About the author

As a little girl growing up in Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles, in a house full of books and classical music, I was always fascinated by the great expanse of sea in front of me and felt the pull of what lay beyond it. Sparked by my father’s passion for history, I earned a BA in World History at UCLA in 1970. In my twenties, I began the first of four long trips to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the South Pacific, spending one to two years on each journey. I began an exploration of Buddhism on the second trip and continued it in earnest after meeting  Lamas Thubten Yeshe and Thubten Zopa Rinpoche in LA in 1974.

With Ven. Thubten Pende and others, I joined in the establishment of Sera House in 1977 and helped organize the lamas’ return visit for the course in Yucca Valley, California. Out of that course, I joined in the establishment of Vajrapani Institute in northern California in 1978, living on the land for two years and finally serving as assistant director and Vajrapani’s liaison to the Office of Tibet for the visit of the Dalai Lama to Santa Cruz in 1979. I also helped later to found the short-lived Maitreya center in Santa Cruz and arrived in time to assist Deer Park Center in Madison Wisconsin in hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s first Kalachakra in the US in 1981. It was a rich time, with wonderful teachers and courses everywhere. Not only Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa, but Sakya Trizin, Kalu Rinpoche, the Karmapa, Tzong Rinpoche and of course His Holiness the Dalai Lama returned again and again for long and intensive teachings.

In the 1980’s, I began traveling again, making two long journeys to Dharamsala, south India, Nepal and Tibet. This time I was no longer a random explorer. I was finally able to take Lama Zopa’s Lam Rim course at Kopan; I worked as an English language editor at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives; and began work on the first of the short stories in this volume.  I also hitchhiked across Tibet in 1985 in one of its rare windows of peaceful opportunity and gained a first hand appreciation of both the stunning beauty and fearful suffering of that land.

Home again in 1985 in Santa Cruz California, I settled into a career as an English as a Second Language composition teacher at Cabrillo College in Aptos CA, and a digital photography and computer teacher at the local adult school. Supporting myself entirely now, and with the responsibility of caring for elderly parents. I no longer found much time to travel, although I continued to take short courses offered by Vajrapani and study on my own. My writing time was limited, but I continued to write short stories and develop digital photography skills as I could and was gratified to see individual stories successfully published in The Sun Magazine, and Erratica. My work has also been included in three anthologies, Best of the Sun, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart, and Nixon Under the Bodhi Tree. My digital art has been published in Mandala Magazine and sold locally.

Now in 2012, I find myself at last semi-retired with time and a golden situation to allow meditation,writing, photography and who knows, even travel again on a more regular basis. 

Francesca Hampton

Santa Cruz, 2012