I Want to go to McLeod Ganj to Study About Compassion with Tibetan Monks

Essay by Luke Foster

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquillity and happiness we all seek.” “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.” “Compassion naturally creates a positive atmosphere, and as a result, you feel peaceful and content.” “Love and compassion are the true religions to me.” Dalai Lama

Next year I am going to Brooklyn New York for an art studio residency for a month and I usually go overseas for a month once a year and this year it was to Rome, Athens, and Vienna. So, for 2025 I want to go to the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people: the McLeod Ganj.

I would love to do an exchange where I teach Tibetan monks English and they teach me about compassion and Buddhist philosophy. In late 2021 I sent the Dalai Lama a box of presents including a brand-new iPad still in the box and other things such as shoes and then mid-way through last year a big book of drawings about the Dalai Lama.

I feel the key to compassion for others, yourself and all animals and plants is hard to experience if you are stressed, anxious or self-absorbed. I feel the only time I have compassion is when I am happy. To be happy I need my two hours daily beach walking exercise which is both good physically and more importantly mentally too. The sand under my bare feet and sight and sound of the ocean leaves me Zen most days. Also, creativity also unburdens my mind and I creatively figure out how to be happy and compassionate. Yet when I am stressed, I don’t feel compassion and just dwell on my problems. I am starting to realise also how important it is to have good friends as a mainstay of compassion too.

When watching after yourself, you watch after others. When watching after others, you watch after yourself.”

I have been to India before in 2000 and only went to Chennai, Pondicherry and New Delhi and loved the deeply spiritual atmosphere of India.

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama