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Showing posts from 2019

A letter to Classical Tibetan

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A letter to Classical Tibetan


Dear Classical Tibetan,
our story began three years ago, when I came to Nepal to study a Buddhist text at a Shedra, and they also offered Classical Tibetan lessons. In the beginning, I was amazed by all your lines and squiggles, since I never learned an alphabet different from my own. When I first managed to transform these squiggles into actual sounds, I thought the hardest part would lie behind me. Little did I know. You forced me through your spellings that just made zero sense to me, and then you threw all these particles at me until I couldn’t feel my brain anymore. In the beginning, all I could understand were sentences about yaks and rabbits drinking tea. I hadn’t looked at a sutra in my life, and I was planning to keep it that way. But with your subtle but persistent charm you lured me into RYI, and there I was, sitting in a proper class setting, learning your expressions for Dharma things. Slowly I got to read along puja texts and understanding a wor…

Feelings

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THE FEELINGS
Firstly as the recipient of the South Asia and Himalayan Scholarship, I am highly honored and would like to express my sincere heartfelt gratitude for the tremendous support bestowed to me through this scholarship. Without a doubt this scholarship will play key role in my educational dreams and I knew I had been given the privilege to attend a prestigious program that not many people were lucky enough to which bestowed in me a sense of obligation to use the opportunity effectively.
Changes can make people overwhelm with the newness of the situation. Moving from a high school to a university is one of the largest changes to my life. I was very excited, since I finally made it to the university that I and my parents dreamed about. But then at the very beginning it’s hard to put my nerves to the bed, as I felt that I entered some new world and this program made me realize how big and complex the world really is. Will I fit? Am I smart enough? Will I be able to relate creditabl…

Muara Jambi – The Sources of Atisha’s Lojong

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Muara Jambi – The Sources of Atisha’s Lojong   
I was born in Jambi, a town in Central Sumatra. Half hour from Jambi, there is the Muara Jambi Temple Compounds. Most people have heard of the Buddhist temple complexes in Indonesia, such as Borobudur, are located on the island of Java. Apparently, a lot of people do not know that in Sumatera island, precisely in Jambi, there is one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in South East Asia – Muara Jambi Compounds. Compared to Borobudur, the Muara Jambi temple complex is much smaller and more dispersed. This makes it a bit challenging for visitors to see everything.
The Muara Jambi Compound was believed by some archeologists to be a center of Buddhist studies and practices in the past. Moreover, Atisha was also believed to receive the precious teaching of bodhicitta (enlightenment mind) here from his teacher Serlingpa Dharmakirti (or also known as Svarnadvipa Guru).[1] Due to the kindness of his teacher, Atisha could teach and spread the …

Basking Under the Dharma Sun

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Basking Under the Dharma Sun

"Buddhist Studies? Wow, so interesting. Where?" starts the familiar drill.
"In Nepal," I reply.
"Oh!!.....where in Nepal?"
"In Kathmandu."
"Oh okay....is it in the main city of Kathmandu itself?"
"Yes, but not in the city center. It's in a neighborhood called Boudha."
"Ahh..alright. What did you say it was called?"
"Rangjung Yeshe Institute."

This is often followed by a head nod, an "Ahh, I see...," or the plain old awkward silence. Sometimes though, I am given an eager look anticipating a response, as if just uttering the name of the college was insufficient without an explanation of the intentions behind my decision.

As I finish my semester of classes, this interrogative expression doesn't confound me as much as it did before moving to Kathmandu valley. Having to state the series of causes and conditions that contributed to me quitting a job I loved to study B…

Truckin'

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Truckin’
The last 100 days in Boudha, as I approach the end of my first semester of study at Rangjung Yeshe and first time in Nepal, remind me of that line from the Grateful Dead song Truckin’:Sometimes the lights all shinin’ on me, other times I can barely see. But lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.


Such an odd choice of adjectives and perhaps song lyrics isn’t to convey a lack of enjoyment or signal discontentment, don’t get me wrong. The learning has been tremendous. Just that lessons have coalesced, spontaneously and unexpectedly across my windshield. I hope I don’t miss my turning. I decided three years ago I wanted to study Buddhism and I still think my understanding of the subtle and profound Dharma is basic and contrived. But the last three months have felt like I’m heading somewhere. I can’t explain why, but it’s a feeling I have.



A friend here at RYI, who’s wiser than I will ever be, over beers casually remarked that he’s always grateful for intense, a…
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Come here and bring them over

Kathmandu valley is certainly richly packed with holy places, and even the Boudhanath area alone, full of monasteries, lamas and holy objects as it is, would be a good destination for a potential pilgrim.
If you’re anything like me, though, your family members (and many of your friends) might not be typical Buddhist pilgrims at all. They might not want to tour the four great places associated with Buddha’s life, or attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings, or even go to your local Buddhist center. However, if you are here, they might want to see how you’re doing—and, of course, tour around a little bit (how often do they go to Asia in general or Nepal in particular?) Don’t miss on that chance to hook them to something virtuous!
Many of the objects in the Kathmandu valley have the reputation of “liberation upon seeing”. Tibetan Buddhists believe that seeing a holy stupa—or even a sticker with a mantra, for that matter—leaves a powerful imprint in the mind: something…

