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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010


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So I have to admit - I went into our ten day retreat at Kopan Monastery with a bit of a naive view of Buddhism. I had this vague idea of nirvana, personal spiritual growth, "OHM", meditation, among other things. And here I am on the flipside, with a head crammed to the brim with knowledge of the dharma, meditation practices, Buddha visualizations, and lots of new ideas and perspectives on one of the world's major religions.

I think the thing that struck me most through our time with the monks was that yes, in fact - Buddhism is actually a religion, complete with prayers, rituals, relics, and some (to me, over-the-top) temples and shrines. As I walked through the monastery garden multiple times a day, I couldn't help but marvel at the bright, Disney-esque colors of the stupa and the beauty and peace of the grounds - a huge contrast with the noise, trash, and pollution of Kathmandu.

Yet the "rangichangi"-ness and gilded and elaborately painted insides of the gompas andthe giant golden Buddha statues actually bothered me a bit through the course of the ten days. I suppose I had thought of Buddhism as quite simplistic, with little value for material grandeur and so on. But there it was: Tibetan Buddhism in all its glory. And despite my misgivings, I did learn a lot. Our meditation sessions and group discussion made me think, hard, about things I found I don't often think about. In fact, all that thinking manifested for me in the form of splitting headaches about midway through the course - and when I talked with Nate and Ani Karin (our course leader, a Swedish nun who's been living at Kopan for the past 30 or so years), they said that things like headaches and physical symptons could be quite normal, especially for someone who's never done a retreat like this before.

There are still loads of things that I don't quite grasp or agree with, at least in this form of Buddhism. Reincarnation, though I like the idea, seems quite farfetched at times. I'm back and forth on the topic of karma; I agree with the basic concept, but sometimes it seems a little too "blame-y" and judgemental. The prostrations and prayer recitation just reminded me way too much of a church service, and while it took me a bit to get used to the idea, I did go ahead and give them a go (and decided it's not really my thing).

But the ideas of universal love and compassion, just the basic concept that everyone should accept and even feel compassion for every other sentient being, well - that's something that I think the whole world could benefit from knowing more about. After doing a meditation session and having a discussion on anger, I've started immediately identifying when something irritates me, and I evaluate where that irritation comes from and how I can look at the situation from another angle, so that I'm not putting those negative thoughts and/or actions out there.

While Kopan showed me that Tibetan Buddhism isn't for me, it did spark an interest in the Japanese style of Zen Buddhism, and I'm looking forward to traveling to Japan and possibly doing another retreat there. I'm also glad to have had an oppurtunity to be totally immersed in a religion and tradition where the practitioners are so heartfult and fully devoted to their beliefs. And mostly, I'm thankful for those ten days in a strange pocket of calm in the midst of Kathmandu, where idle chitchat wasn't necessary and where I could fully wind down and reflect on the past two months, while looking forward to and preparing for the res tof our time here.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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Monk-y Business

Amy Franquet,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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So I have to admit – I went into our ten day retreat at Kopan Monastery with a bit of a naive view of Buddhism. I had this vague idea of nirvana, personal spiritual growth, "OHM", meditation, among other things. And here I am on the flipside, with a head crammed to the brim with […]

Posted On

04/15/10

Author

Amy Franquet

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What about now? Are you aware that you’re aware of reading this? Are you aware of the infinite recession these questions could become? Are you aware of how much they twist my brain until I feel like it’s going to explode?
Writing this while not sitting in the ‘meditation position’ feels pretty strange, having just finished ten days of bum-numbing contemplation. My initial attitude towards our short stay in Kopan Monastery was a sceptical one- to me, Buddhism was ‘that Eastern religion in which they’re nice to animals, and they sit around breathing deeply and thinking about things’ and that was about it. The extent to which that view has changed is hard to describe, as is my happiness that it did.


The reason behind that original scepticism was a concrete, atheistic outlook on life, which I have adopted over the past few years because of what I thought were some solid reasons, such as the narrow-mindedness of dogma, the beauty of the rational reasoning which ridicules such dogma, the arguments against the existence of an omnipotent being, and the numberless examples of religion denying people’s intellectual (especially scientific) and humanitarian progress, which I believed, through the course of human history, had outweighed the good it has caused. Reading as much Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens as I could get my hands on hardly helped.


