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Being Tashi, facing the death of a child

Being Tashi, facing the death of a child

Laveeta, who lives in Ohio, took refuge and the five precepts at the Abbey one June evening and received the refuge name Thubten Tashi. A few weeks later, her adult son, Glenn, was killed in a car accident. She immediately called the Abbey and asked what to do spiritually to aid him in his transition. The next day she emailed us the following note.

Dear Abbey and Dharma friends,

My family is meditating and reciting the King of Prayers each day. We are working on a plan to do an act of kindness on Glenn’s behalf.

We feel so very supported by our sangha at the Abbey. This is an incredible blessing at this time of rawness. Know that we appreciate each and every one of the lovely beings at the Abbey.

Being Tashi and not Laveeta is very real to me currently. Laveeta would be popping Xanax like candy. She’d be tearing up her home. She’d be angry, hateful, and probably suicidal. Laveeta would be stuck in samsara.

Candle by a Buddha statue.

Tashi takes refuge in the Three Jewels. She has the Buddha, Dharma and her precious sangha for refuge. (Photo by Erich Ferdinand)

Tashi takes refuge in the Three Jewels. She doesn’t need Xanax, she has the Buddha, Dharma and her precious sangha for refuge. Tashi meditates and trusts in the Dharma. She contacts her Dharma friends at the Abbey for advice.

Tashi cleans and opens her home to grieving friends. She looks for the lesson to improve her life. She renounces samsara and suffering. She embraces change and impermanence.

I love being Tashi! I expect more from myself as Tashi. I check myself. “Would this be a Tashi, or a Laveeta thing to do?” I always choose to be Tashi. Taking precepts was life-altering. And being able to have Venerable give them to me was so precious.

There is a lot of pain with losing a child. More than I’ve ever felt before. And yet, it’s less than Laveeta’s over-attached way of grasping. It’s Tashi, me, letting go. Letting go of the PAIN of attachment. Letting go of anger. Of ignorance. And being blessed and a blessing, even when samsara crashes down.

Thank you for existing. I wouldn’t have the Dharma without you. I wouldn’t have peace, in my chaotic world.

Thubten Tashi (Laveeta)

Venerable Samten shares Tashi’s journey in this BBC talk.

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.

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