Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"It Is Done"

On Friday, November 8, 2013, Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche declared, "It is done."

Many of you responded to our earnest call for donations, to cast this history-making, twenty-two foot bronze statue of Padmasambhava. As you can see from the above photograph, the statue is now poured, polished, and complete. It has been consecrated, and is now installed in the main temple at Odiyan, in Northern California.

This entire project was carried out within the boundaries of a Tibetan temple complex in the United States, conducted by the authentic representatives of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. The readers of this blog made significant donations toward the completion of this project, and may I thank each and every one of you personally.

Let It Be Auspicious!

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Murder of Akong Rinpoche: The Murderer and the Motive

The following release has just been received here:


Now that the Chengdu Police have released the names of the men who killed Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche, his nephew and attendant, we are in a position to confirm that one of the suspects named by the police, Tu Dan Gu Sha also known as Thubten Kunsal, had previously spent more than five years in the UK, and returned to China two years ago. 

Whilst residing in the UK he made religious statues at our monastery in Scotland and our London centre. He left very happy and there was no question of any economic dispute. My brother, Chuje Akong Tulku Rinpoche had always been very kind to Thubten Kunsal and welcomed him into the heart of our community.

According to an official microblog post by the Chengdu police force, the three suspects confronted my brother and the other two victims, with knives, at his home in Chengdu in what is being described as an “economic dispute.”

We strongly refute any claims that Thubten Kunsal was owed money by Akong Rinpoche, the monastery or our London centre. When he was with us in the UK we supported his living expenses as agreed in writing, and there was never any dispute about that. 

We are therefore very shocked that two years later he came demanding money, knowing that Akong Rinpoche was about to send funds to the ROKPA charitable projects in the Tibetan areas of China. As we have already stated, Akong Rinpoche died defending those funds. 

It has been reported in the press that the driver who was killed was a monk from Samye Ling. This is not correct. It was Akong Tulku Rinpoche's Tibetan attendant, from his Monastery Dolma Lhakang, who has not been to the UK.

I hope this statement will clear up any misunderstandings,

With thanks for your prayers and kind wishes,

Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche

Abbot of Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery, Scotland.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Long Life Wishes for Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche

We are sending expressions of loving respect, and deep devotion to the great Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche. By tradition, his birthday is generally observed "around this time."

Rinpoche is either 79 or 80 this year, or timeless, depending upon how you like to think.

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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Murder of Akong Rinpoche: Chengdu Police Have Three In Custody

Police in Chengdu, China, have reportedly issued a statement that Akong Rinpoche and his two companions were stabbed to death in a residential area of that city. Three suspects, said to be Tibetans, one from Derge, and the two others from Chamdo Joda, are in custody. Police speculated that the incident was an "argument over money." Later reports indicate the three suspects "have confessed."

Knives are frequently the weapon of choice in Chengdu. In the above photograph, Chengdu CSI responds to a recent, wholly unrelated "stabbing in a residential area," arising from an "argument over money."

As of our local time here, an unidentified spokesperson for the Foreign Office extends us the courtesy to inform that "consular assistance is currently being rendered."

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The Murder of Akong Rinpoche: Party Line Reporting?

The following story, originating with Chinese sources massaging British reporting, sets forth the conditions of Akong Rinpoche's murder much in the manner one stacks a deck of cards. We must be very careful not to accept any version of these events, until a detailed investigation is conducted by professionals. In the meantime, idle speculation in social media only serves the interests of those who bear hostility. Please note carefully the linkages proposed by this story. Here is the headline and the text:

Founder of first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Europe stabbed to death in Chengdu