Anyway, our first few days saw us launching into the ‘nature of the mind’, receiving teachings from the wizened Ani (nun) Karin each morning and a Geshe (PhD-certified monk) in the afternoons, interspersed with meditation sessions. We were introduced to the idea that the mind (consciousness/awareness) is an eternal entity, the reason being that, as a non-physical phenomenon, it cannot have been created by a physical organ, such as the brain. As certain as I am that consciousness is actually a physical phenomenon, the concept was interesting, not least because nobody knows of any distinct proof which can support the argument that it is our brains’ neurons’ electron activity which is responsible for it. Indeed, I was stunned to discover how little is known about the vast majority of the human brain’s functioning, especially concerning what Buddhism calls our sixth ‘gross body’ sense- the mind. Buddhism asserts that this sense is very different from the other five bodily senses, not simply in its operation, but in its very nature. According to Buddha, ‘The Awakened One’ (the first person who thought about this with any result, about 2,500 years ago in northern India), consciousness, while in the post-death/pre-birth state of “Bardo”, “chooses” which being it will be born into, according to magnet-like “karmic imprints” which link the karmic history of that mind to an earthly being, birthplace and a situation in which that karma can “ripen” into actual events. Karma is the Buddhist theory of cause-and-effect, which can transcend lifetimes, accounting for very good/bad things which happen to us despite our not having done very good/bad things to cause them in our known life. An example provided was that somebody who seems to lose their possessions often may have committed an act of theft in their previous life. However, it must be stressed here as much as our teachers did at Kopan- the beings which committed these previous acts are not the same as those on whom the karma unfolds, though they do have the same “mind stream”, which carries the marks of all of their actions. Their personalities, goodness and badness are different; the poor possession-less person should not be branded a thief (unless of course there is evidence from this life). And so the karma accrued over one’s life determines how one will be “re-born”.

This is no small thing, for as well as the potential of escaping this endless mind stream cycle (“samsara”) by attaining enlightenment and realising the true nature of all things (ultimately becoming no longer controlled by the mind’s fabricated “self” which is the cause of all of our deluded negative thoughts and actions), there is the risk of being re-born as an animal, which has a mind but not the capability of using it. Furthermore, there are other mind realms, such as the Hungry Ghost realm, in which tortuous pains and frightening demons abound.


Fortunately though, karma is not the be-all and end-all; if you have a feeling that you’re the victim of some negative karma, whether or not it has been created in this life, it is possible to purify it by following the instructions of your lama (teacher). I feel like I could really do with some anti-confusion purification right now.


I’m not sure how I feel about what this means for individuals’ responsibility for their actions, which I imagine could be defended with this karmic theory (“I didn’t choose to rob this bank, it’s just my karma ripening from when I was a lion and I killed an antelope so I could feed my family” (Buddhism views the act of killing sentient beings as the worst neg-karma contributor, so I suppose one wouldn’t want to be re-born as a carnivore… according to Ani Karin it is very difficult for animals, in their brutally competitive lives, to be reborn as humans, and it is usually the result of some of their previous pos-karma ripening)). Worse yet it could be blamed or mistaken as the ‘only’ cause for events which actually have other suitable explanations (c.f. “The Devil made my wife ill” and “My wife had negative karma” instead of “My wife had the terrible bad luck of catching an illness, though it’s certainly logically explicable and I won’t attribute it to any supernatural force out of my control”). Though maybe that wouldn’t be approaching karma properly…


Shooting our confused and confusing questions about these topics at the teachers, they answered with a calm, cool clarity which more often than not helped us to understand a little more about what they were trying to say. I apologise for my extreme lack of clarity and hope that any of this has made sense!


For a far better explanation of these theories, I would highly recommend Matthieu Ricard’s ‘The Monk and the Philosopher’- a lucid, deep but easily readable summary and debate concerning the main Buddhist philosophies.
Finally, I had a memorable experience with meditation, which is so much more than calming breathing exercises- there are two main types. The first involves the effort of fully experiencing the present the moment and clearing the mind as much as possible in order for its true state to become apparent, bereft of clutter constructed by our “self” (which isn’t really there).


The second- “analytical” meditation, which is infinitely thought-provokingand a reason why we can never be ‘bored’ again- can occur after the first. With the mind clear and at its best, problems or situations (anger, death, relationships, attachment to people and things) can be tackled with diamond-sharp thought, resulting in potentially life-changing realizations about the true nature of things. I haven’t spoken about the difference between ‘Ultimate Truth’ and ‘Conventional Truth’ but I’m still struggling to get to grips with the title of this post so I’ll leave that for another day. Maybe trekking over these ideas will help me understand them a little more. I hope so, for the sake of my sanity…

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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Are you aware that you’re reading this?

