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Showing posts from March, 2016

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER FESTIVAL

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From water fights on Holi to door to door music performances on Tihar, one thing that Nepal does not suffer a shortage of is festivals. The rich culture of the diverse ethnic groups can be observed during these festivals, during which all kinds of activities are engaged in. This semester I was lucky enough to be able to accompany some friends to their Deusi re performance during Tihar, which involves boys/ young men performing traditional and/or modern songs at different houses in exchange for gifts of money, food, sweets and blessings. As for the girls, dressed in colourful dresses and adornments, they perform Bhailo. Boys and girls alike practise for months in preparation for their performances, with some spending the majority of their month long holiday (for Dashain, yet another festival) in practice. 

Traditional swings made out of bamboo referred to as ping also sprang up around the city during the Dashain festival. Needless to say, I enjoyed a swing or two, much to the excitement…

An environment filled with spiritual beauties

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A good environment plays a crucial role in life. As a dharma practitioner and a dharma student, an environment that is full of spiritual beauty is extraordinarily helpful and indispensable. For me RYI is the place, which is full of spiritual beauty.
Every morning when I step in and face towards the shrine door I naturally become so calm and peaceful. Spiritual intentions naturally begin to arise, begin to pervade in my mind and begin to overcome my negative thoughts. I become full of spiritual thoughts. Whenever it is time for me to exit spiritual thought like doing dedication prayer naturally arises in my mind and makes my mind so blissful. Just by entering in and exiting makes a big difference: it helps to twist my untamed mind that roams in the realm of non-dharmic deeds, and helps to direct my distracted mind towards the sublime dharma.
Spiritual sounds of wonderful chanting, debating, teachings, and many more can be heard always. These all make my mind so joyful. They grasp my att…

Bod la 'gro

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This summer I went to a place called with many names. Some call it Tibet, some China. But this leaves us geographically uncertain, and with political allegiances. Some refer to it broadly as the Tibetan cultural zone or as historical Tibet. But this precision makes for quite a mouthful.
Whatever you care to call it, this summer I went with nothing more than a backpack, a notebook, and change of clothes. I traveled with Tibetan poets and discussed modern literature, witnessed an angry monk tear down posters of Mao Ze Dong in a bookstore, observed scriptures being block printed in Derge, slept in a tent with nomads, held an audience with Khenpo Sodargay of Serta, and returned home with a suitcase full of texts as if I were a lotsawa of old.

Now, this isn’t because I’m an important somebody or in any way special. Instead, it is because this land and its people are. What I would like to share here is that, if you consider yourself a Tibetologist and/or a student of Tibetan Buddhism and its …

Drupchen

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Nepal is truly a Shambala for me. In Nepal, you see dharma, you feel dharma, and you hear dharma all the time. Every day you are inspired to practice dharma by being around so many physical representations of the enlightened body, speech, and mind of the Buddha.  One of my favorite experiences here has been attending drupchen, which means “great accomplishment.” Drupchen is a Vajrayana Buddhist practice in which the entire Sangha, including both monks and lay practitioners, gets together to read an important sadhana. The drupchen that I recently attended was called the Ngakso drupchen. In this drupchen, we read a sadhana that is a terma (treasure) hidden by Guru Rinpoche and revealed by the Great Terton Dechen Chogyur Lingpa. During the drupchen, while everyone is reciting the sadhana, the monks play a rich symphony of religiously inspired music with a variety of instruments, including drums, horns, and conch shells. The result is a holy and powerful atmosphere. All kinds of people who c…

As a Dream -- Studying at RYI

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When I consider my past and consider that I am now a third-year student at RYI, it seems like a dream. After finishing high school, I left my family in Macau and came to reside in my Master’s Ladang in Kathmandu. In the Ladang, you enter a system that is totally different from other monastic communities. There are no classes to study the Sutras or to study Buddhist philosophy. There are only classes for memorizing the texts used in prayers but most of the time is spent doing housework, making Torma for various prayer rituals, fulfilling prayer requests made by practitioners, attending morning and evening prayers, and fulfilling one’s own prayer and mantra commitments. For the most part, the main aim is the practice of Guru Yoga, working and serving the Lama.

As a student in the BA Program, I would like to thank my bro, Lobsang Dorje (American Lobsang), who suggested that I study in RYI when I visited him in America in 2012 and 2013. I had never considered entering a BA program to stud…