This week I lost a dear, dear friend- a friend whose kindness and compassion knew no bounds. Dorku was 73 years old. He was a Buddhist monk of the New Kadampa Tradition whose wisdom had the power to lift people out of self-pity and onto the path of happiness. For the past three years, every time I have felt the pressures of work or life too much to bear I have run to a Buddhist temple in upstate New York. I would sit with Dorku for hours, venting about the stresses of a new project or a potential relationship, and each time his answer would be the same-“Think less about yourself and more about others.”
He helped me to see that every problem, every single problem I had, came from my self-cherishing. It refers to the mistaken belief that our happiness is more important than the happiness of others. Sometimes we feel that our happiness is not only more important than a few other beings, but we feel our happiness is more important than every other being on this Earth. How often does our inner monologue reflect concern for others?
My conversations with Dorku ranged from me not being able to get over someone I thought I was in love with, to stressing about a major speech at the United Nations. Every conversation dealt with the same problem and had exactly the same answer. The problem? I was attached to something I wanted for myself- a partner, a title, or another notch on my belt of success. The answer? Happiness would not come from these things, it would only come when I learned to cherish others, to place their well-being on the same or an even a higher pedestal then my own.
The last time I saw Dorku was two months ago. No surprise- I’d come to see him on the eve of another major project- filming a TV Pilot in Mongolia for National Geographic. Again the pressure seemed too much to bear and again his answer remained the same- “This project is not about you, it’s about the people your program will serve. Think about them and all will be well.”
His arm had swollen to three times it’s normal size, yet he made no mention of the cancer that was consuming his body. He held his mile-long smile, held me in his arms and assured me that all was well… All was indeed well for Dorku. His intentions were, and always had been, on the well-being of others. For this reason I know he was truly happy. – Chris Bashinelli