Scholar – Practitioner 

-Thi LyLy Tran, a BA student from Vietnam

The 42nd Annual Fall Seminar of Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche was held three weeks before the final exam, when I had quite a lot of homework and essays that needed to be done. The pressure of the exam made me consider more not to attend the seminar but spend time on doing homework. Luckily enough, with the encouragement of my friend, I decided to attend at least the first day of the seminar. But one day has turned to the whole nine days of the program. No need to say, my work has been left undone as a consequence, but I don’t have even a slightest regret. Rinpoche’s teachings bring back to me the whole purpose why I left everything behind to come to Nepal to pursue Dharma. 

  On the last day, Rinpoche said that he is happy as he sees all of us have become more calm, peaceful and nicer as a result of listening to Dharma from authentic teachers. That is so true. Rinpoche also mentioned the fault of us as students not to value the pith instructions enough that will turn our study into dry and mere intellect. His words woke me up and they hit me hard. It’s not that I have been astray by a mere interest in intellect. But the moisture source of inspiration has been drying out. It’s not that compassion has stopped burning in my heart. But I have forgotten to bring Sangha close. The whole burden of responsibilities of what has to be done on the path can become unbearable if we are unable to see it as feasible.  

Nine days of program was not purely nine days of lectures. It was nine days of witnessing how authentic Sangha are on the path. Each moment looking at Rinpoche was a moment of joy. Words serve as basis to reflect on the meaning, but a true practitioner embodies the meaning itself. All the qualities of a bodhisattva were no longer mere words and inaccessible but were ready to be seen. It’s just a matter whether we are ready to open to it or not.  

Rinpoche kept reminding us to be scholar-practitioners, not dry scholars. During dinner time, my friend and I shared our thoughts on this issue. We expressed our desire to have a more dharmic atmosphere at school as nowadays our study seems to be more and more academic. At the end of discussion we both agree that we will organize a Dharma gathering group next semester. As Rinpoche said, that kind of longing for Dharma grows up quite naturally when we receive teachings. And I always believe that “truth speaks by itself with its own voice”. But the longing for the truth needs to be nurtured – with the kindness of a teacher…  

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