Photo of Avalokiteshvara in Singapore by Yeshe
At this year’s summer camp in Portugal, Rinpoche, amongst other topics, talked about the power of compassion. So here is a story to share with you.
Since 2007 I have been teaching ‚ Being happy, how do I do that? at a night school in Aix-la-Chappel (Aachen, Germany). Based on an inspiration by Ian Morris from Wellington College, Berkshire; I created my own one year-course to support my adult students who haven’t yet finished their school career for many different reasons. I had seen how much some of them suffered and how this prevented them from learning and living a normal, let alone happy life and I wanted to help them. So to one group each year I presented ideas, methods and tips on what to do to live a happier life and care more about their well-being. It was just one course on offer the students could choose from.
A few months ago in this year’s group I had a young macho Chechen guy from a family of soldiers. He participated in the lessons, but made it very clear that in his eyes this was girlish and unmasculine. He was glad when I allowed him to lie down during the start of each lesson, when the students sat in what I called‚ attentive resting. (i.e. meditation, calling it by a different name made it easier for the Muslim students to participate). After those five to ten minutes, every lesson continued with a round of statements on what had happened or been managed by them that had made the students happy, feel strong or successful during the past week.
A very serene Turkish woman for the first time said, she couldn’t add anything positive this week as her uncle had just died in the mine disaster at Soma.
At that moment the Chechen turned to look at her and his face was full of the deepest compassion and I could see how he was able to let got of his armor of masculinity and I saw a pleasant young and soft face.
Compassion had given him a chance to be open and caring! He will make his way, I hope and wish from the depth of my heart
Anne Katrin Voss is a teacher at ARS Abendrealschule Aachen.
She has been a Buddhist since 2001. Her main teacher is Ringu Tulku Rinpoche
Anne is teaching Being happy – how do I do that? at a night-school in Aachen, Germany. She has published a teacher’s manual on a complete 5 day course at AOL publishers (in German). Anne is currently working on a second teacher’s manual. Recently, she is being invited more and more by universities to teach students.