Ecolianers in Tibet

Monday, 12. May 2014

by Daniel Davis Wood

A few weeks ago, during the spring break, two Ecole students spent time making a special journey to a Buddhist monastery on the Tibetan Plateau in China. There they visited a Buddhist monk who has longstanding ties to our school, and at last night’s Sunday Andacht they shared their experiences with the rest of the Ecole community.

When Ami MacKenzie, from the United States, joined Jackie Sun at his home in China, they retreated into the mountains of Tibet to live the simple life for a while. Their experiences included tense encounters with Tibetan mastiffs, discussions of the political difficulties in Tibet under Chinese control, and an appreciation of extraordinary hospitality on the part of their hosts at the monastery.

The monk they went to visit is a friend of Jackie’s family and is known locally as a wise and holy man who was destined to join the monastic order from birth. He is also a friend of Alain Richard, who has been a teacher at the Ecole for many years and has also visited the mountain on which the monastery is located. Alain joined Ami and Jackie on stage last night to add stories of his Tibetan experiences to the stories the students brought back from their vacation.

Ami and Jackie’s Andacht was the first student-led Andacht of the new school term. The Andacht, which is held in the Grossen Saal every Sunday night, offers all members of the Ecole community a time for quiet thought and reflection as they prepare to start a new week. The founder of our school, Paul Geheeb, believed it to be the school’s most important weekly event. Variously presented by teachers, by students, and by visitors to the school, it centers around just one or two community members who select an issue or experience that is important to them and share a little of its significance with the rest of the school.