My good friend Khenpo Dhondup has been in my house for a few weeks now and he has been an incredibly welcome addition. While life has not changed too drastically with a Buddhist Monk in our home (I am not sure what that says about my social life), there are some adjustments and new routines we have taken on as a result of our guest. He also has been incredibly helpful, not just by aiding us with a peaceful state of mind, but also by being an extra set of hands around the house. He helps with the garden and dishes; he’s basically part of the family now.
Sometimes we forget that we have a Buddhist monk living with us because we are so used to him. When we have people stop by we are reminded how unique it is. The Fedex delivery guy, the neighbors, and our dog walker have all gotten to know him. We also take strolls after dinner with my husband and have become regulars at the local ice cream stand.
There have definitely been some adjustments for Khenpo living in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. Our Golden Retriever Marshall is very involved with any house guest and this case has been no different. Khenpo has learned that his slippers must never be left out, and that if you are sitting idle a slobbery tennis ball will be brought and shoved in your lap. Khenpo has been open to playing with Marshall.
Khenpo has also met “Alexa” (Amazon’s virtual assistant). This was described as “magical” at first, although she has a very hard time understanding Khenpo, (in his defense Alexa often doesn’t even understand me and I am his English teacher). It took a while for us to explain that we were not saying “elixir” which he was set on at first. Often I will come home from work and she will be playing some obscure station or music. Khenpo said he had trouble getting her to go away…
Khenpo has started taking advanced English classes offered by the library in town, a five minute walk from our house. Beyond that his day is full of reading, doing writings in English (which I correct) and getting some much desired rest and relaxation. He gives my husband and I teachings from the Santideva’s book “A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life”, so we can each work on our spiritual growth. We also have been doing morning meditations with him and even Marshall participates.
So life has been good with the addition of my friend. In this current stressful world it has been so beneficial to have someone helping us stay patient, dissolve feelings of anger, and eat tons of vegetables. Khenpo prays before every meal and although we don’t know what he is saying we love taking a moment to be grateful for our Buddhist Monk.