I am at Utpala Restaurant to pay my course fee for the spring semester. Someone mentions there’s a large gathering at the lha khang under the classrooms at RYI, and that lay practitioners are allowed in. I wander tentatively towards the gompa. Hesitant, I stand outside the hall, peeping in through the windows. I soak in the music of the trumpets and the rhythm of the drums. I realize how much I have missed this, for nearly a year. One had taken this background music for granted as one grappled with particles in Tibetan, grammatical structures in Sanskrit, and fine points of Buddhist philosophy in the classrooms upstairs.
Two friends sitting in the hall catch my eye and usher me in. I enter gladly. A cushion is offered. A seat emerges. There are Methodology Readings to be completed for classes this week. As my friends pray next to me, I pore at a reading. How easy it is to focus here! A decision is made. Every afternoon, I find myself back at the lha khang. Information about the formation of canons in Tibet is being absorbed much more easily here than on my balcony at home. Here in this wonderful lha khang, in the presence of Chokling Rinpoche’s kudung, with the benign support of monks, nuns and lay-practitioners, I feel lucky and happy.
I could get addicted to this. Methodology at the Drubchen it is! Studying to the sound of trumpets, resounding drums and sonorous chants. I could get addicted to this.