Interview with Nicole Bodewes

Nicole Bodewes is married with four children and 2 granddaughters.

Nicole about herself:

I come from a village near Groningen and have been living in Amstelveen for more than 25 years now.

After graduating from secondary school, I followed the training to become a nurse A and, until I moved to Amstelveen, I worked in various hospitals in Groningen. I now live in Amstelveen longer than I lived in Groningen. Yet I still feel very attracted to my native region. It should be a little closer, then I would gladly go back.

My current job is managing a community center in my neighborhood. When the municipality was going to demolish the former community center, I arranged and set up actions in the neighborhood for the realization of this community center. It is a fun job where I have to deal with many different people and parties.

How did you come into contact with Buddhism?

My first acquaintance with Buddhism was during an open day at the Maitreya Institute, which was then still located in Emst. At the time it was not quite clear to me what Buddhism was about, but I was interested.

About two years later, I went with my husband, who is a student of Reverend Rinpochee, to a class of Rinpochee

karma. This lesson was in Rotterdam and I remember very well that the words of Rinpochee put all the pieces of the puzzle together for me.
This was a magical experience and is a fond memory. From that moment on I was very sure that Buddhism was the path I wanted to follow.

How long have you been involved with the monastery?

In 2005 I went to the opening of the Dagpo Dratsang Monastery with my husband. This was a special event and I feel very privileged to have been able to be part of it.

Do you have a special memory of Rinpochee?

I have many wonderful memories of my teacher Rinpochee. But this one might be fun to tell. I took refuge in the year 2000 during my first retreat. This one was in Mont Dore in France. My husband and I did this retreat together and our children were with us, but stayed during the day with our oldest daughter (18 years old) who looked after her sister and brother with a friend. I took our youngest daughter Padma, who has Down syndrome, to class every day because there was a side room in the hall where I could sit quietly with her. Padma was about six months old at the time.

As usual, one of these days, Rinpochee walked out of the room escorted at the end of the day. One of his students had told me to put Padma at the front of the path Rinpochee was walking along. Rinpochee walks by, looking at all his students and does not see our daughter. Rinpochee walks past her, but at that moment our daughter gives a loud cry as if to say: ”hey, I'm here too'! Rinpochee reacts immediately, turns and greets our little girl lovingly.

After that I took many retreats and classes with Rinpochee. I am very grateful that Rinpochee came into my life. I wish this for everyone. I hope that Buddhism gives all people strength and inspiration to constantly develop themselves positively. It's so precious, our life.
That is why I am happy that as a board member of The Whise Foundation, I can contribute a bit to ensure that the life's work of my teacher, the monastery in Kullu, is renovated so that it can survive for a very long time for the well-being of all mother-feeling beings.


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