At the age of eighteen, because of the political changes in Tibet, accompanied by my two teachers and eight other friends, I had to travel for many months, trekking over a thousand miles across Tibet to escape into India. Halfway, at a holy cave in an empty valley, where high gray mountains stood watch in every direction, Kyala Khenpo, my teacher, who had looked after me like my sole parent since I was five, breathed his last breath. Suddenly I realized that I was an orphan, an escapee, and a homeless refugee. Finally, we arrived in India, a land rich in wisdom and civilization. For the first time in many months, I was able to enjoy the feeling of coolness in the shade of trees and ease in the warmth of shelters. Many of the Tibetan refugees in India, who numbered about one hundred thousand, died because of the changes of food, water, weather, or altitude. For those who survived, the painful lives of our loved ones whom we left behind in Tibet kept haunting us day and night.
In those dark days, all I had to guide and console me was the wisdom light of Buddhism in my heart.