Rushville Republican

Columns

January 21, 2014

Rushville and the Dalai Lama

Several years ago when I still owned and operated White Felt Company, I managed to be slightly involved with the Dalai Lama. It seems that one of our customers was a Buddhist, which we knew, and of the same branch of the religion as the Dalai Lama. The brother of the Dalai Lama was a professor at Indiana University and was expecting a visit from his brother. The reason for the visit was the dedication of a new Buddhist Center for IU. It seems the brother had been a professor for some years and was about to retire and he and the Dalai Lama wanted a Buddhist Center for those of that religion in the Midwest.

I had known for some time that my customer was a Buddhist and rather quirky, but never did I think I might be involved. We had sold cotton batting to the customer for several years and had made friends with her as we seemed to do with most of our customers. One day she came to the office and asked me if I could do a favor for her. She had been tapped to make a futon, pillows and other small articles for His Holiness to use while in Bloomington. Because the Dalai Lama is considered a God and the Buddhist religion, at least that which he was the head, required nothing but natural things to touch the Holy man, no man made material was accepted. This tended to cause a small problem. All of the items we used to make our cotton batting had at least 10% polyester in it. We used material that was an off fall from the Gin as well as material that fell off during the spinning of the cotton into thread.

I explained this to our customer and she again reiterated the need for nothing but natural material. I figured I probably could get something from one of the brokers we used, but it would take time. Any way in the end we came to an agreement as to what to do and what to do it with. I was told that a Buddhist priest would have to be around and check on the material used to be sure it was as stated. Well finding a Buddhist priest in Rush County was something of a problem. Finally, our customer had a couple from Bloomington come up and talk with us and check things out. I guess we made the cut as we finally received the order for the cotton.

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