Choje Akong Rinpoche, the founder of Europe's first Tibetan Buddhist monastery, was killed along with his nephew and driver in a stabbing in Chengdu on Tuesday morning. Akong's family have dubbed the killing as an 'assassination.'
Akong's brother posted a message to the monastery's website, as found by The Telegraph:
To all dear friends of Samye Ling and Choje Akong Rinpoche, I am very, very sorry to inform you all that tragically, my brother Choje Akong Rinpoche, my nephew and one monk who was travelling with then, were all assassinated in Chengdu today.
“Rinpoche’s body has been taken to hospital where a post mortem will be carried out. That is all the news I have so far. If I receive further news I will let you know.
The victims were stabbed by three ethnic Tibetans who have now been detained by police. The incident was apparently sparked by "a dispute about money." Akong, who was 73, fled Tibet in 1959 and lived a controversial life in exile, only to eventually reestablish good relations with the Chinese government:

Akong fled from Tibet into India in 1959, following the Chinese occupation of the country. But in recent years he had established unusually good relations with the Chinese government, and was able to travel in the country supervising schools and medical programmes that had been established by his charity The ROKPA Foundation. He was on a visit to these projects when he was killed.
Akong had played a key part in one of the most controversial episodes in Tibetan Buddhism in recent years In 1992, he led the search party that brought a seven-year-old boy Apo Gaga from his home in a nomad’s tent in Eastern Tibet to Tsurphu monastery, near Lhasa, where with the permission of the Chinese authorities, he was enthroned as the 17th Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje - the second most important figure after the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy.
Akong is most known for founding the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in the UK, near the English-Scottish border, and Chengdu is rapidly becoming better known for its stabbings.

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The Murder of Akong Rinpoche: A Monk Remembers

The following memoir was written by Kunga Dondrup, a monk living in Kathmandu. As he explains, he met Akong Rinpoche when he was younger, and this is his memory of that particular meeting. 

Apparently, he walked away with a jewel.


Some years ago, in Cardiff, I had an interview with Akong Rinpoche. I was feeling really low, and sorry for myself, as things were going pretty badly at that time. I told him what I was going through. 

He looked at me flatly and said, 'Welcome to Samsara.' 

And that was it.

I felt a little deflated at first. After all, I'd opened my heart to the man, revealed the anguish that was eating me, and all he could say was this? 

And then the penny dropped: What won't work in the first place can't be fixed. What else should I expect? It was a wake up call for me.

If we accept Buddha's teaching then we really do need to make its central theme our personal experience, the springboard for our outlook and practice: Life is full of suffering; the cause of suffering is clinging; but there is a way out; and this is to follow the path which arose from the Buddha's realisation. 

Samsara won't work. It can't be fixed. In other words, there will always be suffering, in as many ways as causes and conditions permit, until the very causes of suffering themselves have been overcome, and we achieve arhatship or Buddhahood.

I was very sorry to hear of Rinpoche's death today, as I am very grateful for the teachings I received from him. They were always practical, earthy and wise. And so, rather than wax emotional about how I miss him - which would be connected more with my own emotional self-indulgence, than with what he has personally experienced - I honour his memory by sharing the very same teaching he gave to me.

I am sure Rinpoche will continue to benefit many beings. If we want to do the same, as Mahayana practitioners should, then we need to remember and implement Buddha's teaching and make it bear fruit in our lives. 

Welcome to Samsara.

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Akong Rinpoche Assassinated at Chengdu, Two Others

Choje Akong Rinpoche, of Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland, along with two others, has been "assassinated" near Chengdu, according to his brother, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche. We run the announcement as received here:
To all dear friends of Samye Ling and Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
I am very, very sorry to inform you all that tragically, my brother Choje Akong Rinpoche, my nephew and one monk who was travelling with then, were all assassinated in Chengdu today. Rinpoche’s body has been taken to hospital where a post mortem will be carried out. That is all the news I have so far. If I receive further news I will let you know.
My nephew Kating Lama has been able to inform His Holiness Karmapa’s sister who has informed H H Karmapa, H H Dalai Lama and Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa and they are all saying prayers.
We will have to do a lot of special prayers and make a lot of appropriate offerings on Rinpoche’s behalf and any contributions you wish to make in his name will be much appreciated.
I request you all to do whatever prayers you can.
With best wishes,
Lama Yeshe Rinpoche
Frequently noted as the friend (and occasional critic) of Trungpa Rinpoche, with whom he founded Samye Ling, in Scotland, Akong Tulku was a major figure in the transition of Tibetan Buddhism to the West.  His accomplishments are the subject of a documentary film, "Akong: A Remarkable Life."

