An excerpt from a letter that Tim wrote to Sravasti Abbey in May 2011.
Back in early 2006, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Venerable Thubten Chodron and Venerable Thubten Tarpa during their visit to Airway Heights Correctional Center. At that time, I had been in prison for a year and was very angry and frightened. I was so busy looking at others—watching for any signs that they were going to harm me—that I had no energy left for myself. In short, my life sucked.
That first meeting lasted an hour or so, and the topic Ven. Chodron spoke on was “Inner Anger.” I had never thought of anger in that way before, but it makes sense since anger has to come from somewhere. Previously I was embroiled in the idea, “It’s not me that is pissed off, it’s always them!! They make me do it! They make me angry!” Was I off track!
Never in my life had I taken the time to sit down and truly listen to what was being said. And never, never would I believe this life-changing information would come from a small, shaved-headed, 120-pound soaking wet lady wrapped in bed sheets (LOL). Are you serious?
Well, to say the least, that day, at that very moment, this red-necked Texan learned not to judge a book (nun) by her cover!
I cannot express the life-altering change that short talk started in me. Over the last five plus years I have been blessed to listen in person and on tape to Ven. Thubten Chodron and read several of her books. Over time I have learned why to meditate and how to meditate. I have learned to deal with my issues because I am the fire in that flame. Never in my life would I have admitted that I was my greatest enemy, when it was always so easy to blame “them.”
Me! Me? How can I be my worst enemy? Easy. Because I have never learned how to listen to myself. I was 42 years old and did not have a clue who I was at all. I had extreme anxiety, was overweight, in very poor health, and even worse, suffered from low self-esteem.
No longer. Today I take little to no medication. I am lean and healthy, happy and positive. I will be getting out of prison this year.
In closing, they say everything in the universe started with a “bang.” In that case, the spark in my life came from Sravasti Abbey!
Venerable Thubten Chodron
Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.