My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Happy 75th anniversary

>> Kaneohe

Lily Ah Sun was pleased that the second Lama Jey Tsong Khapa seemed to like the Tibetan-style feast she'd prepared for him. He'd first fasted during a meditative retreat at age 14, and had every year since, but he was also a growing 18-year-old boy and a distance runner who needed his calories.

This living Buddha was also down to earth, and helped himself to more mo-mo's and soup.

Lily was amazed at how different the lama and his brother were. Jey was calm but energetic, and wise, aware and caring. Joe was a sloth, computers were his thing, and all he seemed to want to talk about was "American Idol," Britney's knee injury and Kobe's trial.

But speaking of odd couples. "If I may ask, Lama Jey," Lily said, "how did you and our host Mr. Khan come to be friends?"

"You have a few centuries for the answer?" Kamasami Khan replied. One of the most physically intimidating men she'd ever met, he stood 6-foot-2, was rock hard from working out, wore a sinister mustache-goatee, kept his dark hair close-cropped, favored black clothing. Beyond that, there was a sense of fearlessness about him, and of aggression barely bound.

"Actually," Khan said, smiling for the first time in Lily's presence, lifting his glass of iced Darjeeling, "here's a toast to the 750th anniversary of the partnership between us Khans and Tibetan lamas."

"Seven hundred and fifty years?" Lily said, astounded.

"Yes, and the story of how it began tells you everything about the nature of Buddhism. You want to tell it, your holiness?"

"You're doing quite well, friend Khan, please continue."

"It was 1244, and the great Buddhist master Sakya Pandita ..."

"You think," Joe said, "maybe Jack named his new Pannido after him?"

Khan shot him an icy glare, continued.

"My ancestor, the Mongol prince Godan Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, was preparing to invade Tibet when he became ill, to the point it was feared he would die. Instead, Sakya Pandita goes to Godan and heals him."

"He heals the man who is about to attack him?!" Lily's husband Quinn said.

"Exactly," Khan said, "pre-emptive compassion. And Sakya Pandita thus becomes Godan's spiritual adviser, and a relationship is forged. Lamas provide spiritual instruction, Khans provide protection.

"But the story doesn't end there. Three centuries later, 1573, Altan Khan named his teacher Sonam Gyatso the "Dalai Lama," Ocean of Wisdom. They backtrack, spiritually, and he becomes actually the third Dalai Lama. The first was the student of the greatest disciple of Lama Jey Tsong Khapa.

"Today, with Tsong Khapa's return, let's just say there is again an urgent need for the clan of Khan to fulfill our age-old responsibility."

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek. His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at


E-mail to Features Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Calendars]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --