Buddhist monk shares lessons of kindness at Lincoln-Sudbury

By Kristin Cantu, Wicked Local Lincoln, Sep 24, 2012

Lincoln, MA (USA) -- Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School students and residents of Lincoln and Sudbury gathered recently to learn lessons in kindness and suffering from Buddhist monk and teacher Geshe Pema Dorjee.

<< Buddhist monk and teacher Geshe Pema Dorjee recently visited Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.

Dorjee’s first audience was with curious high school student to talk about kindness.

“We picked kindness because it relates to a lot of the work the whole school does at the beginning of every year,” said Sandy Crawford, L-S housemaster and event organizer. “We talk a lot about the values of the school and remind them the first value we have is caring and cooperative relationships.”

“I thought it would be good to hear about kindness from him,” Crawford added. “Here's a person who has devoted his life to kindness.”

Evan Berkowitz, high school junior and news editor for the L-S newspaper, The Forum, shadowed Dorjee for most of his school visit and attended one of the assemblies he gave to students. Berkowitz said Dorjee was incredibly friendly and truly genuine.

“I think it's very interesting how someone from such a different culture can have such an enduring message to everyone,” Berkowitz said. “I think it says a lot about the character of this school that we're excepting of it and ... that someone like him feels at home here.”

After the school day, Dorjee began a weekend-long conference at the school focusing on, “The Four Noble Truths,” which address suffering in life. The conference, which was hosted by the nonprofit Jhamtse International based in Acton, was open to all regardless of one's ability to make a donation.

Sandy Wood, Jhamtse International board member, said the idea of “The Four Noble Truths” is being able to get “rid of the attachment to the self and the ego.”

Dorjee, who often smiles and laughs when he speaks, is able to connect to his audience because he too is seeking the same thing as them – wisdom, truth and enlightenment, he said during the conference. While he spoke on the roots of suffering, he made it clear that living means one will suffer because of the nature of the world we live in.

Everyday problems rooted in ignorance cause our suffering, Dorjee said, adding that humans instinctively use their suffering to make others suffer as well. While one can work towards ending suffering, it's a process that many spend their entire lives trying to achieve, he said.

“There's a path to finding contentedness,” Wood said. “It's redefining perspective to create a lifestyle to being happy and content.”