Fifth Annual Symposium on Buddhist Studies
In 1997, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche and a group of devoted students at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in Kathmandu formalized the existing study program for foreigners at the monastery, and the year-round Rangjung Yeshe Institute program was born. Today, RYI offers both BA and MA degrees in Buddhist Philosophy and Himalayan Languages, intensive summer language and cultural study programs, and has become one of the premiere Buddhist study programs in Asia. And on 9th December of 2007, the Rangjung Yeshe Institute celebrated its 10 Year Anniversary!
On that day, more than 400 people came together at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal for a day of both joyful celebration and serious academic scholarship. The gathering included some of the top scholars in Buddhist Studies from around the world, lamas and Rinpoches from Nepal, Bhutan and India, present and former students of Rangjung Yeshe Institute, and many many friends from around the world.
The festivities started with the 5th Annual Symposium on Buddhist Studies -- a day-long program of scholarly presentation and open question-and-answer discussion. This year, presentations were made by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, Dr. William Waldron, Dr. Janice Willis, Dr. John Makransky and Dr. John Dunne. A lively discussion followed each presentation and a standing-room-only crowd was present during both the morning and afternoon sessions.
Rangjung Yeshe Institute 10 Year Anniversary
Following the Symposium, a lively Silent Auction was held in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Here, attendees bid on beautiful art objects, photographs, jewelry, crafts, vacations and services generously donated by local friends and business owners -- all of the proceeds going to sponsor the Symposium and keep the day free to the general public.
The evening culminated with a Gala 10 Year Anniversary Dinner -- a sold-out celebration of the first 10 years of the Rangjung Yeshe Institute, and the launch of the new building expansion project for the Monastery, beginning in 2008.
Participants were not only treated to wonderful food, but also to performances by the young monks of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, chant offering by the world-famous nuns of Nagi Gompa, and to speeches by both Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche remarked on the great historical importance of what was happening at RYI, and urged people to participate by helping in the construction of the new building facility. During his talk, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche reflected on the basic principles of Buddhist training and remarked on the great sense of "harmony" that was present in the room that night. Harmony created by people from all walks of life, and all corners of the world coming together with a single purpose in mind -- that of training in Buddha's dharma.
That harmony was also represented in the closing performance of the evening -- a fusion of traditional Nepali music performed by local favorites, Sur Sudha, and uplifting harmonic chant offered by American-born composer and performer, David Hykes.
The 10 Year Anniversary Celebration was a moving and inspiring day-long event, and has set the stage for a new phase of growth and expansion at Rangjung Yeshe Institute and at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery.
Watch a review from the Rangjung Yeshe Institute 10 Year Anniversary Dinner (7min)