Georgetown University Visit to RYI

On March 9th, Dr. Vrajvihari Sharan, director of Dharmic life at Georgetown University, and a group of students visited RYI as part of their course “Lived Pluralisms: Lessons from Nepal.” The course examined how the categorization of world religions during the colonial 19th and 20th centuries negatively impacted Western models of pluralism, resulting in inequity and culturally inaccurate formulations. A key aspect of the course was exploring the issues of colonial translations, which not only contained flaws and inaccuracies but also conveyed a derision that caused disaffection among readers toward their ancestral cultures and traditions.

RYI Professor, Julia Stenzel, discussed how RYI addresses these issues in our Master’s Program: Translation, Textual Interpretation, & Philology. The program goes beyond word-for-word translation and considers culture and history to provide students with holistic and culturally aware training. Father Greg Sharkey spoke about religious pluralism in Nepal, touching on many of the ideas explored in Dr. Sharan’s course.

During their RYI visit, the students had the opportunity to visit the Lhakang and offer katas to Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. They received a brief teaching from Khenpo Pema Namgyel and even had a surprise visit from Phachok Rinpoche, who gave explanations on Buddhist ritual practice and shared with students his own memories in Washington DC!

 “Our trip to RYI was mind-opening and heart-centering for all of our students in different ways. Everyone commented that they enjoyed the discussions and a good number were deeply touched by the Pūjā!  Fr. Sharkey’s discussion was useful in confirming the theory the students had encountered in the course.”   – Acharya Dr Vrajvihari Sharan


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