Thursday, March 05, 2009

Update from Dharamsala

Hello TMS friends and Family-

On Day 4 here in Dharamasala we have had a busy but very interesting day. We had the honor of a visit with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa this morning where we had a chance to sit and ask questions to a revered young Tibetan lama who holds a position of enormous respect in the Tibetan Buddhist community. He fled from Tibet at age 14 when I was teaching a Tibetan Studies class at TMS about ten years ago! Little did I know when reading about his escape at that time with my class that I would be visiting him with TMS students some years later.

This afternoon we visited the Norbulinka Temple and Arts Complex in lower Sharamsala where we got to see artisans learning the classic Tibetan arts, thangka painting, applique, metal work, wood work, and more. Upon our return to Upper Dharamsala (where we are staying) the students got to meet and move in with their home stay families. All the families have children and the TMS students have been very eager for this opportunity to build connections with local people through a direct experience living in a local home.

Some students have started individual courses (like yoga and thankga painting). We also will be starting a mural repainting project tomorrow at a local school where students can spend some time in the classrooms as well.

I have lots of pictures to share

I think it is fair to say that Dharamsala is our favorite place so far- it is a treat to be here. We are learning a lot and having fun too. Last night we saw a film about a Chinese govt attack on Tibetans escaping over the mountains and this morning we passed one of the Tibetans who appeared on the film on the street- the students were so surprised but also pleased to see that the man had made it safely into exile and to have a chance encounter with him as he walked his young daughter to school (at the school where we will be painting murals... ) There are so many unique opportunities here. It is a gift to be able to help these unfold.


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