Founded by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche as an institution of higher learning for those wishing to deepen their understanding of Buddhist philosophy and practice, Rangjung Yeshe Institute (RYI) has been conducting seminars and study programs in Nepal for more than 25 years.
Since 2001, the Institute has worked in close partnership with Kathmandu University to manage the Kathmandu University Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute which offers undergraduate and post-graduate degree courses in Buddhist Studies and related topics.
RYI may, to a large extent, be regarded as the Buddhist equivalent of a divinity school or seminary where spiritual practice is an integral part of the daily experience and where program graduates are scholar-practitioners.
Rangjung Yeshe Institute envisions a world in which a wide diversity of people, interested in studying Buddhism and related research language, have easy access to a living Buddhist tradition in order to foster the qualities of wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Rangjung Yeshe Institute’s mission is to be a centre of higher learning, working to the highest standards, combining traditional and academic Buddhist education.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on the Academic Study of Buddhism
At the occasion of his campus visit in 2018, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche offered personal reflections on the role and purpose of the academic study of Buddhism. As the founder of the Khyentse Foundation, the Khyentse Vision Project, and the Kangyur translation grant foundation “84000,” a film maker, and a Dharma teacher, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is one of the most influential Buddhist voices of our times. He addresses the following three questions:
- What is the role of the academic study of Buddhism in the transmission of Buddhism?
- What is the right balance of studying ancient philosophy and current topics, such as science?
- Is there a place for devotion in intellectual study?
Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche on the Role of Compassion in Academic Study
Following Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s explanations, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche presented his thoughts on the study of Buddhism in an academic context (starting at 1:04:00 in the video). A key term to describe his vision is the Sanskrit term “karuṇā śūnyatā,” the integration of compassion and emptiness. This view is not understood by philosophy and logic alone, but only accessible through impartial loving kindness and compassion. Such an understanding of śūnyatā (emptiness, openness) makes a person fearless and liberates them from suffering.