It is a bright sunny day in McLeod Ganj. This is the Himalayan mountain village in Dharamsala that is home to the Dalai Lama residence and temple, and the Tibetan History Museum. Since I visited here last year, I made friends with a guy at at a pashmina shop (a whole other story) as well as a monk, both of whom I have been able to reconnect. It feels like a small world to have friends to revisit in faraway places.
One of those friends, Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Lama Bagdro, author of A Hell on Earth, visited us and shared his incredible story of working for freedom within Tibet and then his escape from his homeland to India in the late 80’s. He also performed Buddhist chanting for us. It is a rare talent for a man so young. Taking vows as a monk means dedicating your life to prayer and study. Because of his experiences and his apparent dharma working for the liberation of Tibet from Chinese rule and constantly touring to educate the world about the situation in Tibet, Bagdro does not have as much time as he would like to study. There is a part of him that would like for his life to be that easy, but he knows in his heart as well as from the encouragement of the Dalai Lama, that he must continue to do his work. His is a very hard road and he has survived so much unfathomable suffering. He works tirelessly and selflessly, he laughs as heartily and he has a most generous smile. Bagdro is a true luminary. Yesterday was Tibetan New Year, which he was not celebrating due to the recent deaths and escalating awful state of the human rights situation in Tibet. Instead, he joined us for dinner, and because we are such a small group this year, it was an intimate experience with him. Bagdro is three years older than I am. He is bright, funny, charming, and cool. I asked him if knows of the Beastie Boys, and MCA, and their career-long support of Tibet. Bagdro was kind, and sort of like …”well yes I know them. Adam Youch is his true name and he is married to a Tibetan woman.The Free Tibet concert in ’97 was a huge deal”. Among other national and international speaking engagements and constant political meetings, Bagdro is currently collaborating with a German hip-hop group who are using samples of his chanting on a cd, and in turn he is making more contacts for speaking engagements throughout Europe to raise awareness to save his home country. If Bagdro weren’t a sweet sweet holy man and fearless human rights activist, he might be hipster before hipster was hip.
This morning I taught yoga in the sitting room where he chanted for us last night. We dedicated our practice to Lama Bagdro. The theme of the asana sequence was to model Bagdro’s kindness and courage in our hearts and balance it with his mountain-like fortitude in our bodies. This equipoise of energies is Yoga. Beautiful Lama Bagdro teaches us well.
If you are interested, please educate yourself on the situation in Tibet. PEACE PEACE PEACE