I had the privilege of attending a film screening of “My Country is Tibet” by 17-year-old Namgyal Wangchuk Trichen Lhagyari. He is the descendant of the first Dharma King of Tibet Songsten Gampo who lived over 2500 years ago. Although Trichen is referred to as the King of Tibet, he prefers to be known as the “descendant of the King of Tibet” or simply, “a Tibetan boy.” His 30-minute film showed how Tibetans in the settlement in Dharamsala, India lived. Although he is of royal blood, he lives modestly with his mother and sisters. He washes his own clothes and walks to school. But his royal name puts him in a not-so-simple position. Trichen’s responsibility is to represent Tibet’s history and heritage and to encourage fellow Tibetans to treasure their identity. Although Trichen and his peers have never seen their motherland, he and the young Tibetans are hoping to see Tibet become an independent country.
When asked how he and his peers have become so involved with their community’s well being, he attributes his activism to his education and the leadership of the Dalai Lama, who is his teacher. His school teaches what he calls “modern courses,” like mathematics, science, literature, etc. However, his school also teaches Tibetan history and culture, instilling patriotism and pride for his identity. His story has enlightened me in what it means to be a steward to our fellow peers. If children are the future, then they need to learn about their environment, heritage, and identity in order to create a sense of pride and stewardship for their community and their community’s future. At the same time, they need to see leaders solving environmental and community issues for them to be aware of the place that they live in and to care enough to protect their home. Trichen is diligently learning about the world and his heritage in order to protect the Tibetian culture for generations. Perhaps we can learn from him. We all need to learn of our environment, our only home (Earth), our place and purpose, in order to protect the Earth for generations.
To find out more about the documentary, Trichen, and BYkids, visit BYkid’s website