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Showing posts from February, 2011

Renting on Your Own in Kathmandu

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Buddhist Altruism

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Buddhaghosa defines compassion as – “When there is suffering (in others), it causes good people to be moved (anukampā), thus it is Karuṇā (Visuddhimagga, tr. Ñanamoli, p. 345).”   The Buddha admonishes:Let one first establish oneself in what is proper and then instruct others (Dhammapada, verse 158).”  
One cannot help others unless one knows how to help oneself through what is proper.  It is hard to expect man who is deluded with speculation (prapañca) to lead another towards proper understanding (sammā-diṭṭhi). This idea is nicely elaborated in Sallekha Sutta [of Majjhima Nikāya, I.40-46]:  “This situation does not occur, Cunda: when one sunk into mud will by himself pull out another who is sunk into mud. But this situation occurs, Cunda:  when one not sunk into mud will by himself pull out another who is sunk into mud. But this situation occurs, Cunda: when one who is tamed, trained, utterly quenched, will by himself tame, train, makes another utterly quenched.”  In this sense one c…

Strategies Against Cold Rooms

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As most people know the temperature in Kathmandu can be a bit chilly during the months of December and January.  Although it is mostly warm and sunny during the day, the temperature during the night can approach the freezing point.  The houses have no insulation and most of the windows are well suited for the rapid exchange of air between inside and outside.
I can say that I have been enjoying a rather cool climate in my room over the last weeks, which benefited me in many ways.  Although I don’t have a fridge I was able to keep cheese and other types of perishable food without any problems at all.  I furthermore found out that the mind is very clear at lower temperatures and my studies processed unusually well.  Many Tibetan words that I have not managed to memorize for quite some time all of a sudden stayed in my mind as if it were too cold for them to remain outside.
Needless to say, a cold room can sometimes also be annoying.  I would therefore like to share some strategies to dea…

Tibetan Summer Course

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Hello out there, I would like to share my experience of this year’s summer course.  As you may or may not know the Rangjung Yeshe Institute offers several summer courses on Sanskrit, colloquial Tibetan, and Buddhist Philosophy.  The year before I did the “Intermediate Tibetan” and this summer I went for the “Advanced Tibetan”.  
We were about ten students in the course and I have to say that the level of Tibetan-skills in the group was pretty high (I personally, being really bad with languages, was clearly on the lower end of the class).  The course-program was split into two: One part was thought by Phuntsok, the main Tibetan teacher in the Shedra.  It covered a traditional perspective on Tibetan grammar plus several readings, mainly from his Holiness the Dalai Lama’s autobiography (in English: “My Land and my People”).  

Phuntsok has a very light way of teaching and many times we had a good laugh in class.  Nonetheless we covered in the 8 weeks of the course a vast amount of material …