From the Editor, the Ven. Kunga Dondrup
His Holiness recently left Nepal, where he consecrated the beautiful new
temple of the Pokhara Monastic Institute, presided over the rites for
the late Trulshik Rinpoche and tirelessly gave audiences, teachings and
initiations to a huge number of people - from high lamas of other
Buddhist lineages to ordinary residents from the many areas he visited,
who flocked to see him. His Holiness was accompanied by Gyalyum Chenmo,
HE Dhungsey Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, Their Eminences Dagmo Kalden la,
Akasha Vajra Rinpoche, Jetsunma Thrinley Palter, and a brief visit from
H.E. Dagmo Sonam, with the youngest Jetsunma, as well as Dhungseys
Asanga and Abhaya Rinpoche from the Sakya Phuntsok Phodrang. His
Holiness stayed at the IBA for a week. We were overjoyed to be in the
presence of our Teacher and the Supreme Head of the Sakya lineage, and
to be able to engage in the many activities he performed to benefit
countless sentient beings.
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An Audience With His Holiness for IBA Students and Staff
His Holiness graciously found time in his demanding schedule to
give a private interview for the students currently studying to be
translators and also for the staff: "I am very happy to be here
in the IBA. Generally speaking, we, as human beings, have different
requirements but the most important thing is spiritual practice, because
all the other worldly things are for the sake of this life. In the next
life they do not benefit us.Spiritual practice, however, is not only
for this life, but for many other lives – and not only for ourselves
but for all sentient beings, so it is very good that all of you have
come from different parts of the world to Nepal to train as translators.
Here it is very beautiful: Nepal has the highest mountain in the world
and also the Great Stupa (of Boudhanath). There are many holy shrines
(here) and great masters like Guru Rinpoche and others have visited and
practiced here. Surely, this place is filled with great blessings.
It is said that you can practice in other places for months and years,
but only a week here is more beneficial. So this is a very beautiful and
holy place. So, since you have come all the way here to Nepal, you have
to spend your time in the most purposeful and most meaningful way: to
study Dharma, to contemplate and meditate. The great Acharya,
Vasubandhu, said that our study and practice must be based on sound
moral conduct, good discipline. This is very important, because it is
the foundation of all the positive qualities. If you don’t have good
discipline but have knowledge it does not bring any benefit. To benefit
from wisdom one has to have sound moral conduct. Then, study,
contemplation and meditation can follow. This pattern is common to all
Buddhist traditions: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
Therefore you have come here. You have very good teachers and you have
all the facilities necessary. My great teacher, Khenchen Appey Rinpoche
was a great Bodhisattva who always thought first about other people’s
needs and their wellbeing and also the teachings of the Buddha. So, for
these reasons, he spent all his life teaching and helping others. He
created the IBA specifically to benefit foreigners who are interested in
learning Dharma but who have no chance to study, learn or to receive
teachings. So he created the IBA and spent a lot of money to build and
create these facilities you have around you. Now you here and are using
them I am very happy - and now you must study!
There are many different kinds of teachings. So many things are
happening in the world. Whether you practice or not is up to you as
individuals, nobody can force you to practice, but one has to think very
carefully. If you practice , how does this benefit, how does this make a
difference? Also, if you don’t practice, what kinds of consequences
will you face? So, if we practice, it will help and benefit us but, in
order to practice, you have to study.
The ancient masters in their commentaries said that our discipline
should be according to the Vinaya, which is the antidote to desire, and
explains all the different levels of moral conduct, with different
precepts for lay people and ordained monks and nuns. So our conduct
should be according to the Vinaya. Meditation should be according to the
Sutras, which are the antidote for anger, which is the most difficult
thing to conquer, the most severe defilement. This we can conquer
through meditation. To meditate we have to study and also we have to
analyse. Through meditation we can eliminate the defilements. So,
meditation should be according to the Sutras. Next the explanations, the
teachings, should be according to the Abhidharma, which is the antidote
to ignorance because it explains the wisdom which removes our
ignorance. If you want to practice the Mantrayana then this should be
according to the great Tantras. So if we practice in these ways, we are
on the right path and it will be of great benefit to ourselves as well
as to others.
Nowadays, we see so many people in the world who are interested in
Dharma. Therefore, I think it’s very important for us to try to help
them. So we need to translate the great teachings into different
languages. Of course, translating is a difficult task. I feel there are
two different kinds of translators. Some people place a lot of emphasis
on the actual words, and they just translate the exact words of the
texts. In this way, although it may be a very good translation, it can
be difficult to understand, especially for newcomers … I think that what
is most important for translators is that they must understand the
actual meaning of the texts. If you know the actual meaning then you can
present it in a different way: though the words may be a little
different, the actual meaning is still conveyed. So this, I feel, is
more important…. If you don’t know the overall meaning, then whatever
way you translate can be wrong, very confusing or difficult to
However, if you know the overall meaning then presenting it is easier.
Many great scholars have said that the best practice in dealing with
some very difficult subjects, is to make them easier to understand. If
we try to be more scholarly and make it more difficult to understand,
then it is of no use. The main thing is the overall meaning. What
Tibetan, English, Chinese or translators from any language must do,
before you translate word by word, is to know the overall meaning. Then,
if you know the whole meaning, you can convey the translation in a
Holiness, Dhungsey Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, Dhungsey Abhaya Rinpoche and
Khenpo Vagindra Shila at the inauguration of the Pema Ts'al Monastic
Staff, students and the general public receiving the Manjushri initiation from His Holiness.
His Holiness giving a teaching on Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen's Songs of Realisation following the Manjushri initiation.
Holiness conferring the Guru Rinpoche initiation from the terma cycle
of his previous incarnation, Apong Terton, at Tharlam Monastery,
Students receiving a blessing from His Holiness following the Guru Rinpoche initiation.
Apong Terton, HH the Sakya Trizin's previous incarnation, from whose terma cycle the Guru Rinpoche initiation was conferred.
Ngawang Jorden, Director of the International Buddhist Academy,
receiving teachings with other khenpos, monks and students of His
Khenpo Ngawang Jorden, Director of the International Buddhist Academy is presently in Taiwan for meetings with colleagues and friends of the IBA. We look forward to his return.
Summer Courses and Retreat
On-campus accommodation is still available: our retreat dates are now finalised (Monday 3rd September to Wednesday 12th September). Please follow this link to reserve your place.