Monday, May 14, 2007

Tibetan Parliament Official Visits Community Meeting

Usually, guest speakers visit the school on Saturday morning for our
Forum, but one of the virtues of small size is flexibility, and
yesterday the Quaker network provided an exciting opportunity for us as we opened our Community Meeting to a visit by a Tibetan official.

Tenzin Norbu is an Under-Secretary of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in Dharamsala, India. The Tibetan Parliamentary Secretariat “undertakes the responsibility of the preparation of parliamentary procedures and practices and makes arrangements for recording the formal proceedings of the House,” according to the website of the Central Tibet Administration, the Tibetan government-in-exile. Norbu acts as the
Secretariat’s spokesperson, and works closely with the members of the
Parliament from throughout India, Bhutan, Nepal, Europe and the
Americas. He works on social, legal and political issues affecting the
Tibetan community-in-exile and on efforts by the Dalai Lama to find a
peaceful resolution of Tibet's issues. He is also knowledgeable about
the changing face of the Tibetan freedom movement.

In 2002, Norbu studied American legislative practices in the California
and Connecticut state legislatures, at Tulane University, and in the
U.S. Congress. According to a New York Times article about him at the
time, he and a colleague “were sent to the United States by Samdhong
Rinpoche, a scholar at the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies
in Varanasi, India, who was elected the Tibetans' first exile prime
minister last year.”

Most of us didn’t know about his background as he walked up to join our
circle. This week’s Community Meeting was held outside, in the shade of
the orchard, and he was delighted to be able to join us sitting on the
grass, turning down a chair we offered him and explaining that sitting
cross-legged made him feel like he was back in India. He spoke for about
forty minutes, starting with an overview of the situation in Tibet and
of the Tibetan community in exile. He then spoke about some basic points
of Tibetan spiritual and ethical practice, sharing common stories from
Tibetan culture and introducing the Eight Verses for Training the Mind.
He took questions from community members about what nonviolence means to
the exile community, and about Tibetan beliefs about reincarnation and
future lives.

Tenzin Norbu also spoke at Franklin Pierce University earlier in the
day. Some Meeting School students and faculty attended his speech there,
which was part of the “Tuesday Briefings” series of the Marlin Fitzwater
Center for Communication

His visit to the area was arranged by Jackie Stillwell and board member
Nancy Lloyd (also a Franklin Pierce teacher and member of Monadnock
Friends Meeting
), working with Betsy Bragg, a Quaker from Wellesley
Friends Meeting
who has been helping Norbu make contacts in the Boston
area. He was in the Monadnock region in conjunction with a visit by the
Dalai Lama to Smith College.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is definitely cool! Good going Jackie Stillwell!