Dougie Foster,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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What about now? Are you aware that you’re aware of reading this? Are you aware of the infinite recession these questions could become? Are you aware of how much they twist my brain until I feel like it’s going to explode?Writing this while not sitting in the ‘meditation position’ feels pretty strange, having just finished […]

Posted On

04/15/10

Author

Dougie Foster

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What do you get when you take the chaotic city of Kathmandu and flip it on its head? If your answer is Kopan Monastery then you are spot on. Reflecting upon the environment of Kopan, the first word that comes to mind isn't even a word at all but simply a sighing sound; aaah. Set way up above its dusty, honking, hooting surroundings, a more calming and reflective setting is difficult to imagine. From my experiences throughout the past 10 days of retreat, this setting was highly necessary because although the chaos was removed from an exterior perspective, I encountered far more chaos by looking inside.

Starting out with very little exposure to the Buddhist religion, the majority of concepts and beliefs that were explained to us by Ani Karen in her daily lectures were brand new. Although I found very many difficult to agree with and digest (this being a religion afterall) the most positive apsect of Buddhism was that it truly made me think. Part of the reason I spent the majority of my time in thought was because of the daily morning silences and eventually two day silence, but by the by, this religion is the most logical I have come across so far.

The concept of learning, contemplating and then meditating on the information absorbed, was one that I especially respected. Due to my short-attention span and inexperience with meditation, I therefore spend many of the meditation portions of the day continuing the contemplation part of the process. Many times this amount of self-reflection can be uncomfortable and may produce unexpected bouts of emotion. These can be compassion, causing you to want to give a bear-hug to the unfamiliar German lady sitting cross legged on a cushion beside you, or they can be a stream of water-works that gush down your cheeks as you attempt to forgive all your enemies, or picture the amount of care and love your mother has provided you.

Along with these unexpected flits and beautiful surroundings, you are also interacting with about 70 other western strangers from countless countries, speaking countless languages. I adore our dragons group but spending time with these other people was positively thrilling, each of them having a more exciting and interesting story than the one before.

All in all, similar to this yak yak post,my experience at Kopan Monastery was slightly all over the place, providing happy memories, sad memories, nervous memories, and peaceful buddha-style memories. I may never become a Buddhist practioner and it is highly doubtful that enlightenment will come my way, but I was able to learn a lot about myself and skim the surface of an important part of eastern culture and philosophy.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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Where There Be Buddha’s

Montana Feiger,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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What do you get when you take the chaotic city of Kathmandu and flip it on its head? If your answer is Kopan Monastery then you are spot on. Reflecting upon the environment of Kopan, the first word that comes to mind isn’t even a word at all but simply a sighing sound; aaah. Set […]

Posted On

04/14/10

Author

Montana Feiger

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She sat in front of us, perched on a cushion, her bright blue eyes inquisitive but challenging. "Who are you?"

At once I was brought back to another world, one in which a hookah-puffing caterpillar gave the naive young visitor a lazy once-over as he posed the same exact question. The girl, who had little idea how she got to talking with a caterpillar and didn't understand where she was or why she was so small, stuttered a reply; too many words and too confusing to be of any use to the caterpillar:

"I'm not quite sure at the moment, sir. I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I'm sure I must have changed several times since then." The caterpillar narrowed his gaze as he let forth a series of perfect smoke rings, bored with the naive simplicity of this foreigner.

As for me, I sat cross-legged on a cushion, my left foot completely asleep and numb, trying to find an answer to this simple question in a monastery in Nepal. My brow furrowed intensely, as if by squinting I would suddenly see the answer in the back of my eyelids, but all I could think of was how much Ani Karin reminded me of the caterpillar and at the moment, I was Alice.

Ani Karin is a Buddhist nun, not an insect, however, and the answer I was searching for was for nobody but myself. I wish I could say I came up with something as witty as the young girl who followed the white rabbit, but the more I searched, the more lost I became.

