Showing posts from 2013


Dilemma: Life, the living mischievous paradox, one way always imposes upon us the tiring and tear bringing shocks of despondency experienced after departure of futile lifeless excitement, and pain preceded by the unfulfilled strong – misleading desires. While on the other, it rouses a hope, cautious indulgence in which could bestow upon us the mastery over suffering, and lead us to the pinnacle of everlasting bliss, which in turn ends all our sufferings and wanderings. Life, when this paradox is understood, the journey ends, and the search completes. But how to understand it? How to untangle it? Whom to ask? And where to go? It seems to be an unsurmountable mystery, endless search and unanswerable question, and for me and many others, RYI is the junction where mystery starts revealing itself, and thirst starts quenching through the nectar of wisdom poured upon us through living ideals usually revered as Lopon, Khenpo, Rinpoche and many others.
Vipassana to RYI: After I completed my fir…

At home in Boudhanth

For those readers who have never been here, Boudhanath (or Boudha) is hosting one of the world's biggest stupa, an amazing monument; blinding white, compact, it contains Buddhist relics and it takes 5 minutes to circumambulate it ("making kora") —as most local devotees (a mixed crowed of Nepali, Tibetans and even Westerners) use to do daily. It lies about 11 km from the center of Kathmandu. 
The neighborhood grew exponentially in the past 30 years so that what used to be a remote place lost in the fields is now a part of Kathmandu city. But even so, I have this strange impression to travel back in time everyday, during my 10 minutes walk to school. I find myself in a medieval Asian village.  I once had a book of drawings depicting ancient times Japanese craftsmen, sitting on the floor, busy with their task, their body folded in a very peculiar pose. In Boudha, as in the whole Kathmandu valley, they still make metal sculpture with a traditional method called 'repoussé&#…

The Joy and Challenges of Learning Tibetan Language

As I look back at the year that I have spent here at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, perhaps the most enjoyable, yet challenging, aspect of my studies has been learning the Tibetan language. For years I have felt a strong desire to be able to speak, read, and write in the Tibetan language, and from the moment I started studying here a little more than one year ago, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity that was being afforded to me. The ability to converse with local Tibetans, and to begin to understand the sacred texts written by great masters and the dharma talks that are given is something that has brought an incredible sense of satisfaction into my life.  Although I still have much to learn--and of course the learning never ends--since I have set goals for myself and feel like I have put forth a respectable amount of effort in my studies, I feel like I am making decent progress and that my aspirations are well within reach. While there are man…

Congratulations Cyntia!

Congratulations to Cyntia Font Zorrilla, who successfully defended her MA thesis. The dissertation is entitled: 

A Treasure Revealer’s Inner Life A Study and Translation of Lochen Dharmaśrī’s “Inner” Biography of Chögyal Rigdzin Terdak Lingpa
The thesis supervisor was Dr. Philippe Turenne and the External Reader was Dr. Abraham Zablocki, Agnes Scott College, USA. 

Before coming to study in RYI's Translator Training Program, Cynthia completed a B.A in Archaeology and a M.A. in Archaeology and Art History Specialized in Art History from the Université Paris IV Sorbonne, where she wrote her master’s thesis on the iconography of the Dakinis. Cynthia who has her roots in Mexico, lived in many different countries and speaks more than six languages fluently. Now she has added another one: Tibetan. 

Finishing the Translator Training Program, Cynthia started teaching colloquial Tibetan at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute while at the same time studying in the M.A. program in Buddhist Studies.

For he…

The Way of the Bodhisattva

Hello to everyone on the Rangjung Yeshe Institute Student Blog. I am Raju Gurung and I am from Mustang which is the North Central Part of Nepal. Currently I am doing my BA at RYI. In the year 2011 I got to know about RYI and its Buddhist Studies Programme through one of my local friends from Boudhanath. I was really very interested to join RYI as I was also looking for some Colleges that offered Buddhist Studies.

Likewise, in the last year 2012, I had finished one of the Buddhist philosophy courses that had been offered by RYI. It was 'The Way of the Bodhisattva'by Śāntideva and I really couldn't believe how amazing and how pleasant it was to study this amazing text. In fact, by reading this text, this amazing text, Śāntidevahas really become a guide for me in my personal life.

Similarly, it is only because of this amazing text, 'The Way of the Bodhisattva', that I have come to realize and truly know the meaning of what love and compassion is. This course did not onl…

And....another MA graduate!

Congratulations to Anna Zilman!

Anna successfully defended her thesis:  
'Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and the Nonsectarian Movement: A Critical Look at Representations of 19th Century Tibetan Buddhism'.The thesis supervisor was Dr. Philippe Turenne
and the External Reader was Prof. Dr. Dorji Wangchuk from the University of Hamburg, Germany. 

