What did I do wrong?


Maybe I should more accurately say, “What didn’t I do wrong?” First, they were initially offended by the fact that I was writing in my textbook. The Tibetans didn't consider it just an ordinary book. Any book with a picture of a saint or quotes from an ancient textbook is considered sacred. To write in it is considered very disrespectful. To make matters even worse, I proceeded to place the book on my chair, near my feet. The foot in Indian and Tibetan culture is considered the dirtiest part of the human body. To direct the sole of the foot towards someone is considered rude. To place a sacred book near or next to the feet is a deeply offensive act, and that was what finally made the monks angry enough to chastise me publicly. I learned a painful lesson from that dinner.