When I woke up that morning, I was tired and reluctant. That soon changed to tired and meditating, then nodding off while meditating, then hungry, then obscenely full because I ate too much porridge at breakfast. After breakfast I was tired again, then I was inspired, then I was hungry, and so forth...but each of the terms upon which I identified myself were simply momentary perspectives that Ani Karin showed us, were fleeting in the blink of an eye. Like the Cheshire cat, once I began to identify them, they were no longer there. The entire meditation felt like a cruel trick the Buddhists were playing to drive us into madness. But on the other hand, it was a bit of a relief not having to chase around an identity like a white rabbit, clinging to the things we think describe us.

The moment we try to look at ourselves in a mirror, who we are has already changed. Try as we might, we cannot freeze that moment with enough time to examine it, exploring the other side of the looking glass for any clues of where we might be. I wish I could say it all made sense in the end, and that I finally realized who I was. That's not the case, though. Rather, I learned who we think we are isn't really very important at all. It's only going to change, and why fight it? It's all a bit strange anyways, just like Wonderland.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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The Caterpillar’s Question

Alex Kryzanowski,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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She sat in front of us, perched on a cushion, her bright blue eyes inquisitive but challenging. "Who are you?" At once I was brought back to another world, one in which a hookah-puffing caterpillar gave the naive young visitor a lazy once-over as he posed the same exact question. The girl, who had little […]

Posted On

04/14/10

Author

Alex Kryzanowski

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Looking at nothing but the ground three feet in front of you for two days will definitely change the way one thinks about things. As part of our 10-day meditation retreat at Kopan Monastery, we were encouraged to spend the last two days in full silence. Along with the silence, these two days consisted of 6 separate 45 minutes meditation sessions a day. Talk about a grand finale! The purpose of the silence was to be more introverted, thoughtful, and focused during these meditation intensive days.

In the past I have had experience with keeping silence for 24 hours, so I wanted to challenge myself further by try keeping what is called noble silence for the two days. Noble silence means that you can't use sign language to communicate, acknowledge other people, or even look at other people in the eye. When keeping noble silence it is actually best to keep your gaze straight down at the ground in front of you. This way, one stays completely inside his or her own bubble with very little visual stimuli from the outside world. It sound kind of creepy and antisocial, but I figured that a Buddhist retreat would be the only time I would be able to practice this technique without looking like a crazy person. I went into it not expecting to receive huge results, but what I gained from the two days of noble silence was quite extraordinary!

The first morning I realized how hard the two days were going to be when my friend approached me while I was doing yoga to ask a question. As she stood there for a minute not knowing yet that I had taken noble silence and waiting for an answer, an enormous feeling of extreme discomfort rose inside of me. All I wanted to do was communicate with her. I didn't even need words! I just wanted to act out with my hands that I couldn't look at her. But I stayed strong in my warrior pose and resisted the urge to look at her!

As the day went, I started to notice subtle changes in my thoughts and behaviors. I was feeling extremely comfortable with myself because I couldn't take in other people looks, and most of the time I wasn't even aware if there were even people around me. Because of this, I lost all sense of self-consciousness and insecurity. An example of this is when I was practicing yoga. Usually if I saw someone coming my way, I would consciously choose to hold a pose that was easy for me. This was they wouldn't see me struggle in a pose that I was still working on. But while being in my own little bubble, I felt the freedom to do whatever pose my heart desired because I wasn't aware of anyone watching. I also realized that I was making fewer judgments about the people and things around me. Since I was focused just on the ground in front of me, I didn't have the chance to think, "Oh, that person is being so disrespectful," or, "her hair looks kind of funny today." It was really nice to have my mind free from these silly little thoughts that buzz around in our heads everyday.

What made the biggest impact on me while keeping noble silence was that it was like being in a constant state of analytical meditation. When my mind wasn't be stimulated by external factors, the only things I could think about were the internal things. And because I had spent the previous 7 days learning all there is to know about Buddhist philosophy, there was a lot of think about. During those 48 hours, I experienced extraordinary realizations. Some were positive and some were negative, but the most amazing thing was that they all came from inside. I was answering questions that had been bothering me for years; questions that I would usually ask other people for the answer. All I had to realize is that I have the answers to all my questions, all I have to do to look inside!

I have to admit I was very happy to come out of noble silence. After the two days, I started to feel very very lonely. Also, since I had had so many thoughts and realizations, I just wanted to share with all my friends everything! But as you can see, I am very glad I took on this challenge for myself and stuck to it. My experience at Kopan wouldn't have has as strong of an impact on me if I hadn't.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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Noble Silence

Susanna McMillan,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Looking at nothing but the ground three feet in front of you for two days will definitely change the way one thinks about things. As part of our 10-day meditation retreat at Kopan Monastery, we were encouraged to spend the last two days in full silence. Along with the silence, these two days consisted of […]

Posted On

04/14/10

Author

Susanna McMillan

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"Six minutes," he says with a sheepish, apologetic smile.

