Saturday, April 12, 2008

Notes from the Buddha, part IV

The lama and his brother were probably the two happiest people I have ever seen. They came from a family of 10+. When we asked the lama his age, he said 61, or maybe 62, with a wave of his hand.

The lama was so happy about silly things that he was almost as immature as a child. He would laugh at things that "normal" adults wouldn't find funny, like somebody cutting in line for tea. He also loved pictures in a way that I will never be able to understand.

His brother, on the other hand, did not speak English at all. He set up our tents and taught us how to carve prayer stones, but he was never able to communicate at all. Somehow, he seemed even happier to see us. His natural face was a semi-smile, and he would break into a full laugh at the drop of a hat.

But his language barrier didn't isolate him from us, instead it brought him closer. There was literally no way that any of us could have gotten into an argument or any sort of disagreement with him. All that he offered us was his happiness. At the end of the weekend he said goodbye to everybody, and tapped people's foreheads with his forehead, which was disarmingly endearing. Nobody knew how to react.