Source: Houston Chronicle
Tuklu Thondup's serene life in a secluded Tibetan monastery ended when he was 18.
It was 1958 and China had invaded Tibet. Thondup and his fellow monks crossed 1,000 miles of mountains and rugged country to reach India — a grueling trip that caused the death of his beloved teacher.
"He was like my parent, and I felt like an orphan," recalled Thondup, who had moved to the Dodrupchen monastery at age 5 after being identified as the reincarnation of a celebrated scholar.
His first years in India were tough. But Thondup believes meditation and his Buddhist philosophies helped him deal with the harsh realities. He was able to stay strong and joyful, he said, because of his monastery training.
"I always tell people that I am happy wherever I am, even as a refugee in India, where I had a little corner and a blanket."