Kathmandu: Challenging and Dreamlike 

-Ling Zhao, MATTIP student from China

Six years ago, on the eve of the Tibetan New Year, I went to Nagi Gompa with my friends without any plans. There I attended the 10-day Dzogchen puja. During the puja, I met Rinpoches, experienced life that I had never experienced before, and also saw magical celestial phenomena. On the night of the puja, when the music of the ritual instruments sounded throughout the Kathmandu Valley and was dedicated to all sentient beings, I realized that I could never go back to my previous life. 

So, I hurriedly ended my work in Shanghai and came to Kathmandu. At Rinpoche’s suggestion, I came to study at RYI. Although life in Kathmandu is peaceful, the tranquility also contains various challenges. In Boudha, the Vajrayana mandala, many challenges are unavoidable when they come, and the pain index will increase several times. For me, studying at RYI is a big challenge, because for someone like me who has a poor English foundation, it is very difficult to complete my studies at RYI. 

I think it was with Rinpoche’s blessing and the help of my bodhisattva-like teachers and friends that I was able to complete my BA studies and graduated successfully. Although it took me six years and I wanted to give up countless times during this period, I finally completed it and further applied for MA studies. Over the past six years, through studying Himalayan languages, Buddhism, and other subjects, I have gone from being a complete novice in Buddhism to becoming a student with some preliminary understanding of Buddhism. In the process, I also learned a lot of methods and broadened my view of the world. 

Looking back on the dream-like time I spent living in Kathmandu for more than three years, it was perhaps the most unforgettable time in my life. The sky of the Stupa, the rainbow after the rain, the gorgeous clouds, the spiritual pigeons, the loyal crows, the somewhat fierce monkeys, the black dog “tour guides” at the scenic spots, the friendly Nepalese, and the smiling beggars, these are forever left in my memory. 

Peaceful, challenging, and dreamlike, maybe this is Kathmandu

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