Learning how to unlearn

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Learning how to unlearn

My father once told me that the majority of the people who seek spirituality have had some kind of bad experience or dissatisfaction in their dealings with the materialistic world. He further explained that out of this dissatisfaction, and in the hope of quenching their thirst of frustration, people embark on the search for a peace and happiness in the spiritual world which they could not find in the materialistic world. Unlike monks who start their spiritual path from childhood, it is very rare that an individual engages in spiritual path seriously, without any of such unsatisfying experiences, he added.
He might well have been describing the path I’ve taken to date. A sense of dissatisfaction and frustration with the workings of this world made me think long and hard, and prompted my search for a spiritual oasis. I feel truly fortunate to have stumbled upon RYI. The first thing that struck me about RYI is that everybody looked so happy and bright The Rinpoches…

Importance of talking it out

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Importance of talking it out


I am a talkative person, who loves to chat and make new friends. I am someone who’s gifted with the power of creativity; poetry is my way of expressing my feelings, thoughts and so on. I may be short tempered but sadness rarely appears on my face. I am the outgoing member of my family and the social being.
However, first slowly but then suddenly I found myself to be someone other than who I really am. I was utterly smashed by my inability to separate my personal and professional life. I would not speak. I could not write any poetry. I could not even wear a mask of superficial happiness. I preferred, sometimes even craved, isolation over socializing.
As a non-western student in western academic education system, I started taking all the “knowledge” that I had learnt literally. With the sudden increase of assignments, papers, and tons of readings, the rate of critical analysis arose quickly. My otherwise carefree persona was completely suppressed by an extreme…

How Visitors make me feel at Home

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How Visitors make me feel at Home

When I was leaving two years ago for Nepal to study at RYI, many people at home were surprised about my choice. Sure, many heard of Nepal as a place where you can do trekking and have some adventures, but studying? That was not really a classic activity associated with Nepal, and especially since it hasn’t been long after the earthquake, people were quite skeptical. However, some of my friends were also excited to know somebody “out there” that they could eventually come and visit. “Yeah right”, I thought to myself. As if they would actually do that. Of course I was surprised then that just after studying at RYI for 2 months, one of my friends spontaneously decided to come to visit me and use the opportunity to do some trekking. That was the first visit and at the beginning I found it a bit strange to have people from my “old life” join me in my “new life” for a period of time. But since then, I have gotten quite used to having at least one visitor fro…

Ri-gyal The Glorious Mountains

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རི་རྒྱལ།  - The Glorious Mountains

ཨའ་རི་རྒྱལ་ཡའ་རི་རྒྱལ་ལྷུན་པོ། ཁྱེད་ནི་ས་གོ་ལ་ཡི་རྒྱན་ཆ་ཡིན་ལ། ཁྱེད་ནི་ཧིན་ཏུ་རྒྱ་མཚོའི་ཁ་གཏད་ཡང་ཡིན། ཁྱེད་ནི་གཏེར་རིགས་ཀུན་ཀྱི་བང་མཛོད་ཡིན་ལ། ཁྱེད་ནི་རྩེ་ཤིང་སྟོང་གི་བཤམ་ཁང་ཡང་ཡིན ཁྱེད་ནི་མཛོ་གཡག་ལུག་གི་ལྷ་ཡུལ་ཡིན་ལ། ཁྱེད་ནི་འགྲོ་བ་མི་ཡི་དཔུང་གཉེན་ཡང་ཡིན། Ah’ mountains yeah, the spontaneous mountains! You are the ornament of the earth, And you are the rival to Indian ocean. You are the storehouse of all minerals, And you are the museum of thousand trees. You are the heaven for Dzos, yaks, and sheep, And you are the protector for human beings.
ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་དགུང་ལ་བསྙེགས་པའི་སྐྱེ་སྟོབས་ལ་སུ་ཡིས་འགྲན་ཕོད་ལ། ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་སྒྲ་མེད་ཞི་བའི་གླུ་དབྱངས་དེ་སུ་ཡིས་གོ་ཡང་ནུས། ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་དབུ་སྐྲའི་ལྷན་སྐྱེས་་དྲི་ཞིམ་དེ་སུ་ཡིས་རྔུབ་ནུས་ལ། ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བུ་གའི་དངས་གཙང་རྒྱུགས་ཆུ་དེ་སུ་ཡིས་སྤྱོད་པར་ནུས། Who can compare with your sky-reaching growth? Who can hear your music of silence and peace? Who can inhale the natural fragrance of your hair? Who can enjoy the pristine stream of your facult…

Colloquial Tibetan is Fun

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Colloquial Tibetan Is Fun

                  I have taken colloquial Tibetan I this semester, thinking that it would complement my learning of Tibetan Buddhism. However, learning colloquial Tibetan in RYI proves to be just more than that, its great fun. To be honest, I had missed a lot of classes this semester, nevertheless the time when I was in the class were all about learning with fun.

The classes are managed in such a way that one does not get monotonous by the similar way of teaching. For that, RYI divides the course into three different ways; the master class, language partner class and the boost class. The master class involves the learning of the grammar, language partner class is about interaction with another Tibetan partner and boost class is revisiting what you have learned. All these classes are conducted in a different setting, for example the Language partner class is conducted in the RYI restaurant, boost class in another room and so on. If I have to choose one from amon…