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To reiterate what some others have said in their blog posts, Rangjung Yeshe is a special Institution that combines a monastic style approach with “western” academic classes. Through this blog I have read many inspiring testimonials about Rangjung Yeshe and really do think that the Institute deserves the praise it has gotten and more. Yet somehow I have found it difficult to come up with anything new to say about the Institute.
Perhaps it is not enough to just commend the Institute itself. It is definitely wonderful and all that but I believe that Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and gang make this a truly special place to be. Beyond the academic platform it is Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche who seems to make the teachings we receive in the classroom come alive. Being the jaded and small-minded person that I am, I often fall into states of lethargy and procrastination. At times I even find myself labeling the materials I study as dry, intellectual philosophy because they seem far removed from my experience. Yet Rinpoche seems to embody the teachings so perfectly and in the many encounters I have had with him I have come away incredibly inspired.
For example, early on in my Madhyamaka class I remember the Lopen mentioning that compassion is probably the most admirable quality of the Bodhisattvas because it is the driving force of their tireless activities to benefit beings. To me, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche embodies compassion so completely that it is quite uncanny. Just observing how welcoming and accommodating he is and the seemingly endless supply of energy that fuels his kindness has demonstrated this quality. More than just a conviction that he is a living Bodhisattva, this has been inspiring because it gives me confidence that such qualities are genuine, that such attainments are possible. Even the monks at our monastery seem to reflect these qualities and have been exceedingly warm and welcoming.
I fear that I got carried away while writing this and that my post has become too saccharine for my own liking. But then again, having read some of the other posts maybe a little bit of touchy-feely is favorable. In any case, I apologize to readers that may find it distasteful and on that note I will conclude by saying that what makes Rangjung Yeshe truly special is its atmosphere. While I have studied Buddhism in many different settings I believe that what sets Rangjung Yeshe apart are the conditions here that bring the Buddhist teachings to life.
~ Chholay from Bhutan