Showing posts from May, 2012

Studying Madhyamika

In Spring 2012 we continued studying Introduction to the Middle Way and The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, with our lopons, who are excellent at relating these classic texts to our experience as modern Buddhists. 
Chandrakirti says, 
“Of Buddhahood’s abundant crop, compassion is the seed/ It is like moisture, bringing increase and is said/ To ripen in the state of lasting happiness/ Therefore to begin, I celebrate compassion!”  Which really touches on the essence of Madhyamika.  What is it that prevents us from being genuinely compassionate with others?  It's this subtle sense of being separate from situations, other people and other beings—basically it comes down to our sense of “self-ness,” that the center of space is right here called “me.”  When we’re suffering from negative emotions, Madhyamika really gets down to the heart of it.   
We are all naturally compassionate, but there is something preventing that from shining through—namely, clinging to the two types of self.  So when I…

Another MA graduate, Congratulations, Zim!

John Pickens who we all know as 'Zim', successfully defended on Friday his Master of Arts thesis. 
Zim's dissertation title is: 
I Remember Seeing Blue:Reflexive Awareness and Memory in DignāgaPramāṇasamuccaya. Zim's dissertation supervisor was Karin Meyers (PhD,University of Chicago), and the external examiner was John Dunne (PhD, Harvard University).

Zim joined RYI in 2009. He is also an active member supporting Phakchok Rinpoche's activities. 

Congratulations, Zim, we will miss you a lot! 

Celebrating our first MA graduate this year - Sophie Pickens

Congratulations Sophie!
Today Sophie Pickens successfully defended her Master of Arts thesis at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute. 
Her thesis is titled: 
Divine Blue Water: The Contamination Purifying Smoke Offering by the Great Master Padmasambhava.  Sophie's dissertation supervisor was Dr. Karin Meyers (PhD,University of Chicago), and the external examiner was Dr. Abraham Zablocki (PhD, Cornell University).

Sophie is a well-loved teacher and talented translator at RYI. We are very happy for her success!

Sophie will return to the States  this week, and we will greatly miss her. 

We wish you all the best, Sophie, and hope that you will be back with us soon...

The Passing Away of Holy Beings

Having realized thatness, the nature of the dharmadhatu, just as it is, those of understanding are released from birth,sickness, aging, and death.Though free from the destitution of birth and so on, they demonstrate these,since by their insight they have given rise to compassion for beings.                                                      ~ Maitreya’s Uttaratantra
It is out of unconditional love and compassion to sentient beings that holy beings appear to be born, fall ill, age, and die.  Although they are beyond all of these temporary circumstances, for the benefit of beings they display aging and death as a reminder of the momentariness and uncertainty of life. 

On March 3rd in Bhutan, one such holy being, Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche displayed one of his last physical teachings to remind us of that impermanence.  On this day, a gathering of 15,000 monks, ngakpas, and ngakmos, and foreigners witnessed the purjang (cremation) of this holy being.  
It is reminder not only of imperman…