Anna, from Russia came in 2007 to the Rangjung Yeshe Institute to study Tibetan Language. After completing one year in the Bachelor's program, Anna joined the intensive one-year-long Translator Training program which was launched at that time. Successfully completing that, she continued with the B.A. and later Master of Arts program. Anna has managed the Translator Training program since 2010 and translates at various occasions at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute.
We congratulate this bright and energetic lady and hope she will keep inspiring us. 

Writing the MA thesis at Nagi Gompa

This semester is my last in the MA program, so I decided to spend most of my time at Nagi, our nunnery, so that I could write in a relaxed way and hopefully digest the information more thoroughly from having few distractions.  Although I miss our shedra sangha and especially the opportunity to talk about the dharma with such kind and learned students and teachers, it has been extremely helpful to have more mental space for contemplation and less activity to take my mind away from the material I’m writing about.  
Since I haven’t enjoyed writing until now, much of what I have learned so far this spring is how this can be a creative and artistic project, something both fun and meaningful which hopefully will clarify my many doubts, partial understandings, and misunderstandings regarding “the path” and how all the different levels of teachings fit together for the individuals who travel it.   In my past years of study writing papers was always something I did on the side, usually not leavi…

First-year class 2008

In September 2008 assembled a motley group of people from all around world in Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s shrine room for a welcome reception. We had all made the excellent decision to come to Nepal to do the BA in Buddhist studies here at RYI. Although we did not know each other I sensed at that time a certain spirit of companionship in the room that would increase over the coming months and years. 

More than five years later a good number of those people came together for a joyful reunion in the restaurant 'Flavors' (now moved to a different place and prices more than tripled). We talked about the good old times that have changed into good new times and we drank a lot of hot water against the cold.

Mark your calendar for our 10-year anniversary in November 2018 to celebrate at Boudhanath!

Congratulations go out to Andreas Kilchmann!

Andreas Kilchmann has successfully defended his Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies dissertation. Big congratulations! 

The title of his dissertation is: 
His supervisor was Dr. Karin L. Meyers and the External Reader was Roger Jackson,  Professor of Asian Studies and Religion at Carleton College.
Andreas Kilchmann  from Switzerland  traveled the world extensively for leisure and business  before he started his studies at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in 2006. He graduated from RYI's Bachelor of Arts program in Buddhist Studies with Himalayan Language in spring 2011. Later in the fall, Andreas continued his studies by enrolling in RYI's Masters program. While studying diligently during the term, he enjoyed exploring Nepal by motorbike during the term breaks. 

We wish you all the best for your future!

Congratulations Adam Kane!

Congratulations to Adam Kane, who successfully defended his MA thesis. 
The dissertation is entitled: 

The thesis supervisor was Dr. Philippe Turenne and the External Reader was Dr. Lara Braitstein, Associate Professor at McGill University.
Adam graduated from Duke University and had been working for the Pundarika Foundation before joining RYI's Translator Training Program in 2009. After completing the 12 month long intensive course, Adam enrolled in the Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies program at RYI.

Adam is a gifted translator and instructor and has joined RYI's faculty as translator in 2011. Since then he is translating for the philosophy classes and the Buddhist Studies Summer course. He is also teaching in the Translator Training Program. 

We wish him all the best for the future. 

Reading week

At the middle of the semester, it is always good to take a little bit of rest from all the study, which is why we have reading week. But for some reason, this week is not called “relaxing week”. 
For sure, we all like to relax a little bit, but if they call it “relaxing week”, we may just relax too much! So I’m in favor of the present name, “reading week”. Moreover, at least for me, this time is how it looks like.

Some like to use this week to travel and visit some places in Nepal or even India, others to practice, others to advance in writing essays or doing homework, and maybe in many cases to do a little bit of everything.

This time for me, as part of my subjects’ work this semester, I’m doing quite a bit of reading, particularly on the Lotus Sutra and related articles, as well as memorizing verses for the philosophy class. As part of the Translation Project class, I’m also translating a couple of public teachings from Gampopa, which involves reading... but in Tibetan!

Translating from…

Congratulations Ishwor Shrestha!

The Rangjung Yeshe Institute is delighted to congratulate Ishwor Shrestha on the occasion of successfully defending his MA thesis. 
"The Politics of Devotion."
The thesis supervisor was Dr. Philippe Turenne
and the External Reader was Khenpo Ngawang Jorden, Ph.D. Director of IBA in Kathmandu. 

