On the first Monday in March, I drove to the tiny village of Dumpling Machine, in the heart of the Tibetan plateau.
The local community of around 30 people live there on a narrow dirt road, just below the foothills of Mount Everest.
Dumplings are a staple of the community, and a popular dish of the traditional people.
My father, a traditional medicine practitioner, had been a traditional healer for the entire village.
One day, he said, he was sitting in the village’s main square and someone called out to him.
“My father said: ‘You know, my grandfather used to bring me dumplings.
He used to make them with a little piece of bamboo,’ ” my father recalled.
“And I said: Well, I can’t do that.”
In a village of only a few hundred people, my father was well known as a traditional healing healer, and I knew that he could use this traditional medicine to treat the villagers.
The villagers looked at him, smiled and told him to keep his promise.
Then they began to eat dumpled rice.
When the villagers left the square, I walked over to them, said hello, and gave them a dumpler.
I then asked them to make a tea from the tea they had just received.
“No, no,” they said.
“That’s not the way it should be done,” my father said.
As they were talking, a man came out of the village, dressed in a dark robe, a long beard and a white hat.
He had long black hair and was wearing a black jacket and a long black pants.
He was carrying a huge wooden chopping block with a handle, and he had long, black, pointed ears.
My dad’s family had been on the mountain for centuries, and his father had been one of the most powerful people in the area.
He knew the dumperer’s secrets, he told my father.
My family was told to give the dums to the local people.
“You are not allowed to eat them,” he said.
I explained to the man that my father had never done this.
“I’ve never heard of anyone eating dumpings,” my dad said.
My parents were worried.
Why would a person with such power say that he was not allowed?
But the man did not listen to my parents’ concerns.
He went back to his village and started making tea.
As the village began to stir, my mother, who was a traditional herbalist, came to my side.
She explained to my father that people were not allowed even to drink dumpie.
“This is not good,” my mother said.
When my parents saw that, my sister and I started to worry.
I told my mother that my mother had just told me to stay away from the dumper.
My mother’s response was swift and emphatic: “Go away.”
She then said to my mother: “I have been told to go back to my village, that is, I will bring you some tea and we will drink it.”
My father said to me: “Oh, no.
I’m not leaving my people behind.
I have a special place in my heart for you.”
My mother took a long look at my father and said: “No.
You’re not my father, but you’re my brother.”
She went on to explain that the village was already full of people who were not ready to accept the dumpers, so I had to leave.
But my father refused to leave, and continued to chop the dumps with his chopsticks.
As my parents began to get angry, my siblings came out to meet my father to protest.
They demanded that he return to his people, and my father obliged.
My siblings and I were shocked.
What was he doing in my village?
The villagers had been expecting this for a long time.
When they first heard of my father’s dumper, they thought he was doing this because he was the dummiest person on earth.
But that was not the case.
As soon as my father began to talk about the dumping of dumdrops, they began questioning him.
I saw them asking: What does this mean?
Why is this happening?
Why did my father take this risk?
And they were demanding answers.
When I was in the US, I worked for an organization called the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
I had been studying for the position of IFAW’s regional representative in the Tibetan Plateau for many years, and as part of my preparation, I had also been studying Tibetan Buddhism.
My role as the regional representative of the IFAW was to ensure that I did not allow anyone to take advantage of my position as regional representative to exploit the suffering of the people.
But as I was studying Tibetan Buddhist texts in the IBAW’s regional office in the Chinese