Dr. Krisadawan Hongladarom’s Acceptance Speech
Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards Ceremony
In Honor of the United Nation’s Women’s Day
Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women
6 March 2009
Respected venerables, chair and members of the Outstanding Women in Buddhism committee, dear friends:
I am delighted to be here with all of you today to receive an Outstanding Woman in Buddhism award. I feel greatly honored. My spirit uplifted and I know it’s the same for my family, friends and students who have supported me and traveled with me on this spiritual path.
Looking back to 1988, the first year I studied Tibetan in America, I was just a linguistic student who knew very little about this ancient culture and about Buddhism in Tibet. My mission at that time was like my student fellows – to do research, get a degree and build a career.
But because of karma, I had opportunities to be exposed to Tibetan culture and Buddhism in Tibet. The stories of the lives of great bodhisattvas and the contacts with devoted living masters made a strong impact upon me. More than anything it’s the name Tara, Lady of Compassion, that struck me. Tara became my guidance and source of inspiration. I made a vow to be like her in my life and work.
Modern society brings humanity vast means to attain boundless knowledge in any subject we are interested in. It gives us comfort and technologies, but it also brings selfishness, violence and destruction of the environment. Without compassion, selfless love and care, society cannot go on. Human beings cannot trust one another. Animals cannot live freely. And food will disappear from the earth.
Society needs many Taras. It’s that kind of pure love like the one mother has for her child that can heal the world. I believe the award is a recognition of that love. It’s also a recognition of human dignity and great support for women who work and care for others, no matter whether they are ordained or not, no matter whether they work in political arena dealing with explicit conflicts in society, or meditate in the jungle struggling with obstacles of their own mind.
Since 1959 Tibetan Buddhism has been introduced to the world. It became well established in several western countries. Here in Thailand it marks a new phenomenon. Its history can be claimed to be as young as the history of the Thousand Stars Foundation. It is our mission to spread the Buddha dharma in a way that Vajrayana Buddhism can be appreciated in Theravada context. It is imperative not to fall trap of partisanship and sectarianism. The goal is thus to present another approach to Buddhism, another way to help individuals live their lives happily yet selflessly as well as realize their potential in attaining Buddhahood.
The award is hence a celebration of diversity in spiritual practices in Buddhism. It is also a stepping stone for the task of preservation of Tibetan philosophy and culture in Southeast Asia.
I accept the award with profound gratitude on behalf of all women of various traditions around the globe, particularly those who devote their lives for the cause of unconditioned love and peace. I accept it for Thousand Stars Foundation executive board, staff and volunteers, without whom my work would be insignificant. I accept it on behalf of my teachers who live far away in Tibet, Nepal, India, USA and those in Thailand. May they continue to lead the lights in this samsaric world!