RYI’s Khenpo Class 

– Thi Ly Ly Tran

The very distinguishing class provided in the BA program at RYI compared to other academic Buddhist study programs is the Khenpo class. As normally it is not usual for a traditional buddhist teaching to be given in such a systematic way outside the monastery, this class therefore is so extremely precious for us who are very fortunate to take part in. The Khenpo class occurs every day during the week. Studying every day in this way like a routine helps us continuously engage in the teaching and therefore creates a good condition for students to effectively reflect on the profound meaning of the texts. In addition, we also have an open group review session among students with the kind help of a translator for clarification and discussion. Another thing I pretty much appreciate not only in the master class but also in the review class is that students are very much encouraged to ask questions, and welcomed to ask. As questions are like food for the interest, the more we ask, the more we grow. All students receive the teaching on Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra – “A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life ”,a famous Mahayana text of Śāntideva from Lopons in the first two semesters. Although it is a challenge for most of us to grasp so many new Buddhist concepts, the Bodhisattva’sWay of Life is very inspiring and brings us tremendous joy. From the teaching, we do not only learn intellectual knowledge but also behavior and positive thinking (or “virtuous thought” in Buddhist context) which are great supports for maintaining a fresh mind to keep engaging in study. I am in the fourth semester now and we are studying another big text called Madhyamakāvatāra of Candrakīrti, which main subject is emptiness. Again, to be in contact with this kind of scripture is mind-blowing for me and RYI has provided it. Of course, studying such a big text is not easy but my interest and appreciation toward Buddhist teachings keeps growing as I learn. I feel thankful to be RYI’s student 🙂 

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