We have no further details at this time, save to say that indigenous Chinese reporting on the incident in Chengdu is self-serving, and might well be discarded.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Make History [UPDATED]

Here, is what must be earnestly regarded as an important opportunity. Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche is engaged in what, at twenty feet, will be the largest casting of Padmasambhava's image to be attempted in U.S. history. This will also become one of the largest such images in the West.

For a one-time donation of USD $70.00, you can buy an ingot of bronze that will be used in the pour.

This is a very good way to answer the destruction of Buddhist images that gives us all such dismay. This is also a legitimate milestone in the ripening of Padmasambhava's blessings here in the United States.

Just to be a small part of this has indescribable effect.

UPDATE: 26 September 2013

A spokesperson for this project has announced, in a letter circulated to all sponsors, that the project's goals have been met:
"You may like to know that we used 9,000 lbs of clay, over 250 moulds, and 6000 pounds of bronze. At first, there were only two people working on the sculpting, with an occasional helper. The pouring of the bronze was done by a larger team of volunteers and they finished their final mould pour this week on Friday's full moon."
The person also noted:
"It was so heartwarming to receive donations from people who we have never heard of before, somehow they received news about this project and decided to help. Many of them may not even know of Dharma Publishing and yet somehow they were moved to help make this happen. In the Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava which is authored by Yeshe Tsogyal, Padmasambhava says himself, "For those to come who will not have met me, my image will light up the night of ignorance. Whoever loves and reveres the statue will have his desires fulfilled as if by a pile of riches and will be happy without fluctuation or change.”
Thus, while the opportunity to participate in this project has passed, there is still much to be done with numerous opportunities to make merit on a truly effective scale. 

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lama Tharchin Rinpoche Passes Away.

Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, tenth lineage holder of the Repkong Ngakpas, passed away from a heart attack, Monday, 22 July 2013.

His site has further details.

He attended the empowerments by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, last week in Pasadena, and delighted in taking photographs with the many people who stopped to greet him.

His knowledge cannot be replaced.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche: Enough Room on the Mouse's Back

Prince Mutr'i Tsenpo's personal image of the Lotus Born

Owing to the great generosity of nature, seen and unseen, I was able to attend empowerments recently bestowed by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, in Los Angeles.

I don't want to say anything about the empowerments. 

Nonetheless, there were public interludes where Rinpoche tolerated if not encouraged comment. In one instance, he openly requested photographs of the above image be circulated as far and wide as possible.

So, I took the above picture with permission, and display it here with permission. According to Rinpoche, this is Prince Mutr'i Tsenpo's personal image of Padmasambhava. Rinpoche has declared this image to embody the character of "Liberation by Sight." He added that the khatvanga is a later replacement for the original, missing when the image was encountered.

Rinpoche then walked among all assembled, and blessed them, placing the image upon their heads. This caused a cloud of instant paparazzi to arise and swirl.

In another instance, Rinpoche remarked upon other times and places, when people thought it normal if an elephant should ride on a mouse's back. As things go, popular view changed. Most people today would find such a thing impossible.

"There is still plenty of room on the mouse's back, I assure you," Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche said.

For some reason, this gave me a great deal of peace, which came into immediate service during the days that lay ahead.

No matter what happens to us in this life, no matter what people say or don't say, whether we are lauded or accused, the open, roomy, ample activity of the Lama, Yidam, and Dakini to immediately instruct us, according to individual necessity, is infinite. 

May it be auspicious. Please circulate the above sacred image.

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Monday, July 08, 2013

Surveillance Footage from Bodhgaya Bombing

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Ghosts of Christmas Past

On 12-12-12, I bid farewell to blogging for a while.
Hello again.

