A letter to Venerable Chodron

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My name is Lauren and I am 14, and I am in high school. I was at first hesitant to write you because I was not sure if you read e-mails, but I would like to tell you something if you don’t mind.

Many people at my school are not very nice or kind to others. They make people feel bad and laugh at people when they do. For a long time, many of my Christian friends have been trying to get me to be Christian. I’m not mean or anything, but I do not believe in a God, and it is hard for me to tell them that. One time, a popular girl at school made fun of me because I am quiet and not popular like she is. Not that I want to be, because the popular kids in my school do drugs and drink. But anyway, they laugh at what I wear or say and I would get really depressed.

Tenenaged girl, smiling.

Now, at school, when I get laughed at, it doesn’t affect me. (Photo by Ivan Valentinov)

If you are still reading this, you might wonder why a 14 year-old girl is telling you her life story, but the main reason is what I will say next. I studied all of the main religions that I knew about and came to Buddhism. When I read about Buddha and how he enlightened himself, I knew then that Buddhism was the path to happiness. So now, at school, when I get laughed at, it doesn’t affect me. I have no anger, and I know that the people who laugh at me do not know what I know.

But to sum this up, the reason I wrote this e-mail is to tell you that I think you are my role model. I know that may sound silly but that is what I think. I have heard a lot about Buddhism from monks (men), but I like to hear more from nuns (women) because women are usually thought of less in our world and women have different views from men. I don’t know if that is right or wrong, but I wanted you to know that I think you are great and have done well with your life. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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