Below Feroze Dada reflects on his life …
Children of the Revolution
A Spiritual Journey to Burma and Buddhism
By Feroze Dada
Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
‘Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.’
Children of the Revolution, by Feroze Dada, is a story which begins with a chance meeting at a family gathering in Burma (Myanmar) with a freedom fighter from the Pa’O region in the northeast of the country, and which then takes you on to a monastery on the shores of beautiful Inle Lake in Shan State. There, at the Buddhist monastery of Phaya Taung, the head monk Phongyi is passionately caring for and teaching orphaned and refugee children of the revolutionary wars. Feroze decides to change his life and work to make the monastery self-sufficient, and in doing so finds a new reality and purpose
Feroze Dada reflecting …
‘Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.’
“My time from here on will be spent working for the well-being of the children at the monastery. They have captured my heart and my soul. I hope and pray that my efforts help change their lives for the better too.
Meditation has given me the ability to feel and understand more of what people are going through. Wisdom and knowledge comes from many different places but it is the wisdom inside you that really counts.
I have been incredibly lucky. I haven’t had to move the ladder I was climbing along to another wall, and start to climb up again from the bottom, as Joseph Campbell notably wrote. Arriving at Phaya Taung monastery in a rainstorm, looking for shelter while on a family trip with MuMu, was the best thing that could possibly have happened to me. I started to think differently and I began to learn what is truly important. Our time is limited, and I discovered that I needn’t waste mine in living what was increasingly becoming someone else’s life. Phaya Taung taught me I could continue growing, but in a better way, and gently move towards this most creative stage of being.
Phaya Taung Monastery
Everything changes, nothing remains the same – but that isn’t how we consider things in the West. I found that by putting my energies into helping the monastery and the children, I was transformed in myself. I could have spent years searching – or even, heaven forbid, failing to move beyond my zone of comfort – yet by putting my energies into a new direction and accepting the changes involved, this new time of my life has become a destination. It was a hidden journey to begin with, but the shift in thinking and culture and teaching has enabled me to enter a different world. My key to transformation has been acceptance – to love, accept and serve the world.
‘Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.’
If I had just retired from my business life, I know I would be lost. Instead I have found a new beginning. The work at Phaya Taung has given me a purpose and a passion. It is true that I had the experience and capacity to help realise the dreams we had to make the monastery self-sufficient for the children, but in doing this I discovered the most important thing of all, which is that if you keep your mind open, you can learn too. The moment you stop learning you grow old. Not just physically, but mentally.
Without knowing where it would lead, at Phaya Taung I opened a door onto my mind, and went through it. Now I have a different kind of life, with new priorities. In return for all we achieved at Phaya Taung, I have been given a gift so remarkable, something I could never have dreamed of: peace, tranquility, an immense deep happiness, the lessons of loving kindness and the burgeoning of spiritual love. Anyone with goodwill and sincerity can experience this change for themselves.
Working with Phongyi and the children at Phaya Taung has been a bridge into another life for me. From the shore by the monastery I threw a small pebble into Inle Lake and watched the ripples forever widening. One journey comes to an end, but the journeys of the spirit are just beginning.”
“Children of the Revolution. A Spiritual Journey to Burma and Buddhism” by Feroze Dada, can be purchased via www.inletrust.org.uk
Listen to Eamonn Holmes’ interview with Feroze Dada below …