Author Topic: Footprints on the Journey: Missionary Nun - Khenpo Sodargye  (Read 1388 times)

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Footprints on the Journey: Missionary Nun - Khenpo Sodargye
« on: October 05, 2016, 09:12:12 am »
Missionary Nun

Upon seeing this title, some of you may wonder: As a Buddhist, why am I suddenly interested in affairs of non-Buddhists? But the object of my admiration and respect today, a Catholic nun, is beyond the simple definition of religious faith. In my heart, she is the living Buddha or a Bodhisattva. This person, incidentally, is none other than the renowned missionary nun—Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa was born into a well-educated family from Yugoslavia and had attended Catholic schools since childhood. At the age of 18, she went to Calcutta, India, where she initially enjoyed an easy and comfortable European lifestyle in a monastery complete with beautiful gardens.

One day, she discovered the utter misery of people living outside the tall walls of the monastery, and she could no longer live her peaceful daily life. When faced with scores of eyes desperately in want of care, she could no longer shut her own eyes. Driven by a strong sense of purpose and against the strong opposition of people around her, she ventured into the slum all alone. Bravely, she carried on her back the pains and sorrows of beings in the world; with her frail shoulders, she assumed the heavy burden of rescuing the destitute from the slums.

An utterly lonely old man was lying on a bed. No one had ever cared for him, nor did anyone ever heed whether he was still breathing. When the only visitor he could ever expect was the Lord of Death, Mother Teresa walked into his room. A drunk stretched out on the street, brutally beaten, and severely injured. When he could await nothing but indifference, Mother Teresa appeared and helped him up, escorting him to the “House of the Pure Heart” she had established. A tramp curved up on the roadside, his body covered with oozing sores and maggots. When he was receiving nothing but spiteful looks and revulsion from passersby, Mother Teresa came and bound up his wounds tenderly; she embraced his heart of total despair and gave it warmth…. Her footprints covered more than half of the earth—Calcutta, Yemen, London, Melbourne, New York, even China. She founded more than a hundred charity agencies to serve the lowly poor. She took in 61,273 abandoned babies in a period of merely six years.

Her untiring efforts finally gained the recognition of the world. In 1979, she was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. Overnight she became a household name. But she donated all her prize money to charity. In addition, she specifically requested the Nobel Committee to forgo the traditional banquet in honor of the Peace Prize winner. The committee was impressed by her spirit and contributed the $7,100 that would otherwise have been spent on the banquet to the Missionary of Charity that she founded.

Although she had become a celebrity, she still maintained an extremely frugal and sparing life. She owned only three sets of clothes; she wore no socks, only sandals. In an age of advanced electronics pervaded with computers and so forth, the only electrical equipment’s in her place were a few lamps and a telephone. She sold a Lincoln Continental limousine, a gift from the Pope, at an auction and used the money to open a leprosy hospital.

Although she was a Catholic nun, Mother Teresa had absolute respect for others’ religion. Every patient’s funeral is held according to that person’s religious faith.

She touched the hearts of world with her friendly words in an easygoing and simple manner: “There is hunger for ordinary bread, and there is hunger for love, for kindness, for thoughtfulness; and this is the great poverty that makes people suffer so much.”

“Hungry not only for bread —but hungry for love. Naked not only for lack of clothing—but naked for lack of human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks—but homeless because of rejection. Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”

 “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.”

“I don’t go to heaven for anything else, I will be going to heaven for all the traveling with all the publicity, because it has purified me and sacrificed me and made me really ready to go to heaven.”

 “We have an opportunity to love others as he loves us, not in big things, but in small things with great love, so Norway becomes a nest of love. And how beautiful it will be that from here a center for peace from war has been given. That from here the joy of life of the unborn child comes out. If you become a burning light of peace in the world, then really the Nobel Peace Prize is a gift of the Norwegian people.”

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that one missing drop. I do not agree with the big way of doing things. To us what matters is an individual effort.”

Although a tiny water droplet may not be worth mentioning, the gathering of a few droplets becomes a trickling rivulet, bringing some relief to those parched with thirst.

Although a single yarn is insignificant, the combination of several yarns can be used to weave cloth, bringing warmth to those shivering in the cold.

Although one grain of rice is hardly worth noticing, it is only by combining many grains of rice that there may be a bowl of porridge, bringing strength to those suffering from harsh starvation.

Let us follow Mother Teresa’s example. With a humble and willing spirit, we will give up the ambition of doing earthshaking undertakings, but start serving mankind bit by bit.

27th of February, Year of RenWu
April 9, 2002


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