Reflections of Compassion


Hello and Tashi Delek.

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This blog contains random topics of my travels.

I have arrived in Dharamsala area and I am at the Gyuto Monastery which is the monastery I spent much time at last summer. I plan to remain here about a week as I adjust to the time difference. I am still not on schedule and have been awaking at about 3:00 am each morning. I finally decided to rise from bed at 4:20 and meditate and work on this blog.


My time in Delhi wiped me out. Not only is Delhi a massive city but it is filled with poverty in every direction you look therefore it is very draining on my emotions.

Watch Leann’s Photobucket slideshow from Delhi, India, Feb. 2009

It is so difficult to see the amount of suffering that it completely overwhelms me. This visit was even more troublesome then in the summer and I thought I would handle it better but this time in the Tibetan colony of Majnu Ka Tilla I was one of very few foreigners traveling. It was very busy with Tibetans traveling to gather with family for Losar but they are not really foreigners as they live and reside in India as refugees. Anyway, as one of few foreigners I was completely bombarded by the India beggars on the streets and at one time alone I had three women holding babies stating incessantly “milk, no money, please please, baby, milk, no money” it is just heart wrenching. At the same time I had three or four little children standing about waist high just looking up at me saying “chapatti, please, no money” and pointing to the street vendors making bread. Also at the same time there are those who have physical disabilities just looking at you and handing out their hands and saying “please, please Madame”. I found myself sitting in a side alley after the incident described above trying to look completely occupied on the cell phone as a man with a brace on his leg stood at my side relentlessly waiting for my attention. He proceeded to undo his brace and show me the damage to his leg. The size of his leg was smaller then my wrist and I asked him if it was from an accident. In his very broken English he informed me that it was from Polio. I had wondered all last summer what was the cause of so many people on the streets with physical disabilities and now I am aware of the destruction of Polio. He was persistent but because we had interaction and tried to communicate I went to have lunch and ordered a side of steamed rice to take to him. It is unusual to have food packaged to go so the restaurant worker looked at me a little funny but they found a plastic shopping bag to act as a carry out bag. I found the man on the street handed him the rice and immediately dashed to my hotel in case his fellow neighbors figured it out.

Straw homes by the river resized 400

It just kills me because if you give to one they all know and then they are even more persistent because they know you have compassion for them. These are the poor India homeless that live along the river behind Majnu Ka Tilla and photos of their straw homes on the river are found in my photobucket page located in the Delhi album. Most of my time in Majnu Ka Tillas was spent in my hotel because it was just draining for me.

As I was in the car for a 10 hour journey to Dharamsala I was reflecting on this experience and Mother Theresa came to mind. I can completely understand her conviction to dedicate her life to addressing the concern of poverty in India. She is truly a saint in the regard that the task is so big and daunting how did she even know where to start? I have cried the entire time of writing this post because I am here for a completely different focus in reaching out to the displaced population of Tibetans but I ponder on the thoughts of how I could incorporate a cross over project in the future.

So many people become desensitized to the suffering since there is so much here in India. I pray I will always maintain my compassion towards the homeless Indian population that suffers so greatly from destitute poverty. Children are not in school, they have no shoes, and they live in straw huts with nothing.

In a conversation with a Tibetan American man in the internet café I suddenly remembered the wise words given to me from a Tibetan monk last year. I had asked him “how do I stay compassionate when the beggars are so relentless and wont take no as an answer?” He addressed the concept of universal love and compassion. He stated that it is important to continue to show respect and look them in the eye with true compassion and say I am sorry and acknowledge them with love and compassion in your heart. I have found that with many a direct look in the eye, a bow of the head and fold of the hands in prayer position added with an “I am sorry, Namaste” will many times provide a connection and understanding and they respond with the same respect and an added “Namaste”. This is not always true but I am able to live with myself knowing I said a prayer at that moment for them and that I gave them what I have to offer. With this I hope to remain sensitive and compassionate to all who suffer and I hope these words will touch deeply in your hearts when you too encounter situations of people who are desperate you don’t know what to do.

Thank you for taking time to read my reflections on Compassion.

With love and compassion,


Now that I have arrived at the Monastery it may be a week or so before I am able to post again because I don’t think I have access to the internet from here and the bus ride to McLeod Ganj is about 1 ½ hour. I will be spending a great deal of time while at the monastery in solitude focusing on my literature review for my thesis.

I big Hello to my family and friends, I love you and appreciate your support.


Back To India

Tashi Delek.
Today is an exciting day as I announce my return trip to India. I will be working in a social work organization in the Tibetan community of Dharamsala where I was last summer. I have been awarded a research grant for my topic of non-violence which will be an important focus of this blog in the months to come.

The organization I will be working with is called Lha so check out their website.

I am initiating a clothing drive at this time to take to India. My friend Dolkar has two grandchildren that are in much need of clothing and shoes. The boy is 1 1/2 and the girl is a newborn. Many of you know how quickly the children grow so any items for children will be of great assistance for Dolkar’s family. Most of the donations will be contributed to Lha to be distributed as needed. I have had an offer from a kind person to pay for the fee to transport the donations so now I need your assistance in building a collection of items to donate. I will be happy to come by and pick up or you can drop it by.

Also I will continue the Pennies for Partnerships and anyone interested in making a contribution feel free to drop off coin jars, aluminum or clothing items :

436 N Mission Blvd
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Please drop soon so I can assess the situation.

Or you can mail a check if you desire.

Thank you again for your consideration and compassion. I can honestly say the Tibetans are gratefully appreciative.

Please let’s keep in touch.

Kind regards,

Leann Halsey

India Journey Details

The travels to India will encompass a spiritual basis of interviewing Tibetan Buddhist Monks who were the original Freedom Fighters and were faced with the decision to leave Tibet to preserve their culture. We will be taking the oral history of Buddhist monks and the details to their life in exile. This will be a very interesting project and I will be participating in a group effort with University of Arkansas students who will be the initiators of a program that will continue over the next few years. The oral history could possibility be made into a documentary which will be awesome to have been a part of. I will be with the group for three weeks in India then I will drop off from the group and have an individual experience with the Tibetan community in Dharamsala. I will work in the community agency the Tibetan Womens Association addressing social concerns within the Tibetan exiled community. I hope to assist with establishing new programs to address the concerns of unemployment, domestic violence, and social stigma as refugees.

Please take the journey with me this summer and check back for updates. I will be exploring the culture from a spiritual basis as well as a social work concern. I hope to engage in daily yoga and meditation along with great excursions to unique places. I soon will have a subscribe button that will allow me to notify you when I have made a new post.

Thanks for checking in and if you are interested in the Pennies for Partnership details and how to contribute please post a comment. I will notify you of name and address for processing your donation.

All contributions are welcome especially prayers for the Tibetans.

Thug-jeche (thank you),