Ordinarily, when I see helicopters flying around -- particularly those quiet, black ones with all the antennae -- and when I see squads of Men With Blonde Wives carrying light automatic weapons and wearing face masks, I figure, "Oh well, here we go again."

But, when such things occur in the peaceable realm of the San Bernardino mountains, during the ordinary conduct of a retreat with flexible boundaries, I escalate to, "Oh shit! Here we go again!" Or, as Butch said to Sundance, "Who are those guys?" 

Thus it seemed -- during the course of a memorable period beginning December 12, 2012, and ending  February 20, 2013 -- while I was relaxing, the United States of America was going stark, raving nuts. 

I was haunting the mountains and valleys proximate to Big Bear, California, when a manhunt began for a disgruntled, former Los Angeles police officer accused of going on a murderous rampage. When his truck was found, burning at the paved end of a high ridge road I know so well, the entire region burst forth with gunmen.

There were cops of every stripe and flavor going door to door, cave to cave, outcrop to outcrop. They were armed to the teeth, burning for vengeance, and desperately looking to shoot somebody. They paralyzed the hills and dales, closed trails in and out, and set up numerous roadblocks to stop and search all civilian vehicles. A one million dollar reward was offered for capture, and the sheriff announced, "Most all of the people in these parts have guns and know how to defend themselves," thus providing the unspoken codicil of "dead or alive."

Police fired on a seventy year old Hispanic woman and her daughter, injuring both, because it "seemed as if" the white truck they were driving "might have been" the thirty-something, black male suspect's blue truck. Those women should have known better than to go about delivering newspapers. As a fully trained and experienced former officer, the suspect was hiding in a house across the street from the police command post: easily the best place to be, given the circumstances. 

All of which was not without an even more generous measure of irony, for as my retreat began, America hosted yet another rampaging young man with a gun at a school, leading to the tragic murder of numerous children, and reigniting the ever smoldering national hysteria over gun control. While legislators geared up to ban assault weapons, limit ammunition magazine capacity, and engage in outright confiscation, the Vice President of the United States -- he chaired the "fact-finding" scene of the psychodrama -- advised Americans to go buy shotguns for self-protection.

Meanwhile, gun sales in the country rose to the highest level since the day after Pearl Harbor, way back in the Forties.

Oh, and the North Koreans insulted the Nagas with an underground atomic explosion on Lunar New Year,  and a meteor hit the traditional home of numerous shamans. Maybe the Nagas shot back an aboveground atomic explosion, but their targeting was off.

In the midst of all this, the Pope quit.

Maybe people should set to work on an Ark.

I suppose I could have meditated about all of that, but I didn't. I was in quarantine. Also, that Buddhists meditate "about" anything grossly misstates the case. Somebody might say the early Christians probably made that up. They de-linked meditation, thinking, and watching. They were out in the middle of the figurative and literal desert, suffering from function thirst, searching around for something to do in order to relieve the boredom. They decided to write a book. Lots of people still do that, and for the very same reasons. The early authors de-linked meditation, thinking, and watching so the book would look fatter.

Christians have that one book, which in the fullness of time became so fat it had to get whacked up and abridged. People then wrote commentaries to explain the missing parts. We, on the other hand, are Buddhists. We have thousands of fat books. We have fatter commentaries on the fat books, and even fatter commentaries on the commentaries. Which is a paradox, because we did not de-link anything; instead, we linked everything (interdependence), and then set about to decry the illness of efforts.

Actual un-retouched photo of interdependence.

So, anyway ...

I was in quarantine for the Illness of Efforts, but I called it a "retreat with flexible boundaries," so I could try to practice what I was preaching to myself. That meant I would press the pause button, go visit the dentist, and then go scuttling back to a rock formation somewhere. While I was at the dentist, I tried to be at the dentist. While I was at the rock formation, I tried to be at the rock formation. I thought being in-between might also prove useful. In theory, this sounds great; in practice, this does not go very far.

In fact, this is utterly contrived.

Utterly contrived.

