by 16 Guidelines staff
Jan Kowbel is a volunteer teacher at Buu Tich Monastery in Vietnam. Keen to share the 16 Guidelines with the children there, she left her home in Canada with a copy of Ready Set Happy and a donated blackboard. She also asked her friend Heather Moore, a professional designer, to create some wall charts for the monastery school.
Each wall chart is illustrated with photographs. The wallchart for Service includes a photograph by Thich nu Tinh Quang and an illustration of a woman in a wheelchair, which helped Jan to explain that a wheelchair would be helpful for an elderly woman at the monastery.
Jan wrote back to Heather:
“Yesterday I had seen some wonderful examples of service and decided to talk about it in class. It is very difficult to have any meaningful conversation about these "concepts", because of the language barrier. They exist in full force, but couching them in simple language is difficult.
“If you could have seen the look on their faces when they saw that the girls with the wash pans in the service guidelines were their very own selves.
“They each wash their own clothes at least once and sometimes twice a day in these pans, at the well (yes, with a wind-up bucket). It is so much a part of their lives.
“It also happened that that morning they were bathing Suco Tam Kong’s 80 year-old mother who has Alzheimer’s and lives at the monastery. Four girls carried her to bathe her. Later I mentioned to Suco Tam Kong that perhaps a wheelchair would be great. Language barrier again. So I took out the service picture and showed her the person in the wheel chair. Nods and smiles.
“Previously I had asked permission to film the walking and chanting meditation that takes place each morning. When the time came for me to film, there was Suco’s mother all dressed and in her wheel chair. The girls wheeled her in lovingly and made sure she was part of the filming.
“Your work is amazing - I can’t begin to express how blessed I am to have it with me.”