Auteur Topic: Tubten Pende - James Dougherty  (gelezen 4790 keer)

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Tubten Pende - James Dougherty
« Gepost op: 26-12-2011 10:16 »
James Dougherty voorheen Tubten Pende.

A munk disrobed

In a classic scene during the 1980 comedy “Caddyshack,” Bill Murray’s character claims he caddied for the Dalai Lama who stiffed him on the tip but promised him “total consciousness” on his death bed.

Former Briarwood Country Club caddy James Dougherty can laugh a little harder at the line as it hits close to home. Dougherty shed his Deerfield roots and was ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Darmsala, India by none other than the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama even had nicknames for the former caddy and Deerfield High School football player. He affectionately called him “Umze,” the chanting leader, and “Naten,” the elder monk.

After 20 years as an well-known link between Tibetan Buddhism and the West, Dougherty left to become a married man with a step-daughter. Given their past together, he dreaded meeting the Dalai Lama again.

“I was really sweating because he was the one who ordained me,” he said, laughing as he imagined the comical worst-case scenario. “He could have slapped me.”

Instead, the Dalai Lama’s words eased his mind.

“So, you’re not a monk anymore but be an upholder of the Dharma (teachings on nature and human conduct),” Dougherty was said. “That made me feel good.”

Dougherty, also known as Tubten Pende in some circles, was in Vernon Hills this week along with his siblings for the 92nd birthday of their father, Paul.


As an adult, he went from frat boy jock to Tibetan Buddhist monk to married father to senior auditor for the University of California, Santa Cruz.

As a Class of 1967 Deerfield Warrior, he was on the swim, track and football teams. He played on the offensive line for University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. He drank American beer with his frat brothers.

In 1971, he left on a trip around the world he describes as a “quest for meaning.”

Thirteen countries and five years later, the Irish-Catholic kid from Deerfield returned with head shaved, flowing maroon robes and stories of far-away places and a foreign religion.

He had become a prominent member of the first wave of Westerners with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition seeking to bring the Buddhism found in Tibet to the West.

His sister Maureen Stohl, also in Vernon Hills for her father’s birthday, said some in the family were “in a state of shock.”

Others suggested that if he wanted to be a monk, why not a Franciscan monk?

“I think (his transitions) are so interesting and so fascinating,” said Stohl, a retired eighth-grade teacher from Everett, Wash. “It’s important for Jim to be challenged and learn.”

Their father agrees that his son was always a seeker.

“It was his way, to learn something else,” said the elder Dougherty, who resides at Hawthorne Lakes, a senior living facility in Vernon Hills. “I’m proud of him.”

James Dougherty spent 20 years as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, becoming a leader at learning centers and monasteries in Nepal, England, France and Italy.

He is particularly associated with the Kopan Monastery, outside of Kathmandu, Nepal, on a high hill at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.

There he met a young student of Buddhism in 1985 and kept in touch with her over the years. After much soul-searching and questioning of his mission in life, he left the only “life’s calling” he had known.

In 1996, he married Marietta and took on the responsibility of fatherhood to step-daughter Stella. He was now a long way from his former Himalayan monastic, meditative life.

“I’ve never had more sleepless nights and I’ve never gotten more angry,” he said. “At the same time, it challenges my practices ... You really learn what it means being selfless and what it means to give of yourself to others.”

Dougherty had transformed his interests into the application of Buddhist theory and practice in the daily lives of people.

‘It’s a miracle’

When he returned, married and got a job as an auditor, his Irish-born mother exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”

The links and transitions in his life, he maintains, are cause for meditation.

“By watching my mind, by understanding my mind through meditation, I could see what currents were deeper within me, as opposed to the constant changes on the surface, in my mind,” he said, suddenly appearing less like an auditor and more like a teaching monk.

Yet his most recent incarnation is vivid.

Dougherty enjoys home-brewing beer and judges home brews at the Santa Cruz County Fair. He plays in the Santa Cruz County Dart League. He works out at the gym. He teaches the Buddhism of everyday life at area learning centers.

His travels may have whisked him far away, but this week he revisited his roots. His sister Kelly Lombardo still works in Deerfield. His brother Ken came in from Jersey City to be with the rest of the family. They all took a sentimental drive through Deerfield.

The “old” football field had “fresh markers,” said a nostalgic Dougherty.

“Then we drove by the old home,” he said, and noticed orange lilies the young family first planted when they came to Deerfield in the early 1960s. “It was nice to see some part of us was still there.”

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