This is America. Nobody is safe from America. Nobody can get away from America. Even you go out in the middle of nowhere, there are helicopters buzzing around and all sorts of peculiar trails in the sky. Even you go to the Third World, you see America on the T-shirts. There is no evasion. If America wants you, America will get you. The American president will fly a drone up your nose.

The best you can do is plop down somewhere, pay due respect to the spirits, and try to relax. It helps if you shut off ordinary social intercourse, mass media, and the internet. You'll tend to bring your own distractions with you. Alone with the sun, moon, stars, wind, and critters, there are not so many distractions. Granted, you might plop down in the back of a taxicab. This is possible but not necessarily feasible. Most people would at least make a show of heading off for the wide open spaces.

You might start off with some mundane observations: I am not safe from America, I am a Buddhist, I have read and heard all this Buddhist stuff, I still don't know how to fit it into myself.
"When brightened by awareness, thoughts can become better companions and can even contribute to meditation." -- Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche
This is a simple and useful way to begin. All you do, as a beginner, is say to yourself that you will never be closer to the truth than you are right this minute, and then you can set out to complicate your intuition with your intellect. You can take a classical approach to all this -- for Westerners, in particular, it really helps. You can examine matters in terms of gratification, disappointment, and escape.

You think, "If I was safe from America, in my island paradise teahouse with the beautiful things and gracious servants, I could be a real Buddhist, and figure out all this stuff downright easily. That would be my gratification." Then you think, "It isn't going to work because I am not safe from America, the teahouse, the things and the servants are not going to help, I am still me and I still don't know squat. That is my disappointment." Then you think, "If I forget all about these labels and stop taking attitudes about myself -- this passive-aggressive, reverse egocentricity -- then I won't be trapped by labels and sick emotions. I can forget all about religion and remember how to be six-years-old spiritual. That would be my escape." Actually, that would be your escape, the fruit of your escape, and the means of your escape. The injunction would be, "Knock off labels."

If you sit around in the rocks somewhere, cogitating like that, pretty soon it will become automatic, and you can forget all about cogitating. You can move on, as people are fond of saying. There is a really great translation that helps you sort out all the Dharma you ever read or heard: the Nettippakaranam, from the Pali. Unless you feel -- as most Western Buddhists do -- that you can skip everything and jump straight to the sublime Ati -- and this because you heard it was "highest" -- I strongly suggest that you begin with the fundamentals.

The first of the fundamentals is disgust. Worn out disgust. Can't take no more. Hit the wall. Things don't work disgust. Crying in the dust disgust. End of the line disgust. Want to die disgust. Usually you can say "renunciation mind," but I like to say "disgust." Renunciation is a fearsome concept to Westerners: we might have to give up ordinary social intercourse, mass media, and the internet.  The trick is, with renunciation you don't need to "give up" anything. You can just recognize what works and what doesn't. You are then free to be disgusted with what doesn't work, which liberates the whole mess all by itself, naturally.

So, you have your big disgust catharsis, and you wake up the next morning, and nothing has changed. Looks like nothing is ever going to change. Fear sets in, and it turns cold. Cold fear turns to terror. Nothing is going to change and you are going to die.

That's a very good beginning.

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What I Should Have Done

What I should have done is stay in school, manage my money, get a decent profession, and eventually retire: a mild, bookish, part-time dealer in Asian art and antiquities -- old brick storefront up a foggy alley, flat above. How romantic!

There is a white rabbit hopping around the shop floor. He never lets the Buddha enter his mind.

That is what I should have done; then, when I passed away, it would be found I left millions to the Dharma, so all the lamas could taste cool water. For the atomic, smallest moment, maybe the constant din of fundraising would no longer drown out the true guide's words. Do you think it is possible?

At least somebody would benefit, and nobody would get hurt. Its only water, anyway.

Instead, I wasted my entire life studying Dharma, getting into all sorts of crazy situations. I wasted my whole life thinking about books, teachings, temples, statues, sadhanas. I spent a fortune on empowerments. A literal fortune to fill a broken pot.

