National Geographic : 1968 Nov
Casting offerings upon the boughs, a monk welcomes the New Year on a February day that often corresponds to the Chinese New Year. Smoldering evergreens cook the mixture of flour and butter. A touch of Tibet flutters at upper left-the refugees string prayer flags from homes and trees in the prim Swiss villages, beseeching the blessings of kind spirits and spreading the word of Buddha upon the wind. with me, that the child is a reincarnation. To do this, certain guides are used." I recalled having read of some of the signs watched for when a child is examined for reli gious worth: the prominent ears of a Buddha, significant body markings, such as moles, the ability to select certain religious objects from among a large collection, or to recognize cer tain people in a crowd. After eight years in a monastery in Lhasa, Lamdark became a spiritual leader in the Kham region. Monastic Life Now Only a Memory "Here in Switzerland," he said, "the adjust ment to a new language and culture was diffi cult at first, but not now. Life is pleasant. Health conditions are good, we can work for good pay, and there is a full life." Lamdark wore gray slacks, a plaid shirt, and lounging slippers. On a chain around his neck hung a small portrait of the Dalai Lama. The furnishings of his room in the homestead included an altar gleaming with gilded Bud 718 dhas, a radio, tape recorder, and television set. He has a job as an usher in a movie theater in St. Moritz. While in India he married, further removing him from monastic life. The longer I visited with these Tibetans, the more I was made aware of their successful adjustment to a new life in a new country. Such is not the case for some refugees. At the homestead in the village of Wald statt, I saw one young man of about 25 sitting alone, huddled over a child's writing table and whispering German words over and over. "He's had a bad time," one of his friends told me. "Whenever he sees many people to gether, he becomes very afraid." The troubled Tibetan was one of a handful who had required psychiatric treatment since arriving in Switzerland. He had great difficulty understanding his changed circumstances. Obsessed with saving money to buy lamaist prayers for his future life, he ate nothing but onions and bread for three months. He took to hiding his earnings because he could not comprehend the purpose of banks.