Siddhartha School Project

Khen Rinpoche Visits Yarmouth High (by Sarah Becker) by Lisa V. Blake
April 5, 2010, 6:43 pm
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Khen Rinpoche, the founding director of the Siddhartha School in Ladakh and Abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, travels around the world sharing his wisdom and spreading awareness of his school. Last week I was lucky enough to be one of many students to hear his message of peace and kindness when he visited my high school in Yarmouth, Maine.

Previous to his address to the freshman class, an intimate luncheon was held, allowing selected students to present him with the difficulties in their lives, and in turn, be shown a compassionate way of dealing with these problems. The students, shy and in awe to be in the presence of such a dignified leader, were quiet at first. Rinpoche took the initiative and began to speak about compassion in our lives and how it can be used to overcome barriers. Using the ocean as a metaphor, the students were shown a very different approach to problem solving on topics such as parents, peers, and even more personal aspects of life such as jealousy, anger, and fear. As he talked, the students grew more comfortable in his calm, peaceful presence. Gradually, people began to speak and ask questions. The conversation opened into one of leadership, and just how to lead from a place of loving kindness in a world so often consumed by desire for money and power. Lunch was served — pizza, which it turned out is one of Khen Rinpoche’s favorite foods.

A brief address to the freshman class followed. Using the metaphor of a garden, Rinpoche talked the students through “weeding” the thorns out of the gardens of our lives. Inspiring yet down-to-earth, Rinpoche presented a thought-provoking look at Buddhist religion, life and culture. Assisted by his guide and companion for the day, Lisa Blake, Rinpoche led a mini meditation for the students. Instructed to close our eyes and focus on the breath, the students, and the auditorium, fell into a serene quiet for the minutes that followed. Not everyone was able to focus, but some students had great results. Following the presentation, many exclaimed that they wanted to become Buddhist!

An enriching experience for all in attendance, Rinpoche’s visit was a glimpse into a world very different than the life we lead in Yarmouth, and opened students eyes to the true state of much of the world while also showing how having everything does not bring happiness or inner peace. The true path to this peace is up to the individual, but the road starts with compassion. As Rinpoche said, “To pick thorns out of the garden, have compassion to all.” What truth.

*** This post was written by Sarah Becker, a student at Yarmouth High — THANK YOU, SARAH!

Here’s a photo of Sarah meeting Khen Rinpoche:


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