What a selfish bastard. The greatest lama of the lineage had already whispered in my ear, but I got greedy for more.

I stuck up my head when I should have kept it down, and I missed the main point.

Now, somebody has bombed the Bodhi Tree, and I am no earthly use to the incident. A life wasted studying War, getting into all sorts of crazy situations. Another fortune dwindled to nothing. I should have kept my feelings to myself. I should have kept my mouth shut. I should have never mentioned Vajrayana to anyone.

You, who are young and full of energy, please do not confine your studies to the words of masters. Sometimes, maybe, you can find something of value in the sobs of a fool, eating the last supper of his  foolishness.

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Sunday, July 07, 2013

Bodhgaya Bombings: Not An Excuse

Bombings in Bodhgaya shock humanity's conscience. Yet, even an outrage of this magnitude cannot become an excuse for anger, hatred, or acting out one's vengeful fantasies at the Dharma's expense.

Naturally, the question of "who did this" seems uppermost to many. Yet, a simple demand for justice cannot become an excuse for political spin. 

In some ways, the question of "who," seems not as important as "why," be the two overtly intertwined or not. Let us guard against becoming part of the "why." This particular incident tempts us with some sort of ownership. We should toss that ownership away, and clearly see what is before us.

If it has come to throwing bombs at the Bodhi Tree, we should start planting them all over the world, and then sit down.

Even if a Buddhist monument is destroyed, this becomes no excuse to forget all sentient beings.

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UPDATE: 9 Bombs Target Mahabodhi Temple, Karmapa Monastery

"While four blasts took place this morning inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex, three occurred in Karmapa monastery, one each near near the 80-ft Buddha statue and at the bus stand near bypass, DIG Magadh range Nayyer Hussnain Khan told PTI."

The Hindu is running with the best reporting.

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BREAKING: Mahabodhi Temple Serial Bombings

As of 0750, 7 July 2013, Times of India is running with this breaking story:

The Mahabodhi Tenple at Bodhgaya, and the Bodhi Tree itself have become the site of a serial bombing incident, which occurred early in the morning. Five injuries are reported. Two Tibetan pilgrims have been admitted to hospital.

Multiple blasts occurred within the temple complex, and near the Bodhi Tree.

Extent of damage is unknown at this moment, nor has anyone claimed credit.

Will update as information becomes available.

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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Happy 78th Birthday to Dalai Lama

On the sixth of July, we celebrate the best man among us. May his great vision for this world be supported by our hard work and devotion. Happy Seventy-Eighth Birthday to His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV, seen above as he appeared in 1950.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

UPDATED: China Drops Ban on HHDL Images at Monastery

Voice of America is running with a story claiming that China has dropped a ban against images of Dalai Lama at Gaden Monastery in Lhasa. There are reports of similar measures at various other locations.

If true, this is very good, isn't it?

You know how it is when you go to see Holiness in big crowds? You can ask him a question in your mind, and he will undoubtedly answer you. Then, you stop and think, "Everyone in this huge crowd is asking Him questions, and He is answering all of them." You see things like this, and your faith cannot help but grow strong.

May we greet this news in similar fashion.


BBC is reporting a strong denial of the story from China.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dalai Lama's Akubra

Upon his recent arrival in Australia, His Holiness Dalai Lama was presented with an Australian "Akubra" hat, which holds a place in Australian hearts similar to that occupied by Stetson in the American West.

If you've ever spent any time in Tibet, you know Tibetan people fancy this general sort of design. From this point forward, there is no doubt the hat of choice will be Akubra's "Dalai Lama model."

UPDATE: His Holiness enjoyed this hat very much, and kept wearing it, reportedly remarking, "This is a very practical hat." This hat is considered iconic of Oz, so everyone was quite pleased with his remarks. One woman was even sufficiently moved to present her pet wombat:

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Heaven Has Eyes to See

Poor, maimed rabbits are showing up outside my door. I do not know where they came from or how they arrived here. I do not know why they came here, as distinct from going any other place. I do not know who hurt them. I do not know how many others have been hurt or killed in this manner. 

