by Ruth King, Nepal ’14
His name is Aaidu Lama. He has 1 son and 1 daughter. I knew that it was common here for there to be arranged marriages, but when I asked he just smiled and laughed and said, “I love my wife.” He worked so hard every day we were at the worksite. He was small, smaller than the rest and seemed to work the hardest. He said that “working was no problem, it is my job and what I must do.” I asked him if he want to school. He said that he had studied in school for only one year in a school for monks, but the pens and paper was too expensive for his family and so he had to stop and start working, however his family would travel up into the mountains in a remote area to meditate for 3 to 4 months every year. He said he would connect with god. Aaidu Lama was dressed in all red, and always wore prayer beads, that I would see him count every day. He said, “This is my sacred counting,” ten thousand times every day since he was 17 and he is now 48. Aaidu Lama is a monk, he had a gentle look in his face every time he spoke. He said that hopefully if he prays every day god will give him and his children a better life. He said that he works for his family and when I asked why [he] does not live in his monastery, he looked at me questioning and said “in my house is my family.” He is very serious about his monastery in town and he is hopeful that the future of the monastery will improve. I asked if someday he would like to travel somewhere and he said, “yes, but no time, maybe to India and the Buddha’s birth place” so that he can connect with his inner mind.
Aaidu Lama was very quiet and seemed shy however one thing I could not help but notice was his smile. He smiled all through the day, through the interview. For my last question I asked why he always smiles, I watched to see if his expression would change, and I was pleasantly surprised when his smile just turned into a bigger, grander smile. He said, “This is me happy. I want to be happy. When I am working I am happy.” I started getting emotional at the end thinking about how much we have compared to how little he has. Yet he is so happy working. In the U.S.., work is considered a hassle and for Aaidu Lama, he worked all day for free and he was happy. I thought that was beautiful and something we should all learn from. Thank you Aaidu Lama for teaching me that working for others and to benefit others is a beautiful process and not something that should be looked past.