Ishwor Shrestha is from Nepal and previously completed a Bachelors degree in Philosophy and Sociology at Tribhuvan University before he began his studies at RYI. Ishwor joined the Centre for Buddhist Studies at RYI in 2005 when he enrolled in the Bachelors program later graduating in 2008. Before commencing graduate studies he attended classes at Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute in Chauntra, India. In 2010 Ishwor enrolled in the Master of Arts program in Buddhist Studies at RYI. To financially support his studies, Ishwor worked as a library assistant and he also received the Khyentse Foundation - RYI merit-based scholarship.

Ishwor has three children and wonderfully managed to balan…

Accumulating Merit for All Sake of Sentient Beings

Studying Buddhism in Rangjung Yeshe Institute is a great opportunity for us to cleanse our adventitious defilement, which we have accumulated since beginningless time via our three doors (speech, mind and body).

These Dharma teachings turn any of our mistaken directions towards the virtuous path and pacify all our unwholesome or impure activities within our daily life.
Every single morning before we start our classes our  teachers (Khenpos or Lopons) remind us to maintain our pure motivations and conduct while we listen to the Dharma teaching. We are doing virtuous activities while learning these Dharma texts. For that reason we should consider that we are practicing the most precious Buddhadharma to benefit all sentiment beings from all over the world with our pure motivation. We are not studying only for our individual benefit or just for fun.

Therefore we have been doing virtuous actions and thinking virtuous thought every single day in order to accumulate our merit for the liberation…

Congratulations Gwen!

Congratulations to Gwenaelle Witt-Doerring, who successfully defended her MA Thesis!

"Slob dpon bson nam rste mo and his saintly death: Illuminating the 2nd Founding Father's Position within the Sakya Tradtion."
The thesis supervisor was Dr. Karin L. Meyers and the External Reader was Khenpo Ngawang Jorden, Ph.D.
Director of IBA in Kathmandu. 

Gwen started her Buddhist Studies career in her home town, at the University of Vienna where she studied Tibetology.  In 2007 she transferred to the Bachelor's program at the Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute. 

Taking a break from the BA program studies, Gwen entered the one year Translator Training program in 2009 and after successfully completing this intensive program, continued her BA studies and graduated in 2010. 
In the same year she enrolled in the Master of Arts program in Buddhist Studies. 
Gwen secured a scholarship from Tsadra Foundation for her MA studies at CBS. After completing the MA work, she joi…

Studying with the monks

In 2008 I arrived in Boudhanath to take a break from my job and to study a little bit of Buddhist philosophy. Now, I am still here and am privileged to study - kindly supported by the Tsadra foundation – in the monks’ shedra.  At the moment we are studying Chandrakirti’s  Madhyamakavatara bhashya. From all the good things I have experienced at RYI in Boudhanath the monk shedra is certainly the climax. Khenpo Urgyen Tenphel unpacks Chandrakirti’s complicated text in a highly lucid way with clear Tibetan sentences … well, it’s still sometimes too fast for my limited capacity but there is also a review class and I also meet regularly with Paul, my intelligent Western colleague in this class, to go again through difficult passages.
But best of all is certainly the presence of the monks with whom we study. They are the most friendly, relaxed, humble, and faithful people I have ever met in this life. It makes me want to be one of them in my next life…
~Gerd from Austria

Unpretentious advice to new students

As a result of my short but fruitful experience in the first year of the BA program, I thought it could be worthwhile to give some unpretentious advice that might be of benefit for any student of the Shedra; even though they are destined especially to the new comer students. If you are one of these fortunate people, welcome to RYI. I hope these lines are helpful to you.
First of all, don’t lose your heart. Probably you have already heard about the great amount of energy that studying in a reputed place like RYI demands: memorizing scores of words a week, writing multitude of papers, studying complex topics of philosophy, and so on. In first place, you must be confident that such goal is completely attainable for anyone. However, since probably you will need to strive and this endeavour might not be a piece of cake, be ready to push yourself. If you try to do things well, perhaps you will reach the point where you will feel at least slightly overwhelmed by the work you have to do. At th…

Congratulations to Gerd Klintschar - MA graduate!

Congratulations to Gerd Klintschar, who successfully defended his MA Thesis in May and now also had his final version of the thesis approved!

The dissertation is entitled,'The Arhat Peak and its Position on the Tibetan Madhyamaka Plateau On the Question of Realization of Śrāvakas and Pratyekabuddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.'
The thesis supervisor was Dr. Philippe Turenne and the External Reader was Dr. Douglas S. Duckworth. 
Gerd Klintschar is from Austria and already holds a Doctor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Graz. He joined the Centre for Buddhist Studies in 2008 when he enrolled in the Bachelors program and graduated in 2011 before joining the MA program in Buddhist Studies. Gerd has been working as a teaching assistant for a BA course in his last year of MA studies.
Gerd Klintschar's studies at CBS have been financially supported by a scholarship through the Tsadra Foundation. Currently Gerd studies together with the monks in the monastic Sangye Yeshe …