Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Lama of Birds

080c2ef9e0 Tashi Sange. Photo: Geng Dong


Tibetan Buddhism produces much for us to admire, including now a lama of birds.  Tashi Sange, also known as the Bird Whisperer, dedicates his life to protecting the environment and birds of his homeland of Tibet.

Sange always loved birds, even before he moved to a Temple at 13 years of age.  Sange spent much of his free time at the temple observing birds, whom he imagined were his father and mother.  When he reached 15,  he began recording his observations, later to draw and paint his subjects, and thus his hobby turned into a lifetime passion.

One interviewer, Geng Dong, said "He regards birds as his friends. I remembered he once whispered to a Tibetan Bunting just like he was speaking to close friends."  Geng adds,  "I think he got a lot from Tibetan Buddhism, such as the equal rights of human beings with other life and the harmonious coexistence between nature and humans."

I wonder if his love of birds came before his path of Buddhism, a path he uses to sustain research and conservation for over 25 years.

This is the order at which I came to religion, birds, and conservation.  As a child I spent my days with birds, talking and singing to them as I wandered the fields and woods of my childhood.  Their songs led me to conservation and my religious calling as a Unitarian Universalist minister.   I came to Unitarian Universalism and my spiritual practices sprinkled with Sufism, Buddhism, and nature spirituality only 13 years ago. What if, instead, I had entered on this path at age 13 as did Sange.  Perhaps I could have given so much more in return for the company of birds.

No matter the past, the question now is how to sustain ourselves into the future.  

What do you do to sustain your efforts?  


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