When I was seven years old I saw a photo in a newspaper of a young man, just nine years older than I, wearing a strange, tall, yellow hat — and in the background was
the Pottala, the fifteenth-century monastery of the Dalai Lamas in Lhasa, Tibet.
It was my grandmother who was reading the paper, while elegantly smoking her cigarette in a silver and ebony holder. Sitting across from her in our living room in Germany, I compared our huge dark, wooden Bauhaus-style bookcase with the architecture of the Pottala, and thought that there was some similarity.
Finally I asked her to read the article to me. It described the invasion of the Chinese army into Tibet. Many innocent children, monks and nuns were killed…because according to Mao Tse Tung, “religion is poison.” I was so appalled, recognizing that a senseless act of violence could erase a nation of people because of their religion.
Similar to what had happened to our own Jewish community not so long before, this atrocity was happening again in another part of the world. Would there be a next generation if all were killed now? It must have been the power of their beliefs that made Mao feel that he needed to kill them. The question I asked my grandmother was, “what was that belief”? She then gave me my first introduction to Buddhism, explaining to me that there was a religion and a people whose strongest belief was that of compassion.
The senselessness of the violence infuriated me so! I wore black for one week and made a vow: “When I am grown I will help the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet.”
It took forty years before I was able to realize my promise… but I have.
Inspired in the spring of 1993 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Dharamsala, I formed the Kailash Foundation of New York the following year. My support built, from scratch, the monastery, orphanage/hostel, school and library, “The Ugyen Sanag Choeling” Monastery in Spiti Valley, Northern India at the border of Tibet for the Tibetan community. This monastery was inaugurated in 2004 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 25,000 fellow Buddhists attended the opening ceremonies and weeklong teachings.
“One day, Buddhism may be brought back to Tibet from this place,” His Holiness said as he was leaving the new monastery.
TIBET IN EXILE: The Flame of the Dalai Lama is the first in a series of four documentaries by Sylvia Faddis about life in Tibet today.For detailed information and purchase go to http://www.kailashfoundation.org
And now we celebrate the 20th anniversary of my foundation!
I am very excited, happy and proud to share that for this anniversary event I received a special letter of acknowledgement from H.H. the Dalai Lama, with loving blessings and gratitude for my work and extended to all the friends who have helped to accomplish the body of work of the Kailash Foundation over the years.
His support is like a shining light and refuels my energy to continue.
I am planning a fundraising event in December at my place in New York City, where my Tibetan and worldwide treasures will be available for sale, in order to benefit the ongoing projects of the Kailash Foundation of New York.
Please stay tuned for further details! All are invited and welcome.
Let love and compassion never leave your heart! I send gratitude to my patients and friends who have helped the continuation of my work with their creative help and contributions.
Tashi Delek! Welcome to all.
Sylvia Faddis, President
Kailash Foundation of New York
P.S. Remember to ask for a warming cup of butter tea or a delicious glass of hot spiced tea from the recipes of my book “Tea and Travels: Life Filled to the Brim.”
Here is a great tea recipe from my friend Sharon for these chilling Autumn days and nights.
Bring to boil one liter of water, and gather:
1 sliced lemon
2” piece of fresh ginger, sliced
1 large sprig of basil
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sage leaf
5 – 6 fresh rose petals
2 sprigs cilantro
1 strawberry, sliced
1 tea bag of Earl Grey or any tea you prefer including Green Tea
5 or 6 tablespoons of raw local honey may be added.
Pour the boiling water over all ingredients and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
Any leftover tea may be enjoyed as iced tea the following day.