What is RYI? Rangjung Yeshe Institute right? This cool place you can study Tibetan and learn all about Buddhism. The best thing is that now we can study online from anywhere in the world! Right? Nope, unfortunately not. So what is RYI? I am sure every person has a different idea of it, but to sum it up from my own perspective: RYI is a magnet, set in this magical place of Boudha, in a beautiful monastery, just a step away from the Himalayas, magnetising wonderful people from all over the world. The studies at RYI is just half of it, the other half is the friends, the stupa and just being in Boudha. Even though Boudha is very much in a city, Boudha is a small village within a city, where RYI is yet an even smaller ‘bubble’.
RYI 2020 (and probably 2021) is RYI lockdown style. I feel the ‘magic’ of being a RYI-er is watered-down by the internet studies. I never realised how much of being at RYI was the people and the place, and took it for granted. I miss the early morning walks to class, saying hi to people you’ve never talked to and finishing assignments at the last minute at Himalayan Java. But the most important thing is, despite the dust and plastic fires (i.e. fires that burn plastic), is that now I appreciate the Boudha-RYI life much much more.
Although this style of studying is the reality of the situation, I am happy that I can still continue studying and seeing my friend in class, even if it may not be the most preferable way. And actually, now I have a lot more time to focus on my work. Even though a human needs distractions such as friends and cheap restaurants to go to, it means that the day is filled with other activities. But now, RYI lockdown style means that assignments and memorisation have a lot more time to get done. So, despite the unwelcomed situation us RYI-ers (and the rest of the world) is facing, there is still good side to it, we all have more time, not just in our studies, but perhaps in self-reflection and maybe taking a step back from ‘it all’.
~ Alexandria S Dhami