Meston, Daja Wangchuk 1970–

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Meston, Daja Wangchuk 1970–

PERSONAL:

Born 1970, in Switzerland; son of Larry Greeneye and Feather Meston; married Phuni Sonbam, 1989. Education: Graduate of Brandeis University. Religion: Buddhist.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Boston, MA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and activist for Tibetan rights; Karma (boutique), Newton, MA, owner.

WRITINGS:

(With Clare Ansberry) Comes the Peace: My Journey to Forgiveness, Free Press (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Comes the Peace: My Journey to Forgiveness tells the story of Daja Wangchuk Meston's abandonment as a child and his later search for his family and self. Born in Switzerland, Meston grew up in Nepal, where his hippie American parents had wandered seeking spiritual enlightenment. There his father, a self-taught artist, suffered an emotional breakdown, and his mother became a Tibetan Buddhist nun. Meston, at age three, was left with a Tibetan refugee family; three years later his mother brought him to a nearby temple to be raised as a monk.

The childhood that Meston describes in his memoir, according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, is a ‘wrenching’ tale of loss. The only white boy at the temple, Meston was taunted and teased by other boys and beaten by his teachers. He remembered nothing of his parents. At age sixteen, the rebellious boy provoked the monks to expel him. He was sent to California, where he attended public high school in Los Angeles. He spoke little English and knew almost nothing about math, science, or American history. In an anecdote cited by Boston Globe contributor David Mehegan, Meston recounts how he refused to eat a hot dog because he thought it was made of dog meat. He learned quickly, however, and established ties with his father's family.

Meston moved to Boston in 1989, married, and in 1993 enrolled at Brandeis University, earning a degree in sociology. Yet he struggled with depression. In 1999, while in China to investigate allegations of abuses against Tibetans, he was arrested; during interrogation he jumped from a window, sustaining serious injuries. Returning to Boston, he endured worsening depression until he attended a conference on writing one's autobiography. He found his mother and, for the first time, learned the details of his early childhood. The experience of researching and writing about his life, as the book's subtitle suggests, proved redemptive. Amy Weintraub, writing for Yoga for Depression, observed that the book ‘illustrates what can happen when emotional needs are prematurely transcended in the guise for nonattachment,’ adding that it also shows ‘how secure and loving relationships, even in later life, can begin to heal our deepest wounds.’ As Meston said to Mehegan: ‘The gift of all this … is the piecing together for myself, and getting to a place where I am comfortable, whether it's understanding my fears, or understanding my parents and all the contradictions, and saying ‘That is life.’ Life is a messy business."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Boston Globe, April 17, 2007, David Mehegan, ‘The Simple Life."

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2006, review of Comes the Peace: My Journey to Forgiveness, p. 1259.

New York Times, August 24, 1999, Philip Shenon, ‘China Urged to Free American Hurt Fleeing Police."

Publishers Weekly, January 8, 2007, review of Comes the Peace, p. 43.

ONLINE

Center for International Environmental Law Web site,http://www.ciel.org/ (October 1, 2007), press release on Meston's detention in China.

Comes the Peace Web site,http://comesthepeace.com (October 1, 2007).

Spirituality and Practice,http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ (October 1, 2007), Mary Ann Brussat, review of Comes the Peace.

Yoga for Depression,http://www.yogafordepression.com/ (October 1, 2007), Amy Weintraub, review of Comes the Peace.