8 year old Buddhist Abhaya Rinpoche’s touching story will amaze and delight you…Young Buddhist monk Abhaya Rinpoche, shown here in his Buddhist robes, has a very different way of handling bullies.
Living in New York, Abhaya Rinpoche has often been bullied by kids his age for being “different.” He’s a young Buddhist, and one of relatively few in the city.
“Kids would bully me and call me names, and make fun of my robes when I was meditating,” says Rinpoche.
I asked Rinpoche how the bullies made him feel. “Lonely,” he says. “As though I don’t belong here in New York.” He gazes out the window downat a group of kids in hoodies shoving a young boy into a convenience store. He sighs.
“There is an old story about the Buddha,” says Rinpoche, taking a book down from his shelf to show me. “It is a parable. The story goes something like this.” He leaps up excitedly and starts to act out a scene.
“Buddha took the monks into a forest,” he says. “There practiced Metta / Loving Kindness meditation. But while in the forest they began to hear strange noises and smell strange odors. They discovered that malevolent spirits were there in the forest with them.
They fled the forest. But then Buddha told them to return and practice loving kindness meditation. He told them to send out feelings of love and kindness to the ghosts. No sooner had they done this than the spirits became benevolent and friendly. When the monks stopped fearing the ghosts, the ghosts became their friends.”Young Buddhist monk Rinpoche was inspired by the story of the Buddha, as depicted in this ancient Buddhist artwork.
Rinpoche says that the story of the Buddha inspired him to take a different approach to the kids who had bullied him.
“I realised that anger is caused by fear,” he says. He stops suddenly and looks at a Star Wars poster on his wall. He laughs out loud. “It’s like Yoda said—‘Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. You know, Yoda’s meditations are actually real. Very similar to Buddha. Fear is the cause. Really, my suffering was the cause of bullies, who were angry at me. They were angry at me because they feared me. They feared me because they did not understand me.”Rinpoche turned to his Buddhist beliefs in order to overcome his fears
Overcoming fear is precisely what Rinpoche did. “I wanted the bullies to understand me. So I spoke to Mrs Thompson at school. I asked if I could take ten minutes of class time to talk to the school about my beliefs and practices. Mrs Thompson smiled and said yes.”
I asked Rinpoche how he felt about talking to other kids about his beliefs. “Scared,” he said. “But also… hopeful.”
The next day Rinpoche stood up in front of the whole class and talked about his beliefs. He explained that he believed in love and kindness, and that peace was the most important thing. “It was scary,” he says. “But I got through it.
The result? “After school that day the kids who had been calling me names came up to me and asked me questions. They asked me why I meditated. They asked me all sorts of things.” I asked him whether they were angry or whether they said anything nasty to him.
“No,” he says, laughing, “they were actually just friendly. It was just as the Buddha had said in the story: when we stop the fear, we stop the suffering.”So. What do you think about this young Buddhist monk? Inspiring story? Share it.