There are 8 elderly gentlemen who have become my friends. Their ages range from 72 to 91 years old. They live in Monterey, Santa Cruz, Carmel, and the Big Sur. They may have found me through the internet, the newspaper, or Facebook; I am not really sure how they first found me. When I speak with them and ask them to attend Saturday morning meditation, many say that they would like to come, but unfortunately they are unable to for various reasons. Some say, “I would like to come but I cannot drive”. Others say, “I am sick and am in the hospital” or “I live too far away”.
Because they are unable to visit, some of these gentlemen have asked me, “Khenpo, could you please call me once per week?”. I call them and make sure that they’re OK. I greet them with, “Tashi delek. Hello, how are you?”. Sometimes I teach them mantras such as OM MANI PADME HUM. Some even want to learn how to meditate, so I teach them how to meditate over the phone. I also joke with them and make them laugh.
Afterwards,they say things like, “It is so good to hear your voice and I am so happy that you called me today. After speaking with you, I feel happy for the rest of the day. Could you please call once per week?”
It also makes me happy to call them. If they are happy, it makes me feel so much happier. Many elderly people suffer from many problems, especially from loneliness. I makes my heart happy because I have the opportunity to help people through their suffering. Dharma is not just giving teachings, but also giving love and compassion, and love and compassion is what they need.
Written by Khenpo Karten Rinpoche, Sunday, Feb.3, 2020