A magical day today. I met a Buddhist nun at Tushita, after finishing morning meditation (sans Hairy Bearded Dude). The only reason we met was because I heard uncontrollable laughter as I walked past her home, so I stopped to see what was going on. She’d just thrown a papaya skin into the woods for the monkeys and by mistake she’d also tossed her plate down the mountainside. She was laughing like a schoolgirl about it, no trace of irritation.
She retrieved the plate, introduced herself as Tenzin Tseyang and invited me to stay for hot ginger lemon honey, a popular drink on every restaurant menu I’ve seen since we arrived here.
And so I spent an hour or so, sitting on her verandah, listening to her talk. She had made the journey from Tibet to India as a small child and had no memory of it, which was just as well, as I’ve listened to several hard-to-hear stories about refugees’ harrowing travel on foot through the snow, many of them without shoes, arriving in their new country with whatever they could carry on their backs.
She spoke about how much she loves animals; her eyes filling with tears about the time she found a tiny, mewling, newborn kitten at Tushita and she had tried to help, but it didn’t survive.
We looked at happy photos of her family and her trips to Ladakh. When she showed me pictures of the beautiful flowers she had grown in her garden, there was that tinkling laugh again as she said, “Monkey ate them. No more flowers”. She found that amusing and not annoying. When I asked her if she was angry when they ate the flowers, she said, “No. No anger. Anger no good. No more anger”.
I asked her how she managed no more anger and she said through meditation. She had the same anger most of us have even when she first became a Buddhist nun. But after years of meditation, she no longer feels anger. “Anger no good for you, no good for me”.
I thought about that for a little while. Sometimes I’m like Tenzin Tseyang, laughing at life and seeing things in perspective when something irritating happens; sometimes I laugh at the monkeys. Other times, I could happily throw all the other plates down the mountain in a fit of rage. And possibly even go back inside to fetch all the papayas and hurl them, too.
And guess what? The more yoga, meditation and calm breathing I do, the more I can laugh at the monkey.