Generally speaking, the academic environment is consider to be a place of competition and incentive for inflated egos. A place where the best ones are persons that, as having a superior status in comparison from others, always keep a distance that shows and reinforce he or she superiority. As result, to the so called lower ones there are only the hope to attain the same status, no matter what is necessary to do.
Fortunately, in diametrical opposition, even the formal aspect of an university being sustained in RYI – Rangjung Yeshe Institute, here what we experience is a place where the teachers and colleagues support each other and rejoice for others’ victories and achievements.
A place where the role of the worldly identities are object of contemplation and gentle exercises of transformation and purification. Nothing is discarded, everything is recognized in their wisdom aspect and as skillful means to generate benefit to others. Who is in an incontestable situation of superiority is who stay closer of the simple ones, of the learners and beginners; always being an excellent source of inspiration and example of kindly care.
In our daily academic routine, it is common, very common, we meet Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche kindly talking with the little monks from Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, many of them from poor families and with sorrowful experiences in a such young age. Rinpoche always ask their names and then call them “Khenpo Tashi”, “Lopon Sonam – in a clear way to incentive them to take as example the many monastic scholars and realized practitioners that this monastery bring forth.
The same occurs when Rinpoche come to our classes. He always share inspirational histories and want to know about every one, if we are happy, what we are doing, what are our aspirations. He always pointed out the qualities of the teachers and translators and incentive us to follow their example, as professionals as well as practitioners.
Thus, here we have a real example that is possible to combine the traditional approach is Buddhism studies with a modern academic formation. And also it is provided to us the effective support for we become better person, through the inspiration and example of ours kind-hearted Masters, Teachers, Translators and all the Staff from the RYI.
We are indeed very fortunate… I rejoice!!!
~ Jigme Choedzin from Brazil