Dharamshala: YC. Dhardhowa, editor of The Tibet Post International sat down earlier today with Jacques Roussel, a Tibet activist from Canada to learn more about his background and the social work he is performing in Dharamshala and elsewhere. Although he has been interesting in Tibetan culture since the 1950s, Roussel only recently made it to the home of the Tibetan community in exile. After his first trip to Dharamshala in 1997, he became much more involved in humanitarian work within the Tibetan community and for the Tibetan cause.
One special connection that Roussel made on his first trip to India was with the children of the TCV. Having been raised in an orphanage himself, he said, "When I met kids from TCV I was totally comfortable with them and they with me because I knew what they were going through because of our common background." Another connection he made in Dharamshala was with Tibetan culture in general. Although he had been reading about it for almost four decades, he said that being in the Tibetan community in exile caused him to, "face Tibetan culture and this woke me up to something about myself."
Since then, he has raised awareness for the Tibetan cause and the Tibetan community in general through various projects. One project in particular will hopefully bolster support for and knowledge of Tibet in Canada, the "Tibetan Bazaars" that Roussel has been hosting since his trip to Dharamshala in 1999. At every "Tibetan Bazaar," Roussel puts on a slide-show of Tibetan life and culture, serves Tibetan food, and shares Tibetan artifacts. Ideally, he said, he would like to have a Tibetan monk speak at each event as well. He says that the events started small but that over time he hopes they will expand into larger scale festivals that will allow people to celebrate and appreciate Tibetan culture.
Roussel said that even though humanitarian work is not a profitable profession, he wouldn't be happy if he wasn't helping other people. Living by the slogan of "Money can't buy happiness," his personal philosophy is that wealth means nothing if you don't share it with others.
Why did you give all this help?
Happiness for me. If I can help like this it makes me happy. If I am happy, then I am a better person and I go true.
But that is not money?
No never money.
What was that slogan you told me yesterday?
"No Money Buy Me Home", but 'Om Mani-Ped Med-Hun'. I always get out of misery with happiness. money is important if you can help people by sharing what you have, it means nothing if you don't share it. If you share you are more comfortable with yourself.
What kinds of things do you think are missing in Tibetan society?
This is complicated . my personal view is very little is missing. I think that theres three internal societies: business, society in exile, monastery. I think the monastery is a bit of a big business as well. When I see monks in cafes with cell phones I don't think that that is the proper life for a monk. They should help and share.
No they should but they should share it, they are very clever, but I think they should share what they have with those who have less. It's the basics of compassion. This way everyone will become equal.
Of course Tibetan monks should go to school and teach. If Buddhism is not taught in schools by monks and nuns, how will it continue? It almost a privilege now to meet a monk. Maybe it's a closed society. Spirituality should not be a business. Christians made a business out of their religion, theyre so rich! You should not gain material and money and keep it for yourself.