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 study Buddhism. Since it had been such a long time since I have attended school, I never thought I would pick up my school bag again, but I am elated to have been taught by wonderful teachers from such famous universities (i.e., Harvard University, University of Chicago, and Boston Collage) and I am grateful to have met students from around the world with whom I have had the opportunity to study and to develop friendships. At RYI, I never feel as if I am studying in isolation; I am studying with friends who are helpful and who are, as I am, studying to acquire the knowledge to attain liberation and enlightenment.
English is not my mother tongue and it has been many years since I took a formal English class in school. Writing, expressing myself, in English has been a challenge, but teachers at RYI have tried their best to help me improve my writing. RYI has even offered free courses to help students who have trouble with English. Moreover, when I reflect on what Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche said when he visited our philosophy class during my first year (i.e., “Studying at RYI is neither for the practitioner nor the scholar. We have to become both together, practitioner and scholar”), I am happy to be here. Therefore, I see studying at RYI as an integral part of my wish to be of benefit to countless being, and it reflects Shantideav’s instruction: one must study and learn as much as one can because such study will be of benefit to other beings.
~Lobsang from UK