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Quote of the Week: His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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It’s hard to believe that I’ve never included His Holiness the Dalai Lama in this “Quote of the Week” feature, but that seems to be the case!

His Holiness needs little introduction, but here are the basics:

  • • Born on July 6, 1935 in northeastern Tibet
  • • Was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama when he was two years old
  • • In 1959, he escaped from Tibet to live in exile in Dharamsala, India, where he has been ever since
  • • Proposed a “Five Point Peace Plan” for Tibet in 1987
  • • An extraordinary man, and yet a “simple monk”

Here are words of wisdom from His Holiness (from the anthology The Path of Compassion: Writings on Socially Engaged Buddhism):

Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal
 transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way to achieve a lasting world peace. Even if it is not achieved during my own lifetime, that is all right. More human beings will come–the next generation and the one after that–and progress can continue. I feel that despire the practical difficulties and the fact that this is regarded as an unrealistic view, it is worthwhile to make the attempt. So wherever I go, I express this, and I am encouraged that people from many different walks of life receive it well.

…This is my simple religion. There is no need for complicated philosophies, not even for temples. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. The philosophy is kindness.

Kindness

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My dharma friend Mitchell Ratner took this photo on his recent pilgrimage to Tibet and Mt. Kailash. I share it with you here because I love this quote. His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a knack for getting to the heart of the matter.

(taken at Kopan Monastery by Mitchell Ratner)

Tibet Girls School Destroyed in Earthquake; Relief Fund Information

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This is very sad news, from a press release just sent out by the 2010 Buddhist Women’s Conference Committee. The Tibet Girls School, the recipient of this year’s Women and Engaged Buddhism Award, has been destroyed in the earthquake that struck the Himalayan region of Eastern Tibet earlier today.

From the release (and please note the information for the relief fund that has been set up):

Evanston, IL – An earthquake reported at a magnitude of 6.9 hit Yushu county high in the Himalayas of Eastern Tibet on the morning of April 14 th. The powerful quake killed at least 400 people, injured 10,000 and left many others buried under debris. Tibet Girls School founder and executive director, Asang, has learned not only that he has lost family members in the disaster, but that the school was destroyed and several students are dead or missing.

The urgent priority now is to raise money to help care for survivors and rebuild their homes and schools. Donations can be made on the web site for Tsogyaling Meditation Center of Evanston and Tibet Girls School at www.evanstonmeditation.org. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law and 100% of funds collected will go to rebuilding in Tibet. Checks can also be made out to “Tsogyaling Meditation Center” and mailed to Tibet Girls School, c/o Heartwood Center, 1599 Maple Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201.

Home to Nomad yak herding and farming families, this remote mountainous region is where Asang calls home. Asang escaped from Tibet shortly after his sister and her baby died during delivery. Along with his wife, Nancy Floy, the school was meant to honor his sister and all the women at risk by offering the key to health and opportunity: education. As survival has now become the more critical need, the school’s board of directors and the community will be putting all of their efforts toward rebuilding homes and lives in Eastern Tibet.

Tibetan women in this area—also called the Nangchen region—typically have as many as six to 10 children, yet the region has one of the highest mortality rates for infants and mothers during pregnancy and childbirth. Education is the key to health and opportunity. While rebuilding homes and lives is critical right now, the goal will be to reopen the school and provide girls with these opportunities which will be needed more than ever. In just two short years, students at Tibet Girls School were reading and writing and planning careers in business, teaching and medicine.

Earthquake in Kham; Casualities at Tibetan Buddhist Monastery

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From the Shambhala SunSpace website:

Breaking, heartbreaking news this morning: a series of earthquakes — including one of a 6.9 magnitude — have struck in China. The quakes were centered in Yushu county, in the southern part of Qinghai — a mountainous region near Tibet. 400 people have been reported killed, with 10,000 estimated injured.

UPDATE: We now have word via a Shambhala sangha member who passes on a message from Shirley Blair, the director of Thrangu Rinpoche’s school for Himalayan children in Kathmandu. Blair’s message contends that Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastery was hit by the quake, resulting in at least 10 deaths.

The Shambhala site has more information and some helpful links. Please keep all the people affected by this earthquake in your hearts and prayers.

Bodhisattva Alert: Medical Supplies Needed

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Did you know that one in ten children die at birth in Tibet, and that children in that country suffer one of the highest rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis?

When Roshi Joan Halifax traveled to Tibet in 2006, she and medical professionals on the trek set up a Nomads Clinic to offer basic health care to the men, women, and children along their route. You can see the video here:

Next year, the Nomads Clinic will be in operation again. You can help by donating much needed medical supplies to the clinic. There’s a letter here with complete details.

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