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Missed chance

March 21, 2004

I was saddened by Deborah Netburn's shallow article on the Drepong monks and the women who hosted them ("Nirvana in the Palisades," March 14). Ms. Netburn missed a marvelous opportunity to edify the world about these peaceful, gentle souls whose very survival hinges on support from a world outside their own. She opted instead to trivialize the monks by characterizing them as carnivorous simpletons seeking our toys.

Nonie Newton-Breen

Calabasas Hills

*

I found Deborah Netburn's piece disrespectful and lacking in curiosity about what she observed. It seemed like a smarmy "fish-out-of-water" story crossed with a "Look, those aliens are just like us!"

What a missed opportunity! I wanted to read more about the "cute," surprising behavior the writer observed. For example: We stereotype Buddhists as vegetarians, but these monks eat meat twice a day. Why? We think of pop culture, gun play and junk food as uninteresting, if not forbidden, to those who take monastic vows. Why are these monks so easy and un-self-conscious about enjoying these? They are in exile from their homeland. Why are they so happy?

Jeffrey Hutter

Santa Monica

*

One of the principals of Buddhism includes eschewing material desires. Only in the Palisades and Malibu do you have people supporting the "Tibetan cause" by competing to host Tibetan monks. With a generous donation, one can invite their friends to a private fire puja on their sprawling beachfront property. Thank you for teaching our Tibetan friends about the American "nirvana" -- wealth, status and privilege.

Patrick Freeling

Redondo Beach

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