Photo of the Week
Photo Title

« Back to Yak Board Archive Site

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010


WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48769
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-15 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Spending a week at the Kopan monastery learing about Buddhism and meditating was not as relaxing as I thought it would be. It was almost like a meditation and Buddhist philosophy boot camp, but with a kind nun teaching us instead of a harsh yelling drill sergent, but she did have a shaved head. Our days were very scheduled and we were pushed to our intellectual and conceptual limits, falling exhausted into bed at night from the mental calisthenics we had been through all day. We kept a strict silence until lunch, when the dams of conversation would open and we would discuss in small groups which were more like group therapy, in which people would cry and get angry and discuss the meaning of life and what happens after death. It was incredible to be with people who on the first day were strangers, but by the end of the week had told you the most intimate details of their life and were more vulnerable with me than some of my closest friends and family. What about this environment leads to this kind of trust and authenticity? How can I transfer this openness to my everyday life? These are two questions that I am trying to tackle, and with our trek I think I will plenty of time to contemplate, because as I have experienced first hand here in Nepal, life is far to short to live on the surface. From all the things I took away from Kopan, I think the most applicable is that there is no time but now to live, so sieze the moment and be your true self, because no one knows what will happen tomorrow.

[post_title] => Awakening To The Here And Now [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => awakening-to-the-here-and-now [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-15 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48769 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

Awakening To The Here And Now

Sarah McKenzie,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Spending a week at the Kopan monastery learing about Buddhism and meditating was not as relaxing as I thought it would be. It was almost like a meditation and Buddhist philosophy boot camp, but with a kind nun teaching us instead of a harsh yelling drill sergent, but she did have a shaved head. Our […]

Posted On

04/15/10

Author

Sarah McKenzie

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48770
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-15 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

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.

[post_title] => Monk-y Business [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => monk-y-business [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-15 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48770 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

Monk-y Business

Amy Franquet,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

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

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48773
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

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.

[post_title] => The Caterpillar's Question [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-caterpillars-question [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48773 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

The Caterpillar’s Question

Alex Kryzanowski,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

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

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48774
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

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.

[post_title] => Noble Silence [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => noble-silence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48774 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

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

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48775
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

"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.

[post_title] => A Momomoment [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-momomoment [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48775 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

A Momomoment

Alex Kryzanowski,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

"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

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48776
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

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?

[post_title] => Back from the Hill... [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => back-from-the-hill [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48776 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

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

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48777
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 
    [post_title] => Pictures of Kopan
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => open
    [ping_status] => open
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => pictures-of-kopan
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00
    [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48777
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => post
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [categories] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Term Object
                (
                    [term_id] => 397
                    [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010
                    [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010
                    [term_group] => 0
                    [term_taxonomy_id] => 397
                    [taxonomy] => category
                    [description] => 
                    [parent] => 257
                    [count] => 117
                    [filter] => raw
                    [term_order] => 22.1
                    [cat_ID] => 397
                    [category_count] => 117
                    [category_description] => 
                    [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010
                    [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010
                    [category_parent] => 257
                    [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/
                )

        )

    [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010
)

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

Pictures of Kopan

Instructor Team,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Posted On

04/14/10

Author

Instructor Team

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48772
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

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.

[post_title] => Where There Be Buddha's [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => where-there-be-buddhas [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-14 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48772 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

Where There Be Buddha’s

Montana Feiger,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

Description

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

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48810
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-05 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

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.

[post_title] => More on Kopan Monastery: A Perfect Human Rebirth [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => more-on-kopan-monastery-a-perfect-human-rebirth [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-05 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48810 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

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

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48812
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-04-05 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

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.

[post_title] => Kopan Monastery [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => kopan-monastery [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-04-05 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48812 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 397 [name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 397 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 117 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 397 [category_count] => 117 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/himalayan-studies-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010 )

Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2010

View post

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

1 2 3 4 12