Hello, my name is Samdup Tinley, and I am 27 years old. Before I became a monk, I lived with my parents, wife, and children in a small house, which was located in a village surrounded by many narrow mountains and isolated caves. Some parts of the mountains were very slippery and therefore appeared to be very dangerous for my parents, wife, and children who had no experience in climbing such steep slopes. Therefore, since I was the only son and a father of two daughters, I felt that it was my responsibility to climb these mountains, and collect fruits and vegetables for my family. I made a journey up these mountains three times per week and most of the time I collected wild mushrooms, roots, green leaves, ripe bananas, and berries.
I met my wife nine years ago, at a spiritual ceremony that took place in my village. After our marriage, she moved into my house and helped my parents recover from their severe illnesses, which had lasted for a couple of years. A year after our marriage, she gave birth to our two daughters. The oldest one is seven years old and her name is Tsewang, which means, “life empowerment.” The youngest one is four years old and her name is Thubten, which means, “the Buddha’s teaching.” We gave both of our daughters Tibetan names.
Each morning, my family and I gathered in the living room and prayed to Buddha and to the other deities for spiritual guidance. More specifically, when we were praying, we tried our best to clear our minds so that we could follow and fulfill the steps of the Four Noble Truths. We believed that satisfying the steps of the Four Noble Truths was a crucial aspect in obtaining nirvana. After praying, we would always discuss the significance about the right view, the right conduct, and the right practice, which were outlined in the Noble Eightfold Path.
As an adept person, my primary skill is in Buddhist ritual. The secondary skills that I plan on developing are in farming and in healing. I want to develop my skills in farming because without food, people would starve, and this starvation could eventually lead to various types of illnesses and/or death. I want to prevent this from happening. I believe that having an abundant amount of food is very important. In addition, having a lot of food can help with building a temple, which is very important to the lives of those who are studying the sutras and are part of the sangha. I also want to develop my skills in healing so that people do not have to endure any kind of pain or illness. As a community, I believe that it is important to help one another so that the community can grow as a whole.
Currently, I live in a small monastery. The monastery that I am living in is located in a remote Himalayan village. I am planning to leave this monastery in a couple of months so that I can study and live on my own in a cave nearby the mountains. I want to leave the monastery and the sangha, so that I can clear my mind more easily, have no distractions and meditate in a more natural world. I feel that I need to have some time alone so that I can understand the Dharma better.
Lately, I’ve been hearing some news that a hailstorm might hit the Himalayan village this week. There are rumours that the hailstones could possibly be the size of grapefruits and could damage all or several of the crops and houses.
Luckily, I have two protective amulets that are carved in woodblocks. One of the amulets is known to be the Male Sky Protector and the other amulet is the Female Earth Protector. These two amulets are supposed to protect the people in the Himalayan village from the hailstorm. The design of the Male Sky Protector represents the Sky Father, Khenpa, and is used to ask for his protection, particularly for a household. The Female Earth Protector amulet represents the Earth Mother, Khonma, and is used to ask for her protection, in particular for a household. Both of these protective amulets are placed above my door.
Also, Atharva Veda, which is a collection of ancient Indian charms and amulets, explains how amulets are animate objects and are better than most medications. This means that amulets are supposed to protect people from the various dilemmas that could possibly occur. Therefore, I strongly believe in the power and in the guidance of these two amulets in protecting the Himalayan village from the hailstorm.
Although I am in constant distress about this upcoming hailstorm, I believe that I should disregard it and leave it up to the two protective amulets. I understand that the first of the Four Noble Truths is, “Life is duhkha.” I believe that worrying about this hailstorm is not going to allow me to fulfill the Four Noble Truths. Therefore, I understand that I should leave this dilemma up to the Male Sky Protector and the Female Earth Protector.