The Disrobed Monk Who Provides Safe Haven to 85 Children – Joan Duncan Oliver

The writer was feeling in need of some loveliness and encouragement today, and went looking (thank you, Gina Belton and the Society for Humanistic Psychology, Division 32 on Facebook).

There is a lot that is toxic in the world, a lot of cruelty, a lot of unkindness, a lot of inertia and indifference*. But there is also this……..

On looking a little further….. this is the film website:-

There is a trailer for this multi-award winning film, and we would also strongly recommend the interview with Lobsang Phuntsok (click on the tab marked ‘story’ and cursor down to get to the interview). He is the ‘monk’ of the title, the founder of this community. He begins by sharing some of his own experience of childhood:-

‘Honestly, I don’t have any good or pleasant experience, I should say, as a child. Sometimes I feel I would do anything to have a real experience of a pleasant childhood. I remember maybe a couple of times when I thought that it was better to end my life.

People really didn’t like me. As a child, I would create problems, break people’s windows, or break their prayer flags. I particularly remember one incident where someone told me “You are not going to change. You are not going to get better”. And it’s amazing that this kind of incident, or this kind of bad remark you remember so clearly. I don’t know why that really stuck in my mind. Today still I can see the place and I can feel it.’

The writer found this interview powerful and moving. She was stuck by his humility, his ethic of service, and the ways in which he has used his own childhood experiences to reach into the heart of what is needed by children in similarly adverse circumstances, and make that vision a reality:-

‘The name of our community is Jhamtse Gatsal which means the Garden of Love and Compassion. It truly reflects what we are doing here. It’s pretty simple what we are doing here and why. I am not educated in what I am doing; I don’t have much skill in what I am doing and not any special expertise in the field that I am working. It was simply reflecting on my own needs as a young child. What was I looking for when I was young? It was simple and really important – that I was missing love and compassion in my life. And that was the biggest need when I was young. So through my own experiences I could connect to these kids that we have today in the community. What they need is a family. What they need is love. What they need is a sense of belongingness – loving family and safe home.’

May we all find that, in childhood and beyond.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

* After writing that, I visited the film website, and saw this:-

“…a lovely reminder that while there is a lot of darkness in the world, there are also beautiful shining points of light.”    –  Mountainfilm

This entry was posted in abuse, actualizing tendency, anger, child development, childhood abuse, compassion, core conditions, creativity, emotions, empathy, empowerment, encounter, good, growing up, healing, human condition, interconnection & belonging, kindness & compassion, love, parenting, person centred, presence, relationship, sadness & pain, self esteem, therapeutic growth, trauma, trust, vulnerability and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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