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What It’s Really Like! August 20, 2007

Posted by Karen in Blogroll, Personal Perspectives.
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kathmandu valleyThe whole Kathmandu Valley is like a wide bowl, with layered tiers of mountains seen from everywhere within it. Every “view” has as its backdrop, a treescape that refreshes the rising foothills of the Himalayas.

With its marble halls and panoramic views of multi-coloured, multi-storied buildings studding the surrounding farmland, the IBA offers a vibrant and uplifting study environment. Years ago, after my teacher, Geshe Tashi Namgyal had visited Khenpo Appey Rinpoche here in Nepal, Geshe-la would answer his Canadian students’ detailed questions on Sanskrit-based terminology in Buddhist Psychology, by saying, “You must go to Khenpo Appey Rinpoche’s school. There you can really learn all these things”.

I never considered going half-way across the world, myself, until, one day, Geshe-la handed us brochures that had just arrived at our Dharma Centre from the IBA.

To my astonishment, after reading about the multi-year course plan that included texts I had heard so much about, but never directly studied, I discovered that the comparatively low costs of studying and living here dramatically offset the costs of travelling here! A further exploration of the website and its student video tipped the balance, especially the footage of the departed master Chobgyay Trichen Rinpoche waving, smiling divinely, radiating perfect encouragement. Given that life is short it was easy to decide that I indeed, “must go to Khenpo Appey Rinpoche’s school”!

I’m so happy that I made the decision. Here I am, making meaningful connections with fellow practitioners, in a serene, friendly place where I’m able to concentrate on studying foundational Mahayana texts with knowledgeable, accessible, kind and genuinely qualified teachers. The Tibetan language study is a wonderful bonus, and truly a bonding experience with fellow students. Later on, it will be useful but for now, it’s fun!

From my perspective, this is “What It’s Really Like” here. For you, as it always is for me, it depends on what you bring to the situation. If it’s a flexible attitude, a willingness to help and to be helped, a love of listening, contemplating and meditating on the teachings, and a determination to use your precious time wisely, then your experience can truly benefit your practice, and through it, benefit others.

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