"If I tell you my dream, you will probably forget it. When I start living it, maybe you can remember it. But when you get into it, it will become also your dream. "
And the story began ...
“…nothing happens by chance…“ I think I was born with this understanding, but thanks to the Buddhadharma, Lamas and especially to Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche it acquired a whole new dimension. And every step I made uncovered new signs.
All those steps led us – me and my husband Peter – to an incredibly strong moment which changed our life forever.
In one karmic moment, we both met with the Rinpoche, each of us being driven by a different challenge. Peter was asked to help organize a visa for one Lama from the East, who was to come to teach in Europe for the first time. I met someone who offered to hand over a foundation supporting children in Nepal to someone with some organizational skills J. In the East, the foundation was operating under the auspices of one highly realized lama.
We, my husband and I, both assumed these challenges and new tasks with responsibility. Soon after we realized that we both started to “work” for the same Lama – Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche. There was no doubt this wasn’t just an accident!
Both these tasks were accomplished successfully. Rinpoche got the visa and I fulfilled my dream – I had “my foundation”.
Our life changed completely. We felt that everything we do from this moment will always be connected with this Lama, with East – and with Buddhism.
Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Ani Tenzin, Petr Hodan a Vlasta Hodanová
East… All eastern philosophy attracted us very much. We searched for information, read, listened, go to lectures by teachers who passed on fascinating teachings on freedom and joy, which is the most essential nature of every living being. We both found out that gradually, step by step, we receive answers to all our questions.
At the same time, while finding ourselves, discovering the perfection and potential of the human mind and learning about the cause and effect, we started to bring to life our NALA endowment fund and looked for likeminded people who could join us. We searched for information about Nepal, its capital Kathmandu, and learned more about the obstacles and hardships the local people had to face. All of a sudden, we realized how much easier it is to live in Europe, in many aspects. Nepal has free school education, but for many people it is inaccessible because parents are can’t provide for basic tools or to transport their children to school. As a result, the kids are often illiterate and live on the streets, begging. Monastic schools guided by realized Lamas are often the only chance for such kids… But as we know now, it is also the best chance. The monastery gives them accommodation, food, education – and above all the Dharma, Buddhas teaching, which is highly respected in this country and helps them live a better and more meaningful life.
All of a sudden, we realized how much easier it is to live in Europe, in many aspects.
Our desire to help and contribute gradually formed in a specific vision and in 2012 it led our steps to the place that later on became our second home, to the kids we wished to help and to the monastic school we wanted to support... And we especially looked forward to meeting our that wonderful Lama and a great man, Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche!
I remember the first visit vividly in all details. The mixture of feelings, emotions that waited for me there… very interesting – all that time, from the very moment we got off the plane in Kathmandu airport to the flight home, interesting thigs had been happening… It is like if you set something in motion, you are in the flow, knowing that a new, different life-story of yours is being written…
A beautiful nun, Ani Tenzin, who is now an inseparable part of our Nala family, welcomed us at the airport …
She allowed us some time for accommodation and a quick rest and then we went to see the children… When we were walking the streets of Kathmandu, I tried to concentrate and calm down my thoughts and my beating heart. I had so many thoughts. What it would be like when I see the kids. I told myself: ‘You mustn’t cry! You mustn’t embarrass them! You must be strong!’ I was afraid. I worried that when I’d see those sad, suffering children, as when I saw children during my work placements in children’s homes and institutions in the Czech Republic, that I will start crying …
On the way, Ani told us that the children the monastery took care of live in a former old peoples’ home, an old devasted building that can accommodate only 80 of them and that the conditions are not ideal.
the monastery took care of live in a former old peoples’ home, an old devasted building that can accommodate only 80 of them and that the conditions are not ideal.
She also mentioned a fact that was determining for all our future activity – that Rinpoche had started with preparations for the construction of a new monastery and a monastic school in the mountains outside Kathmandu, where up to 150 children could live. The plan was to move the children there.
At that moment we were already approaching the gate to the garden where the old school was located. We stood in the yard in front of the building, waiting what would happen next…my heart was beating fast J…..and suddenly from all the doors and all corners, so many kids of various age ran out with so much joy and sparkles in their eyes, that tears really welled up in my eyes … happiness…..There was so much joy in the air that it was almost too much to bear…the whole „house of cards“ collapsed…and I knew I was where I had to be.
The introduction with the children began. (It was impossible to remember all the names, I relied completely on my visual memory.) We gave them gifts… Then we went through the building, that was their home for so many years… but to me it didn’t seem much homely. The conditions were really deep below our living standards. I felt the huge gap between the beauty, spontaneity and joy in those eyes – and the real physical place in the centre of Kathmandu. It went deeper and deeper, to all cells of my body.
Quiet and emotional we looked at each other (me and my husband) and we knew we both had the same clear thought, idea or instruction…We are going to help these kids with a runny nose… we will create better conditions for their life and study…we will do everything we can to finish the construction of the new monastery, new home for these little ones.
The beauty, spontaneity and joy in those eyes.
We fell asleep with this thought that night, after a long talk about our impressions and feelings. We made plans, both feeling a complete trust – we had no doubts that it will work out.
The sleep hadn’t wash the thought away and we woke up with a clear plan…first to meet with Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche to find out in what phase the project is, perhaps look at the location and document everything, so that we can act after returning to the Czech Republic.
All went well. We got home with loads of photo material, with project plans and Rinpoche’s blessing. And especially with our heart open…
We woke up with a clear plan…first to meet with Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche to find out in what phase the project is, perhaps look at the location and document everything, so that we can act after returning to the Czech Republic.
Autor of the text: Vlasta Hodanová, zakladatelka nadačního fondu NALA.