Venerable Thubten Jampa has lived at Sravasti Abbey for three years now and recently went to her native Germany for a visit. After a month she had a Skype call with the Abbey community to catch up and share. Afterwards she wrote the following to the community.

I am only able to practice now as best as I can, and therefore I am able to be joyful, because I learned it all from you and with you.

Let’s take an example: I am more open, confident, and interested in others. I realized that people here in Hamburg sometimes look a bit longer at me because I’m wearing robes. What do you think I do or think then? I SMILE! I smile and then they sometimes smile back.

Or I see people walking towards me, for example when I am in the park for a walk. Elderly people especially do not look so happy here. And it is amazing what happens when I smile at them. I am sure you know, but for me it’s new and amazing. They become my grandma, my neighbor, my friend. Smiling makes the park a big family where we feel some closeness to each other and some joy when walking by each other.

Before my training at the Abbey I seldom smiled at people I did not know, and I never greeted them. I was selfish and not interested in them. I was anxious or proud. But now I am more open, confident, and interested in them. I have the wish to connect with them and to do something good for them. This is much better then any cake!! Really, it is so satisfying! And I learned it all from you! Thank you!