Showing posts from March, 2011

Books, Books, and More Books

My roommate looked at me begrudgingly.  “Where are we going to put all of these?” he asked as another new box of Tibetan books or pechas arrived at our doorstep.  This was the last thing on my mind as I tore through the box’s tape to peer at the shiny new covers, breathe in the smell of the fresh pages, and rifle through the table of contents. I’ll admit it.  I’ve become addicted to books.  And not just buying them.  This semester is the culmination of my studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute.  I am currently summarizing into an MA thesis the most important things I have learned about Buddhism’s Middle Way Philosophy over the past five years.  These days I am constantly surrounded by at least three stacks of open books, my mind swimming in the perplexities and nuances of their contents. The subject matter of my thesis is a debate.  This particular debate has been waxing and waning for nearly two-thousand years.  Throughout this vast amount of time, there have been fierce moments …

Trees Are Trees

A famous Zen master once said, 
“while practicing in the path, initially the trees are trees, the mountains are mountains, and the oceans are oceans, but at some point the trees are no more trees, the mountains are no more mountains and the oceans are no more oceans... and finally at the end of the path, trees are once again trees, mountains are once again mountains and the oceans are once again oceans.”
Studying Buddhism in RYI is a venture which will usher you to somewhat the same kind of experiences.  In the initial days of Shedra when one goes through the preliminary teachings of  the Bodhicharyavatara, The Thirty-Seven Bodhisattva Practices or Words of My Perfect Teacher and so forth, one starts gazing closely into the eyes of what we call life, one starts to enjoy life more, starts to be more mindful of phenomena around oneself.  Colors start becoming brighter, foods start becoming tastier.  Thus trees look more like trees and mountains look more like mountains. But as one proceed…


I am very grateful to the Rangjung Yeshe Institute who has given me the opportunity to study the Buddha-Dharma and inspire me to put it into practice in daily life.  My purpose of coming here to Nepal to study was to infuse my mind and life with the Buddha-Dharma as much as possible, to really try to open myself and let it help me with all my daily problems.  

The very core of practicing Buddhism is to change one’s view of reality and one’s motivation.  All sentient beings want happiness, but what kind of happiness are we able to aim for?  Honestly speaking, I think wishes and aims for more than temporary happiness are very rare - so how would we ever attain it?  To really put the Dharma into practice it is necessary to change the fuel that drives our every action, the view and motivation that makes us do what we do.  As it is now, honestly, I think most of us are too self-centred and too dependent on outer objects for ensuring our happiness to really thoroughly practice the Dharma.


Near Jarung Khashor

Once back home in Brazil, I heard that in the middle of an immense valley in the Himalayas there was a great white stupa, where the awakened masters of the past and present would come from days and months of walking to pay homage.  
It is said that there was an old woman whose power of aspirations and devotion to the Buddha, and with the help of her four sons, accomplished the extraordinary task of creating the illusory symbol of the body, speech and mind of the enlightened ones, meaning the Great Stupa Jarung Khashor, in the valley nowadays called Kathmandu.  As if in an auspicious dream, those including myself who are searching for answers and spiritual comprehension come to this sacred place surrounded by spiritual practitioners and extraordinary realized masters that are able to fulfill our most deep spiritual wishes.  
One of those masters, understanding our motivation and searching but also our difficulties in comprehending the language and complexity of the teachings and the spir…