uttaratantra-śāstra. The idea of Buddhahood as uncreated means that enlightenment is unconditioned, it is not a state produced by the path; and, accordingly, the path is not the cause of enlightenment. Such statement, however, seems to contradict the interpretation of a spiritual path leading to the state of awakening. In other words, can a path that has a conditioned, progressive nature and its supposed outcome (Buddhahood) that is unconditioned be reconci…