Alumni Success Story: Publication by Professor Julia Stenzel and TTIP student Claudia Fregiehn

Dear friends,

Rangjung Yeshe Institute’s Professor Julia Stenzel and TTIP student Claudia Fregiehn contributed a translation to the publication of Words of a Gentle Sage: Collected Teachings of Khenchen Appey Rinpoche, Volume II. This book contains several teachings by the late Khenchen Appey Rinpoche, an eminent master of the Sakya School and founder of the International Buddhist Academy in Tinchuli, near Boudha.

Claudia Fregiehn & Professor Julia Stenzel

An excerpt from Chapter III, “The Birth of a Bodhisattva,” in which Khenchen Appey Rinpoche explains the benefits of cultivating an altruistic mind: “We need antidotes to counteract negativity, and there is no antidote more powerful in stamping out the forces of evil than bringing forth the resolve to attain perfect awakening – bodhicitta. No other virtue has this power. […] Cultivating the mind of awakening will purify all negative karma” (p.121)

“Translating his straightforward instructions on The Way of the Bodhisattva was a meditative experience. I remember staying at the Asura cave monastery while working on the translation. The words of Śāntideva and of Khenchen Appey Rinpoche merged into one,” Julia remembers.

“I felt blessed and grateful to be a part of this wonderful project at this point in my studies. Having contributed to the translation of Khenchen Appey Rinpoche’s commentary inspired and encouraged me to continue my studies and pursue a master’s degree in translation at RYI”, says Claudia.

The book contains five chapters:

I. “In Praise of the Buddha,” a commentary to inspire faith, based on verses in praise of the Buddha’s immeasurable qualities from Sakya Paṇḍita’s Clarifying the Sage’s Intent;

II. “Cultivating the Middle Way,” oral instructions based on Candrakīrti’s Entering the Middle Way, offering a practical understanding of the Mahāyāna path as a whole;

III. “The Birth of a Bodhisattva,” a commentary on the first three chapters of Śāntideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva, which includes an explanation of the ritual for the bodhicitta vow;

IV. “Vast and Profound,” a rarely given explanation of Gorampa’s profound teaching on dependent arising according to the four philosophical schools of Indian Buddhism, entitled Illumination of Saṃsāra and Nirvāṇa; and

V. “The Aspirations of Samantabhadra,” a detailed commentary on Samantabhadra’s Noble Aspirations to Sublime Conduct, as the supreme means of dedication.

Special thanks to the patient editor and translator Christian Bernert and to Khenpo Ngawang Jorden, director of the International Buddhist Academy. The translation was funded by Khyentse Foundation and is published by Vajra Publications.

(Photos courtesy of Christian Bernert)

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