Found in translation: A compassionate heart
After sixteen years of being the English voice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India as well as on tours around the world, Geshe Lhakdor suddenly disappeared from the public eye in April 2005.
Katy Fradet found Lhakdor-la behind a huge desk on the top floor of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala. He had changed his job title from “His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s translator” to “Director of LTWA.” He shares his thoughts on his change of career, on dealing with staff, and the joys of compassion.
. When I first joined His Holiness’s Office and started to translate, there were about 200 foreigners attending the teachings in Dharamsala. By the time I left, there were about 1,500 foreigners, sometimes 2,000. That was a big development. .
KF: What did you learn from all these years working for His Holiness?
GL: Well, I have been translating so many of His Holiness’s major and minor public teachings, private interviews, private teachings and initiations, so naturally, when you have such access, even something like my slow brain can catch some of it [laughter]. I can say that I have “a coarse familiarity” with His Holiness’s teachings.
KF: Now you are behind this big desk, with this big title, how do you feel?
GL: I’m here because my name repeatedly came out during the selection process, not because I wanted a change of job. I enjoy this new task, though. We have the translation and book publishing department, all the cultural and religious-related things that I dedicated all my life to since I was studying in school, then working with books and translating: That was the only thing that I knew, so here I am continuing but with a bigger responsibility. Now I have the capacity and the power to decide certain things, to start new projects, therefore it is challenging and also very fulfilling..
What is really important is to make sure that your own style of work and motivation are pure, that you don’t intentionally make any discrimination between the staff, whether they are efficient or not. What you try to do is to remember what the Library is for, what is to be achieved. So, with this in mind you need to encourage the staff, and if possible, refrain from making any bad remarks to anybody; rather, from the positive side, try to encourage them. In other words, ensure that the system is working properly, that the staff is working properly . then, if there are a few people who are lazy or reluctant, they will be inspired to change and do their job well..
This article is an excerpt of the full article printed in Mandala