Humility, amongst other thoughts…
Humility and selling don’t always go hand in hand. I know, totally strange sentence to start a blog with, but it was what came to mind after Monday’s occurrences.
The weekend for the most part was quiet. I had dinner with some friends Friday evening, Saturday it was a holiday, so I caught up on rest, and Sunday I met with two friends to help them with a Rowell Grant.
This week the Dalai Lama is teaching for three days, so class schedules have been disrupted, but I digress.
Monday I went to IBD to teach; homework had been a short essay on 9/11, and the problems that hate and racism cause. I’m totally fascinated with the thoughts I read in their essays.
At the end of class, Geshe Yonten gave me a DVD, asked me to watch it, and said he had some questions.
On my mid-day break, I watched it, it was a movie. The best summation is by the film maker, Frederick Marx:
“Two Buddhist monks fulfill their pledge to the Dalai Lama by leading a group of 17 poor children aged 4-12 on a journey from Zanskar in remote northwest India through the Himalayas. To seek an education: On foot. On horseback. By jeep and bus — whatever it takes. These children won’t see their families again for 10-15 years. 30 years ago, when they were children, these monks walked the same path themselves. Friends close to His Holiness led them from the Tibetan plateau to monasteries in southern India. Now, it’s their turn to lead the next generation – to keep the flame of Tibetan culture alive. But it won’t be easy.”
To see the film trailer,: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdkCMqqrlww
Hence, the humility. In our first class, Geshela had not mentioned this project, though my first question to them was, “Tell me about your self.”
It made me think, a lot. I talk about everything I do here, a LOT. The aim is to spread awareness, to bring faces to people on the other side of the world who are working for changes: to keep culture alive, to keep art alive, to regain independence, to fight political oppression — to gain educations.
While I might be here now 6 month out of the year, I am still in a safe county. I watched the full movie, and couldn’t begin to put myself in that situation — hiking the mountain passes, responsible for 17 childrens educations, and lives.
So, as usual, I said, what CAN I do? I called Geshela immediately, and we met extensively yesterday. I will be helping him set up his non-profit here, he would like to bring 70 children over the course of the next several years.
I also spoke with several people involved in the film, who were lovely. In addition to helping with the non-profit, I have volunteered to built a website to support the project, and will help try to apply for several grants.
It is odd to me. I never thought my skills, mostly communication, could be as useful as they are. I can’t build a house, I can barely build a fire, I have no idea how to climb a mountain, or grow my own food — I would be useless in a rural village. But somehow here, knowledge is a strong currency. I can share my skills with a very amazing man — one who is accomplished not only as a professor of Buddhist philosophy, but who is taking responsibility as an individual for making a positive change in the lives of so many people.
Yet again, I continue to learn — and I’m very happy to be able to share these stories with you, as I make AMAZING new friends.
If you would like to see a screening of the film in New York:
Event: Sneak Preview Screening – NYC, Tibet House
Time: Thursday, September 24 at 7:00-10:00pm
Where: 22 West 15 Street New York, NY 10011
Event: Sneak Preview Screening – Boston
Start Time: Saturday, September 26 at 7:00-10:00pm
Where: 10 Hilliard St. Cambridge, MA 02138
Please chack out this trailer!