C.L

C.L is a Buddhist nun who lives in Massachusetts. She was born on December 10, 1928, the youngest child of a poor family. CL grew up in a small country town in Takeo Province. She never attended school, but her father taught her at home. She lost her mother at age thirteen. At age of nineteen, her father arranged her marriage to a man who was 28 years her senior. Her husband died under the Khmer Rouge.

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"To ease my sorrows, I adhere to Buddha’s precepts every day. I memorize the Dharma and study them with other people. You know I forget my deceased family members sometimes, and I am able to control my feelings. I am able to forget my children somewhat because I reflect this way. We are born and life is not eternal. We are born and we will die. We cannot escape death. This life that I am having, even though I have had children and a husband, when my time comes, I will die. So life is not eternal… After I reflect about this, I am able to forget about them only briefly. After awhile, I think about them all over again. Sometimes I miss them every day. Other times, I miss them every two or three days. I cannot forget about them too long."

"I think in my mind that, perhaps, in my previous life, or in this life, I don’t really know, I may have tampered with a young bird. The Cambodians believe that we have Karma if we tamper with a baby bird, and we will be separated from our own loved ones. We have Karma when we make the birds lose their feathers, or if we take the young birds and play with them. I would say that maybe I did this in the previous life or in this life and that is why I separated from my husband and my children. This is what I tell people. This is the reason I try my best to do good deeds so I don’t have Karma. Because, in this life, when I was young, I played the Tradiev Dey’s young in their burrows (a kind of large swallow which lives in holes in the ground). I put my hand inside their burrow and I took out its young and played with it, or even how many months before I stopped doing it. At the time I was young and I was still running around and playing and was still wearing a pair of shorts, without any blouse, and my upper part was bare."