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Yangzom Khimgyapa, Tibet

YANGZOM KHIMGYAPA

Age: 80 -- Birthplace: Yatung, Tibet

During my winters in Tibet, as a young girl, I collected wood to keep warm and grass to feed our Yaks. I so wished there had been a school to learn to read, but there wasn’t...I regret that.

China invaded my country in 1950 and today still occupies my home. In 1959 we were forced to escape. We began our journey at night, crossing the Himalayan Mountains and Tibetan plateau on foot, 15 days on horseback, and 3 days by truck. All our possessions and food was carried on our backs, and after a hard journey we arrived in Gangtok, Sikkim.

My spiritual life is that what goes around, comes around. If the Chinese held those beliefs they would be different and kinder.

Besides good luck, I pray to the Buddha for a long life. Everyday I rise at 4:00 am to begin my chanting for all sentient beings. I give offerings with daily prayers, and more prayers after more prayers.

Hardship is there, but I know that it does not stay forever. When I have to face [hardship], I know there is another side of the coin. I do not dwell.

His Holiness The 14th Dali Lama is my hero.