Six minutes?

Six whole minutes.

Six minutes until I can bite into a fresh pocket of steaming, spiced veggies dripping lavishly in a spicy peanut and ginger sauce so flavorful it makes my head spin like a sucker punch to the senses?

That's 360 whole seconds.

"Tikchha," I smile at him with a chuckle to let him know that six minutes and 25 rupees is nothing short of perfect.

Give me the name of a restaurant in the US that will serve me ten dumplings that I can watch being made from boulders of dough through the curtain that is hanging half open and separates the mystical momo workshop from the two picnic benches that create the interior of the restaurant, and in six minutes, and charge me less than 50 cents just to top it off. Not even the McDonald's dollar menu can boast such a thing.

The momo man could be my age, or he could be 30. One can never really tell here. At first, he seemed taken aback when I showed up at his shop, marked only by a curtain and a hidden sign in Devnagari that, upon closer inspection, has a faded background picturing ghostly white blobs that must have once been photographs of momos far inferior to his. I don't think he expected three white people to show up, with such sizeable appetites, and even more sizeable faith that his momos were the best in this part of Kathmandu. I would have never ducked under his curtain, set between two shops selling tea, biscuits, and cigarettes (the usual), were it not for my Didi who came to visit bearing plates of the delicate dumpling gems.

Now, he is tucking 40 momos away into plastic baggies and wrapping them with newspaper. I will carry these warm bundles three blocks to my homestay, but first, as is ritual now, I must eat a plate of my own because leaving the momo shop without tasting one (or 10) fresh from the steaming pot is a sin even Buddhist monks would frown upon.

Outside, thunder begins its usual racket, but I am safe here in the dark, warm room. Like unwrapping Christmas presents, the momo experience is one I always try and prolong, but like the ribon and paper that remains when the mystery of the box's contents has passed, I am too quickly left with the unsalvageable scraps of cabbage and onion and a pool of the famous, orangey momo sauce.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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A Momomoment

Alex Kryzanowski,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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"Six minutes," he says with a sheepish, apologetic smile. Six minutes? Six whole minutes. Six minutes until I can bite into a fresh pocket of steaming, spiced veggies dripping lavishly in a spicy peanut and ginger sauce so flavorful it makes my head spin like a sucker punch to the senses? That’s 360 whole seconds. […]

Posted On

04/14/10

Author

Alex Kryzanowski

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Yesterday we made our return trek from the hill top monastery that had been our home for ten days and today we spent a good two hours mulling over our impressions of that time. Going into our mediation retreat I probably one of if not the most hesitant, the prospect of sitting on the floor for hours on end was less than appealing to me and my legs, but I climbed the hill for thwe first time with what could aplty be called an open mind.

After introductions and a short orientation we were underway and didnt stop talking dharma until the last two days when we stopped talking all together. Over those days I was introduced to the concept of reincarnation, the cycle of samsara, the origins of all human suffering, the four truths for noble ones, and countless other "nut and bolt" aspects of the basic tibeitian buddhists system.

All in all the reactions within our group range from the absolute converts who were taken in by the universal compassion and views towards the ultiamte goal of human existence as releaving all sentient beings from suffering, and who will be seeking refuge at the first gompa they can find and those turned totally off buddhism by its many contradictions and dogmatic aspects that, surprise surprise, like all religions is chuck full of.

I find myself somewhere in the middle, not quite sure where I stand with the dharma. I was really taken in by the practice of unuiversal compassion and forgiveness, which is a key aspect of all sects of buddhism, while at the same time very turned away by the idea that I am just now recieving the effects of rippening kharma from past lives. But the good news is that I have the ability and the inclinations to take from my experience at Kopan what resinates with me and leave the rest for someone else, no need to toss the baby out with the bath water right?

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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Back from the Hill…

Nick Gollner,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Yesterday we made our return trek from the hill top monastery that had been our home for ten days and today we spent a good two hours mulling over our impressions of that time. Going into our mediation retreat I probably one of if not the most hesitant, the prospect of sitting on the floor […]

Posted On

04/14/10

Author

Nick Gollner

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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Pictures of Kopan

Instructor Team,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Posted On

04/14/10

Author

Instructor Team

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On a high hill overlooking smog-dusted Kathmandu valley, like a lotus flower that blooms from polluted waters. Lush greenery frames tall buildings, emboldened by fresh-paint reds, sky blues, deep greens and golden-yellows: the colors of Tibetan prayer flags.

