It was a bright winter morning. The snow had blissfully covered the city of Dharmasala. The bright morning rays were infiltrating the large transparent window as they reluctantly kissed the marble floor. The statue of the great Buddha shone as another band of those rays fell on it. There was a different kind of peace in the hall. Tenzin sat straight as he looked in His eyes.
He had come all the way to meet His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
–“What is the answer that you seek my son?” asked the Dalai Lama. His eyes radiated a sense of peace and harmony.
Tenzin looked at Him; a cold shiver ran through his spine, he was nervous. He cleared his throat and asked,
“What is Fear, my Lord?”
Dalai Lama looked at him. He was trying to see something.
After a minute’s pause, He took away his glass and replied,
“Fear is the inability to cope up with one’s weakness.”
Tenzin seemed to be confused. He looked at Him blankly.
Dalai Lama smiled a bit and then said, “Fear is within you! What is that you fear my son?”
Tenzin thought for a while and then replied, “Defeat.”
Dalai Lama looked at him and said, “Think again, what is that you Fear?”
Tenzin realized that Dalai Lama was hinting something deep inside. He looked puzzled.
Dalai Lama quietly said, “Close your eyes my son. Leave yourself to His mercy and go back in the flashback of your life to see what is that you fear! The answer is within you!”
Tenzin closed his eyes, took a few deep breaths and then prepared himself to get lost in his own past.
The eerie silence, the morning rays and the beautiful snow acted as a catalyst. He was lost in his life to get the answer he wanted so long.
II (The FlashBack)
Phase 1: (The Introduction)
It was a frosty morning in the plains of Amdo. I was just seven. I was the third child of my parents. I had two elder brothers and a younger sister. My dad was taking me to the Labrang Monastery. It is quite a tradition among Tibetan families to send their kid to live the life of a monk, as it becomes difficult for them to raise all of them. My eldest brother was luckier than me. He got the elementary education from Labrang Monastery but came back to help dad with our family occupation. I wanted to learn but I did not want to stay in a monastery. I did not want to be a monk!
My mom was already busy wiping her tears. She always had a little say in the family decisions.My younger sister was way too young to understand the gravity of the situation. My dad seemed unmoved. He was determined that becoming a monk was the best option for me.
“Dad, please! Even I can be like brother. I will learn everything. But please, I don’t want to be a monk!” I pleaded with watery eyes.
“Tenzin my son, you should understand that it is the best for you and your family. We do not have enough money to raise you up” said Dad in a firm voice.
I had a thousand of replies juggling in my brains.
“If you didn’t have money to raise a son then why did you give him birth?” or “Is it so easy for a seven year old kid to leave without his mom”?
But I decided to stay quiet. My destiny was already written; not by god but by my Father.
Phase 2: (The Realisation)
The first day at the monastery was pathetic. They shaved my head. I was made to wake up quite early. Then there were more 15 bald fellows of my age who were made to wear the saffron cloth. We were made to sit in a row. The head Lama came to address us.
“Before you start your journey to enlightenment, I must tell you that the life you lived before today and the life you would live from the next day will make you realise what this life is about! Bodhisatwa is in each of us. It is up to you how well you can bring the Buddha out of Him. Remember that a Monk’s life is only for the betterment of mankind! ”
I looked at the head Lama as his voice echoed the hall. I felt a sense of meaning in my life. I was amazed. I was ready to become a Monk!
to be continued……..
(This is a fictitious story inspired from the life of a 23-year-old Tibetan refugee named Tenzin who in 1994 survived a harrowing escape from Tibet and came down to India.)