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Tsultrim Dolma: Hope and a small patch of grass

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Thursday, April 23, 2020
Hope and a small patch of grass

During these strange days, when doing our part for our community means staying apart from it as much as we can, I’ve found myself thinking back on the months in my teens when I was jailed as a political prisoner in Tibet.

I had run away from my village not long before to Lhasa, the capital, to learn about my Buddhist culture and religion from a cousin in a monastery there. I had no idea then of the bleak future soon coming. With no school in my village and our elders subject to harsh treatment if they tried to pass on our heritage, I knew nothing of the threat I faced when I joined a demonstration in Lhasa in support of our Dalai Lama.

That day, I went from carrying on with the life I wanted to be living to being isolated from my world and wondering when if ever I would be back out in it again. I faced despair. But I was also able to keep up hope, and the hope is what helped me stay strong and envision my better future.

For me, hope came through prayer and keeping any sense of connection to the outside world that I could. Through the small window of my cell, between my wall and another wall in the prison, I could see a small patch of grass. Looking at this piece of the larger world when mine had grown so small helped me to keep from giving up hope.

Now we’re all living through a time that just a few months ago we had no idea was coming, many of us isolated from our routines and the company of people we want to be with. To anyone who may be feeling distressed by their world grown small, my compassion is with you. And my prayers are with you that you keep up hope in whatever way works for you, envisioning the time when once again you’ll be living each day connected to the world around you the way you would like to be.

Tsultrim Dolma

Amherst