Article appeared in ECS Nepal magazine, Kathmandu, Sept 2017
By: Susan M. Griffith-Jones
“Rare is the individual who dares to surrender all to destiny and fly off on wings still not fully opened.”
According to the theory of karma, what happens to a person, happens because they caused it with their actions—destiny, in other words. It is an oft-mentioned word in both Hindu and Buddhist discourses. So, on hindsight, it is really extraordinary that this all-important word never cropped up even once during my three-hour-long conversation with Susan M. Griffith-Jones, writer of six books on Buddhist philosophy, maker of ‘Circle of Immortality’ (a 45-min documentary on Muktinath), and someone who has undergone six years of intensive Buddhist study under the “Master of Masters”, Guru Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, of Boudhanath in Kathmandu.
The story of her life is full of unplanned-for episodes, almost ordained by destiny, one has to think. “Till I was eighteen, life was normal for me. I was studying in Cambridge, achieving A grades all the time. Then, in my final year, I dropped my grade, and my teacher told me that he would keep my place in class only if I regained my usual grade,” she recalls. “It was a life-changing event for me. For the first time, there was a gap in my life, and I looked at it in a different way. I asked myself, did I want to continue in this way? My heart said, no I don’t want this life! It also said, if you don’t get out now, you never will!”