The Comparative Religion Senior Seminar recently traveled to Ligmincha International, a global community of meditators and practitioners of the ancient Bön spiritual tradition of Tibet. Here, Kaylee Chu ’20 reflects on the experience.
On Nov. 14, our Comparative Religion group had a chance to visit and explore Ligmincha International which was founded by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Located in Serenity Ridge and surrounded by natural beauty, the Institute offers visitors opportunities to discover a spiritual tradition of Tibet in a serene and peaceful atmosphere. A senior student of Tenzin Ripoche gave us a small tour around the institute, from the dining hall and residential houses to the library and meditation hall where we experienced Tsa Lung yoga, a traditional Tibetan yoga consisting of breath and movements.
In the Garuda Shrine room, we had a long discussion on different topics of Bön Buddhism like an important symbol called “Garuda”, which represents both a human and eagle, rising against the mundane life and worries. A vast and precious collection of Tibetan books are placed on a bookshelf and wrapped carefully. In the past, books were so rare that Tibetans expanded their knowledge through visual arts like statues or sculpture, making them develop a great reverence for books nowadays.
We learned about meditation deities and Buddhism in different countries, analyzing different forms of art that convey immense knowledge. After our discussion, we did a sound practice with a drum and a conch, to which people usually listen when they meditate.
To conclude our meaningful trip, we joined a session of Tsa Lung yoga, which means “vital breath.” The silence in the meditation hall generated a sense of peace and calm during our session. Though some of us felt cold at first, Tsa Lung yoga energized us like a light source while keeping a feeling of tranquility.
Besides course texts and class discussions in my Comparative Religion seminar, field trips to different institutes have also provided me with experiential learning about religions, through conversing with experienced people and directly exploring differences among many religions’ traditions and practices. As an international student from Vietnam, I have had a chance to gain diverse perspectives on Hinduism, Buddhism, and many more Asian religions that I have never had a chance to delve into. Field trips, especially, have helped me to explore what I learn in class with an open and realistic outlook, as I can understand the distinct ways that many religions are practiced in different parts of the world.