Showing posts from December, 2011

Dilemma of a Life Time

The first time I came to Kathmandu one year ago, I was on my way back from China. At that time, my plan was to stay for a month in order to learn some Tibetan.  Here’s a lesson I learned quickly.  Plans change.
My first impression of Boudhanath was that I could eat a variety of food for very low prices. After my time in China, I thought I could once more taste any European food I wanted. I settled down to eat at the Double Dorje ‘Restaurant’. After eating, I no longer knew why people called it restaurant. I later discovered that any place where you can have food is called restaurant in Kathmandu even if the food bears an uncommon resemblance to cardboard. Even so, my fatal error was choosing a mysterious drink called ‘lassi’. The consequences were frequent bathroom visits for a few days.  The silver lining was making the acquaintance of a Tibetan doctor named Dr. Sherab.  I soon felt better.
After a few days of exploring the Boudhanath neighborhood, I discovered the White Monastery. It …

Pharping - My favorite Place in Nepal

I’ve been a student at the Shedra for two years now.  In that time, I have been surprised by how quickly we can integrate what we learned into our lives. The Tibetan language comes naturally here. When class ends, I go out with my Tibetan friends, and we head to the tea shop.
There’s nothing like sweet tea, spicy potatoes, and great company!!!
Things like this happen every day.  After only a few months here, I was part of the Bodhanath village where everyone knows everyone.  My constant contact with local Tibetans has done wonders for my ability to learn Tibetan. The Shedra exists in a perfect place to support its students’ learning.
That said, sometimes I want to escape the small town of Boudha. That’s when I head for my favorite place in Nepal, Pharping or Yanglesho as the Tibetans call it. It is an hour and a half by bus from the Shedra.  Pharping is the sacred place where Guru Rinpoche stayed in retreat. Following in his footsteps, most of the realized masters also came there.  When I…

Annual Fall seminar with Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche

The seminar held at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery was an amazing experience for me. The teachings given by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche touched the core of my heart. I really felt a flow of blessing for all of the people who participated in the program. There were two sections to the program: one included a period of guided meditation, the other included teachings given by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche. Through Rinpoche’s teaching, I realized that everything in this world is mind. If we really know the nature of mind, then and only then can we be free from the suffering of samara. Listening to his words, I understood that I could die at any moment, so this human life is very precious. If everyone, including myself, practices Shamatha and Vipassana, then we can be free from negative thoughts .I also learned that listening to a Dharma teaching is not enough; practice and reflection in life are very important.
In the afternoon, Phakchok Rinpoche’s teaching was also great. He shared many of his life st…

John Dunne’s class on the Facets of Mindfulness and Croissants

I never understood the value of learning valid cognition until taking John Dunne’s class on the Facets of Mindfulness this fall.  By observing the process through which our mind makes coherent the vast array of sensory information it receives, the negative emotions which form based upon our feelings about these sensory experiences lose their foothold.  
By seeing through analysis that no two experiences can ever be the same, all the expectations of attachment and fears towards aversive experiences —which are based on comparison to “similar” experiences that caused such reactions in the past—no longer have a basis for arising.  All negative emotions necessarily rely on memory of the past and expectation for the future, thus learning to look at the present moment with more and more subtle levels of awareness yields mindstates that are more free and open to see our experience with less and less mental and emotional baggage attached.
One example that John used in class to demonstrate how c…

Pilgrimage to Bodhgaya