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Jan 19
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Meeting our Ling Family in Kham

Nyima's grannyGesar Fund Update

article by Acharya Han de Wit

Gesar Fund boardmember Nyima Kunga was recently joined by boardmember and Shambhala teacher Acharya Han de Wit and his wife Ineke, founder of the Gesar Fund Foundation for a journey to Kham in Tibet to check on the aid being provided there by the Gesar Fund. Acharya de Wit reports on the experience…

The ninety year old grandmother of our board member Nyima Kunga has seen it all: the invasion of the Chinese communist troops in Yushu in 1959, the fights, the hunger, the humiliation, the captivity, and the work camps. Later in 1966, she also bore witness to the social and spiritual destruction during the three years of ‘cultural revolution.’ And now she sings an old Buddhist song for us which she learned from her mother.

Ineke and I are sitting in the smallest room of the house, packed together with four generations of Nyima’s family: our grandson Chado, his father Nyima, Nyima’s mother Achi and Ayi herself, Chado’s great-grandmother who is singing for us, barely audible in the silence of this little room.

Ineke, founder and honorary member of our Gesar Fund and Achi – the two grandmothers of Chado – hold each other’s hands. I am sitting in front of Ayi and marvel about her. Dressed in her Tibetan chuba she seems as timeless as Tibetan culture itself. While she turns the prayer wheel, I stammer out a few words in Khamke, the local Tibetan dialect.

Nyima Kunga

Nyima Kunga

Every year, the family comes from the high Chendu down to Xining. And this time Ineke and I also are present. Not only we are the grandmother and grandfather of Chado, but, according to Tibetan tradition, we are such for áll grandchildren. They all sit up and crawl over us just as easily as on their biological grandparents. It is very cosy with all the little ones!

Ayi all of her descendants belong to the clan of Ling. Ling was the county where Gesar was king around the 11th century. The husband of Ayi was a student of the 10th Trungpa. Our own dharma teachers, Chogyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham, are descendants of Gesar himself. For these teachers the spiritual and the secular are not separated areas. This is the vision of Shambhala and of Gesar of Ling. This is also why we chose the name Gesar Fund for our foundation.

Ayi thinks it speaks for itself that all these karmic connections now culminate in our gathering. “In our family,” she says, “social and spiritual exercises always went together,” translates Nyima. It reminds me of all the actions they deployed for the Gesar Fund after the 2010 earthquake (take a look at the photos on our photo stream): their own houses were destroyed and on the high plains of the Himalayas they lived through three severe winters in tents. Still they kept on working for the relief of others.

In line with these dharmic connections, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche had given me permission to transmit a meditation practice that evokes the inspiration and spirit of Gesar: The Windhorse of Authentic Presence, written by the Sakyong in 1995. Such a transmission can only be done orally from person to person and is called a lung. So now there was the opportunity to give this lung for the Gesar practise to our local Gesar volunteers.

Acharya Han de Wit

Acharya Han de Wit

After a formal request to receive this lung was made and some initial verses – the seven line supplication to Padmakara and a short mandala offering – were recited in Tibetan by the adults, the little ones listened silently to this Dutch ‘khenpo of Shambhala’. I gave a short talk on our lineage and the place of Gesar in it, as not different from the Rigden kings. I mentioned that this lung offers permission to practice with this text and that one could just see it as making a further connection with the energy of the warrior tradition of Shambhala.

After the lung, our local Gesar volunteers told me they truly wanted to practice this. For Nyima’s generation, practicing the Buddhadharma is still a matter of course.

Ineke and I saw what we expected to see: the Buddhadharma and the practice of it are so deeply rooted in Tibetan culture that they cannot be destroyed by anything or anyone. The same goes for the heart and the self-evident willingness to stand ready for other people and to help them improve their living conditions.

And that is the same heart as the heart of the donors to our Gesar Fund.
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2 responses to “ Meeting our Ling Family in Kham ”
  1. Vicki Alexis Genson
    Jan 31, 2015

    HAN and INEKE,
    you have made my new year full and i’m delighted that you have the strength, along with your pure hearts,
    to travel to the land of the snowlion.
    miss you and love you both,

  2. Linda V. Lewis
    Jan 23, 2015

    Wonderful to hear of this continuing connection and support. Thank you for sharing and for all you are doing for our brothers + sisters of Ling!

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