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I have now completed three years studying Buddhist Philosophy with Himalayan Languages at the Kathmandu University Center for Buddhist Studies, Rangjung Yeshe Institute (RYI). Fortunately everything went as I wished, I had a really enjoyable three years at RYI, and did not meet any of the problems I had worried about. I am so grateful that this program, based upon Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery and Khyentse Foundation Scholarship program, has been so successful. I studied as hard as I could, always remembering their kindness in supporting my study at RYI. My wish is for everyone to have the opportunity of studying Buddhism at RYI and to become tolerant people for the sake of all sentient beings and for the benefit of both this life and coming lives. I cannot express how useful and beneficial this program is for lay practitioners both from a worldly and religious point of view, and also often think how wonderful it would be if a few programs like this existed for lay practitioners in each region of Tibet.
I really rejoice that people from all over the world come here and have the opportunity to study Buddhism and to become tolerant humanity. There are so many wonderful hard workers, supportive teachers and model students at RYI. I learned a lot from my experiences with them apart from studying Buddhism and thus I really appreciate them.
However, as we can see, there are only a few Himalayan students at RYI, especially Tibetan students, and I encourage them to join the program so that they can also have the opportunity I have had. Yes, it is not easy, but it is definitely achievable if you can submit each assignment on time, and improve step by step. The accumulation of unfinished assignments is the worst burden; if you can avoid this habit you will surely be a winner with your studies at RYI.
Yes, writing academic essays in English is very hard since some of us lack experience in this. However, RYI have now organized a student writing essay guide, which is really helpful to get us onto the path of the American style of writing essays, and it would be great for RYI to continue this very useful project.
If I could take the BA course over again I would do two things differently. I would take more philosophy classes in English or mixed (Tibetan) rather than focus on language classes, as I want to continue to study on the MA course at RYI. In order to complete the MA course at RYI, I must be an excellent academic English essay writer. Thus, I need to familiarize myself with all those secondary sources in Buddhist philosophy by western scholars.
However, before I took those classes that focus on secondary sources I should have taken more of the Khenpo classes, whether translated or un-translated, in order to understand the Buddha’s teaching more deeply. This is in order to raise my faith in Buddhist teachings, and not let it be shocked by the views of others on Buddhist teachings, whether practical or academic. The Khenpo classes are also a foundational tool for listening to, reflecting on and cultivating the Dharma.
If you are a Tibetan student who graduated from TCV secondary high school and comes from Tibet with an educational background in Tibetan language, I am sure it would be useful to consider some of my experience of studying at RYI, and perhaps join the course as a student in the near future.