A home to Nepali monks new to the order and temporarily over sixty foreigners from Chile, Spain, Canada, Ukraine, France, Japan, Singapore, Scotland and the U.S.A.

Our teacher is Ani Karin, ani meaning female monk, a Westerner who has sat in the tradition for thirty years and who has written our Lam-Rim coursebook - Lam Rim, the step-by-step path in Tibetan Buddhism. From 10 pm until noon each day we maintain noble silence, cutting away chatter and increasing awareness of our speech, preparing for days 7-10 when we will enter total silence.

Our course schedule:

5:45 am morning bell

6:00 tea

6:30-7:30 meditation

7:30 breakfast

9:15-11:30 teachings

11:30 lunch

2-3 discussion groups

3-3:30 break

3:30 - 5 teachings

5-6 tea

6-6:45 meditation

6:45 dinner

7:45-8:45 Q and A and meditation

Topics of teachings range from the true causes of suffering: ignorance (not knowing the true nature of your mind); attachment/craving that occurs as a result; karma, in Buddhist terms, the law of cause and effect; purifying the mind of as anger, resentments, and the ego (a grasping for self); and in their place, generating patience, tolerance and compassion. In discussion groups we share our reactions to Buddhist ideas: reincarnation, impermanence, enlightenment.

Monks in red robes, striped by a sun-colored sash, collect together and debate in the day time, clapping hands while they ask a question, while a seated answerer responds immediately. At night they chant in deep tones, accompanied by the symphony of crickets, as we file into the gompa.

Meditating on the virtues of what Buddhists consider an auspicious or "Perfect Human Rebirth" - a precious opportunity to develop ourselves and to help others on the path - Kopan Monastery, and our opportunity to be here, seems auspicious and precious, indeed.

Writings on display at Kopan Monastery:

The True Meaning of Life:

We are visitors on this planet.

We are here for ninety or 100 years

at the very most.

During that period,

we must try to do something good,

something useful with our lives.

If you contribute to other peoples' happiness,

you will find the true goal,

the true meaning of life.

Right from the moment of our birth,

we are under the care and kindness of

our parents and then later on in our life

when we are oppressed by sickness

and become old, we are again dependent

on the kindness of others. Since at the

beginning and end of our lives we are

so dependent on others' kindness,

how can it be that in the middle we neglect

kindness toward others?

If you want to change the world,

first try to improve and bring

change within yourself.

That will help change your family.

From there it just gets bigger andbigger.

Everything we do has some effect, some impact.

- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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More on Kopan Monastery: A Perfect Human Rebirth

Instructor Team,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

On a high hill overlooking smog-dusted Kathmandu valley, like a lotus flower that blooms from polluted waters. Lush greenery frames tall buildings, emboldened by fresh-paint reds, sky blues, deep greens and golden-yellows: the colors of Tibetan prayer flags. A home to Nepali monks new to the order and temporarily over sixty foreigners from Chile, Spain, […]

Posted On

04/5/10

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-05 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
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Dear Friends and Family,

As most of you know, we have concluded our 6 week home-stay in Kathmandu with mixed emotions. Our family party on Saturday was a exciting event for many, but also sad as we realized the time that we had spent with new family members and ISP mentors had come to an end. It was sweet to watch all the students stand up in turn and thank their new loved ones with kind works in Nepali. Also amazing to watch Amy and Sarah perform a traditional Nepali folk song on sitar and madal drum!

Now the group is nestled in Kopan monastery for the next 10 days. They will not only be filling their minds with Buddhist philosophy, but attempting to observe the movement of their mind in meditation. If you are interested in learning more about the program that Kopan offers, please do explore their website - www.kopanmonastery.com. Students will be sure to post yaks about their experience when they emerge on the 13th. They may not be in touch before then because of the structure of the course and the limited number of computers.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

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Kopan Monastery

Instructors,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Dear Friends and Family, As most of you know, we have concluded our 6 week home-stay in Kathmandu with mixed emotions. Our family party on Saturday was a exciting event for many, but also sad as we realized the time that we had spent with new family members and ISP mentors had come to an […]

Posted On

04/5/10

Author

Instructors

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