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    The following excerpt is taken from the Novel Falling to Heaven by author Jeanne M. Peterson:

    Tibet, 1954

    Dorje

    My mother taught me how to do prostrations as soon as I could walk. Bring hands together over your head, then to your chest, then go down like Abu on all four legs, touch your forehead to the earth. Hold your love for His Holiness in your heart every moment. Abu was our little puppy, and my mother taught me prostrations in this way, with me pretending to be Abu. She brought me to the temple with her everyday, teaching me how to say prayers for all sentient beings. She said to me, “Even though your father is Chinese, you will learn to be a good Tibetan.”

    When I became a little older, my mother noticed I could put myself in the place of others and understand them. She said, “Perhaps it is because you have two kinds of blood. It is your destiny to be the friend of the tiger and the rabbit, although these two are enemies.”

    I suppose this is a good thing, being a friend to the tiger and the rabbit. When my mother told me this, I was too young to imagine the ways in which it would prove to be true. But we have come to a time in my country when we are feeling the jaws of the tiger. And the teeth can be very sharp, like the prick of many blades.

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