A Tibetan Refugee Visits an American-Tibetan Buddhist Monastery by Kunsang Palmo

[Guestpost by Kunsang Palmo]

I pass by a Tibetan monastery every time I am on the shuttle to my liberal arts college from my apartment off­campus. I never thought of visiting it because monasteries have never been places that are meaningful independently. They are places where I have formed a lot of beautiful memories and they have also been places where I felt trapped by ritualistic handshakes, bows, smiles, and other social formalities. As a child in Nepal, I played games there, and as an adult in America, I sit next to the popular gossips and listen to my mom reminisce about refugee life with them. Going to a monastery means that my mom and I pull out our best chubas, Tibetan dresses, and sit down with other beautifully dressed women and speak in Tibetan. We remind ourselves that we are indeed Tibetan and not the Americans we…

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