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Apr 26, 2019 23:48:09

Tibet in Toulouse 🇫🇷 (2)

by @jasonleow | 289 words | 342🔥 | 380💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 342🔥
Total posts: 380💌
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Old sun, ancient trees

Old path, inviting shade

Under cool embrace, I pace.


So in 2007 I spent 1 month in Nalanda monastery, a Tibetan monastery in Toulouse, France. They had a volunteer program that provided free lodging and food in return for helping out with whatever that's needed around the monastery. And they really do need help, as they were in the process of building a new monastery wing then. So some days, I'll help with construction. Some days, cooking and cleaning. Other days, I do something more sedentary like preparing prayer items for the new Buddha statues. Even with work, we live by a daily routine scheduled around meditation, prayer and teachings. 


It was my very first time in a monastery, and I was hooked. I love the simplicity of the life there. There's a sort of relaxed discipline to things, everyone performing their own individual roles, yet inter-weaved with one another. Above all, every act of work was inter-twined with the deeper practices of compassion and wisdom. The naive perception I had initially was that the monks here were all perfect infallible saints, which got broken when I saw that they too had conflicts like us lay people. But the main difference between us and them is that they are committed to a life of loving kindness and compassion. No conflict was left to fester for too long, no disagreement unattended. 


From this, I learned the true meaning of a community - it is not one that's perfectly free of conflict, but one where everyone is committed to the practice of conflict resolution and living harmoniously.


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Recollecting Tibet in Toulouse, as a way to work my way through wandergrief from returning home after a transformative 3-week stay in Kyoto. 

From Jason Leow's collection:

  • 1

    @jasonleow - Until I read this - I didn't think I would have wanted to experience living in a monastery. I yearn for simplicity and routine that isn't always generated from me .

    Nice post.

    Keni avatar Keni | Apr 26, 2019 13:56:59
    • 1

      @keni thanks! Yes, it's something I definitely recommend, if if one isn't Buddhist. Silence and simplicity is an increasingly rare pleasure to find these days. Many of these monasteries are pretty open to lay people living and practising there, even if you're not Buddhist. Especially the European temples who are run by monks who are also Europeans but took up monastic vows.

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Apr 27, 2019 14:53:41
    • 1

      @jasonleow - Buddhism makes a lot of sense to me. I have been drawn to it since I learnt about it back when I grew up in India. Lately the fame that stoicism has received makes me think that deep down, most people agree to the Buddhist principles.

      Are you going to do this again?

      Keni avatar Keni | Apr 27, 2019 09:10:43
    • 1

      @keni probably yes...i think it will always be something that I will go back to, at different seasons of life.

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Apr 28, 2019 22:45:57
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