Interview with Amber Walstra

Who is Amber?

Amber is the last in the list of board members to introduce to you. She is mother to Silas (22) and James (19).
After high school, Amber actually wanted to study psychology. But ended up on the French language teacher training course. Once on this course, the teacher training course proved to suit her so well that Amber completed it and enjoyed working as a French teacher for years. Looking back, she says, “It seems like choosing to study French was already a step on the path to Dagpo Rinpochee!”

She has been in the classroom for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed working with children. This got an extra dimension when Amber went to work at Ajax. There she coached talented football players on a social, emotional and social level. After 15 years she decided to take a sabbatical to take care of her friend (Esther van Weelden, also a member of the Whise Foundation) and broaden her horizons, before finally moving to France, a stone's throw from Rinpochee.

Getting to Know Buddhism

As a young girl, Amber already had a strong sense of spirituality. She was a firm believer in reincarnation from an early age. When she started taking yoga classes with Sandra van Nispen in Bussum, she thoroughly enjoyed the introductions Sandra gave to each lesson about Buddhism. When Sandra indicated that she was going to stop yoga classes, Amber's first thought was: "How do I learn more about the Dharma?" It was Sandra who referred her to the lessons of Dagpo Rinpochee and the study group in Bussum. Immediately Amber felt like a fish in water. The first meeting with Rinpochee during a lecture in Haarlem made a deep impression. And during her first retreat in Biezenmortel Amber knew for sure, this is my way and so she took refuge with Dagpo Rinpochee.

Living in France, so close to Rinpochee and meeting new Dharma friends is so special, says Amber. “It feels like a very precious opportunity.” The fact that I speak the French language well is a real blessing! How nice it would be to speak Tibetan, but luckily I can speak French with Rinpochee. I can follow all French study groups. Connect with all the different centers in France.
Sometimes it takes a while to find. I also like to have fun, to be with people, and sometimes I think: do I have time for this? Am I studying enough? I sometimes find that quite difficult. I like to be helpful to others, to be there for them. “Fortunately, with the right motivation, we can practice Dharma all day long.”

Amber and the Monastery

Amber was always fond of travelling, but had no real affinity for Asia. Thanks to Rinpochee, interest was aroused in the monastery in India. The spiritual wealth, the Lamrim traditions, the modesty of the monks. There really is a spark. “It is so precious that Dagpo Shedrub Ling Monastery keeps these traditions alive! And that we can make a small contribution to this through the WHISE Foundation.”

Amber and The WHISE Foundation

Esther asked Amber in 2018 to join the board of The WHISE Foundation. “In the beginning, we were mainly concerned with setting up the policy. I didn't feel like I could contribute much to that. Now in 2022, the board is trying to connect with all members and students of Dagpo Rinpochee. The problems with housing the Dagpo Shedrub Ling monastery in Kais India are very serious. And it is very important to work with all students and members so that the Dagpo traditions can continue to be practiced and preserved for future generations. But then the monastery buildings have to be put in order! It's so important that we do this together. Now I come in my power! I like to enthuse people. I have been tasked with being an ambassador for The WHISE Foundation. The goal is that everyone, wherever in the world, can contribute together to the preservation of the Dagpo traditions, each in their own way!”


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