using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : May 2017
Jinpa defines compassion as “a sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved. Compassion is a response to the inevitable reality of our human condition—our experiences of pain and sorrow—and offers the possibility of responding with understanding, patience, and kindness.” It’s no coincidence that his words echo those of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, since he is best-known as His Holiness’ principal Eng- lish translator since 1985. This former monk is now a family man living in a modest townhouse in Montreal. I sipped coffee with him on his backyard patio as he talked about how compassion per- meates his personal life and his work as a scholar, author, translator, and leader in the dialogue between Buddhism and science. THUPTEN JINPA WAS JUST one year old when his family fled to India in 1959 in the wake of the Dalai Lama’s escape. At a school for refugee children, he had a traditional Tibetan Bud- dhist education. “Every Sunday afternoon, a monastic teacher would give a dharma teaching,” Jinpa remembers. “He told stor- ies about Buddhism coming to Tibet, the sacrifices great trans- lators made, and the invention of the Tibetan language system. The traditional culture was being preserved with the children.” When he was six years old, Jinpa was chosen to walk along- side the Dalai Lama when His Holiness visited the school. “I remember holding his hand and trying to keep up with his pace,” he says. Jinpa asked His Holiness if he could become a monk, to which His Holiness replied, “Study well and you can become a monk anytime you wish.” When Jinpa was nine, his mother passed away and his father became a monk, which was not uncommon upon the death of a spouse. Two years later, Jinpa decided he wanted to become a monk too. He joined his father’s monastery in southern India, but soon became frustrated with its lack of academic explora- tion. “The main education consisted of memorizing and chant- ing liturgical texts without knowing their meaning,” he says. “I felt intellectually restless and increasingly uncomfortable.” Jinpa realized that learning English was the key to exploring new ideas. “I had a basic ability to read English but my con- versational skills were almost nonexistent,” he says. “I made do with comic books and a cheap used transistor radio. The Voice of America had a unique program broadcasting in English, in which the presenter spoke slowly and repeated every sentence twice. This was immensely helpful.” The early 1970s were the height of the hippie movement in India. Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s home and seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, was a favorite spot to hang out, smoke some chillums, and explore Buddhism. His Holiness’ teachings attracted spiritual seekers from across the globe, with whom Jinpa would practice his English, read Western literature, try exotic new foods like pancakes, and learn to use a knife and fork. “Through English, I learned to read a globe,” Jinpa says. “That made the news of great countries come to life—England, America, Russia, and our beloved Tibet, which had tragically fallen to Communist China.” At the same time, Jinpa deepened his knowledge of Bud- dhism and the Tibetan language with a teacher named Zemey Rinpoche, who recognized the young monk’s restless intellect. In 1978, Jinpa moved to Ganden, a large monastery in southern India renowned for its intellectual rigor. On completing his studies there, he was awarded the degree of geshé lharampa, the At age 11, Thupten Jinpa (far right, with his dog, Dorje) entered Dzongkar Choede monastery in southern India, where he was frustrated by the emphasis on rote learning. In the 1970s, Dharmasala, home of the Dalai Lama, was popular among Western hippies and spiritual seekers. There, Jinpa (second from left) polished his English and learned about the modern world. LION’S ROAR | MAY 2017 48