Geshe Langri Thangpa (1054 - 1123 CE) was a Buddist master famous in Tibet for his “Eight Verses of Mind Training”. He originally wrote them down for his own personal use, but they have later become and invaluable guide for many other practitioners down the centuries. The proof of their worth is that these practical instructions on how to make oneself and others happy in everyday situations are just irrelevant, for both adults and children, as they were nearly 1,000 years ago. This I can say from my own experiences, for I myself was introduced to them when I was a young boy and have recited them every day since then. When I meet with difficult circumstances, I reflect on their meaning and I find it helpful.
Sally teaches English in Bhutan to the young reincarnation of a lama who was one of my own esteemed teachers, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. She was inspired by the verses of Langri Thangpa to create these colorful storybooks, initially to entertain her young student. Later, she realized that they might provide a way to introduce some of the longstanding values that we Tibetans hold dear to children elsewhere in the world today.
If we are to ensure a peaceful future for our world, I believe that it is important that we foster positive values like compassion, kindness, and love in our children’s minds from an early age. Certainly books like these can help us do that. Each of these stories shows the young reader a different way to secure happiness, whether it is by recognizing anger when it arises, being aware of how our every action has an effect on others, or looking beyond our first impressions of people we meet.
I congratulate Sally on her efforts and hope that these charming books have the edifying result she intended. I am sure they will delight readers young and old.
March 25, 2013