A Place Where the Dharma Feels Alive
I took this photo when I finished school one day, chancing upon the monks who had just finished their evening Puja. Their yellow robes were rather conspicuousagainst the white walls and marble ground. This reminds me of some words said by previous masters in those commentaries, that one should respect even tiny piecesof red or yellow cloth, as they are representations of the auspicious Three Jewels. In this so-called “time of degeneration“, we are still able to study full-time the dharma, the scientific method that brings mundane and super-mundane benefits to both ourselves and others, and get to call ourselves practitioners, I guess for this, or for this scene alone, I am already grateful.
This is my first time in this country. As a first-year BA student at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, my focus here is on the Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy. The language course here is very intensive: Before I came here, I’ve finished the alphabet and pronunciation courses by myself, but still, being bombarded byboth classical and colloquial Tibetan grammars is something very exciting yet unforeseen. It takes some effortbefore one’s brain could react the random sounds and grammatical system as a language, but after that, everything becomes natural and easier to follow. I call this Phase 1 of adults’ “Language Acquisition”. I noticed soon enough that the way this language system is presented at class is actually fairly scientific, which must have involved much pedagogicalresearch of the teaching staff. This is especially true with the Colloquial class where one could experience a wonderful blend of grammar explanation, games, dialogues and boost session…
What strikes me most at Rangjung Yeshe is its inclusive atmosphere. Not only I found myself surrounded by classmates from across the world as either Buddhist practitioners or non-believers, but more importantly, I noticed that Buddhism itself is studied in a two-stream manner: we have both Khenpo classes teaching classical Buddhist texts like Bodhicaryāvatāra, and also history and culture classes in which Buddhism is studied as a subject within the academic arena. Personally, I consider this a secular extension of the Rimé spirit, with me myself being part of this Buddhism modernism. As a practitioner following the Nyingma school, I feel a strong sense of belonging here. The dynamic vibes of RYI renders itself a wonderful incubator of modern dharma practitioners, scholars, and scholar-practitioners, I am glad that I get to witness its actualization.