Showing posts from February, 2008

The first year philosophy class at the Shedra

It is 10.30 in the morning, our teacher, Khenpo Jampa Donden sits in front on a throne and we all begin chanting the praises to Mañjushri. After the chanting, the Khenpo starts the class by picking a little piece of paper out of a cup which contains our names, and he goes on by asking that person a question related to the chapter that we are studying.
This is how they proceed in the Tibetan monasteries. The teacher gives a word by word commentary on a specific text, which in our case, is the Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra by Shāntideva. Then, at the beginning of each lesson, a student has to answer a question related to the topic.

Usually, our Khenpo gives us the possibility to ask questions in return, which is a great opportunity since he is a very learned monk, who has studied and practiced for many years.
The text we study is a great classic, one of the most important and fundamental Mahayana treatises in Tibetan Buddhism, studied throughout all the sects and monasteries. The Bodhisattvacaryā…

Studying in Nepal

I came to Nepal from Italy in order to study at the Shedra. I was not skilled in English, in fact it is quite poor, but my motivation was stable and complete and now that I completed already one semester I’m feeling enough satisfied. To study in Nepal in our Shedra is for me very useful: I can stay here, the original first Buddhist Place, study the complete Dharma and I can learn and start to use properly Tibetan language with the local people. I am starting to share with them their usage and tradition since in those traditions I’m feeling very comfortable. It is beautiful to interact with the other students and now I have a sufficient number of Tibetan friends so that the every-day life is satisfactory for me. I came here being not sure about the results of my studies because English is not my native language, but now that I can see directly my results, I have no regrets.
Some people in Italy were skeptic about what I was about to do, but now we all are happy.
My understanding of Dhar…

Celebrating Losar with a Tibetan family

The highlight of the Tibetan calendar and also of living in Bouddha is the New Year, Losar, taking place in February. (lo = year, sar = new) Already weeks before the actual date all kind of preparations are going on: People clean up their houses and specially the house-shrines, prepare huge amounts of special biscuits called kabse and give order to make new dresses chupas.

The second last evening before the New Year according to the tradition the family joins together and eats a special type of soup called guthuk. (gu = 9, thuk = soup) Not only does this soup contain nine different ingredients, but also small pieces of paper, covered by bread on which symbolic words are written. Every member of the family will receive one of them and the meaning can be quite auspicious. There are words such as sun, symbolizing a friendly and shiny character, salt which means being lazy, moon for somebody who dispels other peoples obstacles or chilly representing a rather wrathful character.

The actual l…

Rangjung Yeshe Institute- “The right place for me”

I was brought up in Assam, India. I think myself to be very fortunate to be born in a Sherpa community where our religion is Buddhism. But during my stay in India, I never had the opportunity to come in contact with the actual meanings of the teachings of Buddhism. At home, we used to offer water to Buddha and different deties without knowing the exact purpose of it. We were doing it because our grandparents used to, and now so do we. My parents were not much educated and so we never had a discussion on the meaning of Dharma. They only did the rituals that they had learned from their parents.

When I first came to Nepal from India in the year 1994, I came in contact with my cousin brother, Phuri Sherpa, who guided me by providing me books on Buddhism. Slowly I started reading them, then I came to realize that we should give our precious human life for the study of dharma. I also had the opportunity to receive empowerments from different Rinpoches. I joined a school, Shanti Vidyalaya, Bo…

For the sake of the Dharma

Taking the decision to come and live and study in Nepal was the greatest risk I had ever taken in my life. For months my mind was tormented of whether I should dare to do something like that and escape secretly to Nepal for Buddhist studies. I have a wonderful loving family, but they have no understanding of Buddhism. Knowing that I wanted to study Buddhism in Nepal, they forbade me to come. Having no other options, I had to use skillful means in order to come here to study the Dharma. Running away from home and my family secretly to Nepal with the excuse of going on holidays with my boyfriend to Latin America, I just took a plane alone and landed on the other side of the world. It opened a new chapter in my life and has turned out to be the most beneficial …

Different kinds of worries like, am I going to be able to live in a country like Nepal, with so different lifestyle from my homeland? Are these kind of studies going to be what I was looking for? How I am going to deal emotionally…