As of today, eleven different injured rabbits are observed. All have single or multiple, small-caliber projectile wounds to the ears.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers Day

Mothers Day is fun to contemplate. Here, we see Tiger Boy being kissed by Tiger Mommy. In Buddhism, every day is Mothers Day and all sentient beings have, at one time or another, been our mother.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Your Majesty

Was doing some Riwo Sangchö, over a period of days.

The winds came up. They lasted for a period of days.

Lay awake in bed all night, listening to my heartbeat.

Was thinking of a far-away fire. A fire ten thousand miles away. 

I did not see this fire; felt none of its warmth, saw none of its light. What went up in smoke, I cannot say. I do not know what the fire was fed. There was sickness, so maybe the fire was fed sickness. There being sickness, maybe the fire was fed the cure.

Over here, dust storms swirled around me. Ravens chased witches on the currents.

I received a letter:
In the practice of holistic wisdom, great perfection, all is meaningful. One is [not] in the center, to 'repel bad spirits' and have enemies, [this] is not the way of the yogin. 

I thought about kings.

Once, there were kings. Each king wanted to be bigger than the others, and eventually, strife broke out among them all.

Time passed. Strife continued. The causes and conditions that produce kings dwindled and changed in their result.

Today, there are but few kings.

We cannot say postulated strife among kings was in any way a cause of the dwindling, dying state of kingship. To say that would only be speculation.

Someday, there will be no kings. Royalty will disappear from the blood and blood will disappear from the royalty.

I thought about kings, and since there was sickness,  I thought about cells. 

These cells are in the center. They repel bad spirits. They fight off the enemy of disease. This happens like a space dance, the way ravens chase witches.
We begin by understanding that thoughts about being sick or not being sick-such as thinking, "I am really sick," "I am just a little sick," or "I am not sick,"-are dependently arisen, that is, the idea expressed in one only exists in dependence upon the other. Another way to say this is that such thoughts don't refer to anything truly existent.
It is like having experiences in a dream . . . Sickness is not something that truly exists, it exists only in dependence upon our idea that we are sick . . .
This is why the yogis in Tibet have a saying, "My body does not get sick, my thoughts get sick."
We should use our intelligence to see that "sickness" has no essence. Then rest in that: in the true reality free of thoughts about being sick.
There is, of course, nothing in the center of these cells except more space.

If we compare the cells to kings, it could be meaningful.

Or, I suppose we could call the spirits in from all directions, and reckon that we paid them off with swirling smoke.

As to the way of the yogin, this I simply do not know.

That quote above is from Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Remember Trungpa

Today, 4 April 2013, marks the twenty-sixth anniversary of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's passing. He invested his life in us. May we every day remember him.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Family Member, Traveling

We used to catch the bus at the corner of Telegraph and Ashby, in Berkeley, California. We used to visit the university, and the shops on Telegraph Avenue. 

He would wear his robes.

I felt like Kipling's Kim.

Just to get out of the house, we took the bus up there, one summer's late afternoon into evening. We idled along the sidewalk, until he was suddenly taken by an M.C. Escher print in a shop window. 

We stood there a long time. He wanted to buy the print but in those days we never had any money.

I asked him why he liked the print. He said it was difficult to explain. He said, "This is how things are." He said, "This is how I see things." He said, "This shows something I will have to teach." 

He said, "This is very high understanding."

On the way back, he asked me how I got around with no car and did I always take the bus. I told him I always walked or hitch-hiked. He said, "Teach me how to hitch-hike."

So, we hitch-hiked back down Telegraph to Ashby, which isn't very far, and we walked home, and he said, "Next time, I won't wear my robe."

It was forty-five years ago. The world celebrates what he achieved since. 

I never came to much.

Suddenly, this evening around six o'clock, that M.C. Escher memory hitch-hiked back to me. Tears began falling as if there were nothing to prevent them. I was seized with such devotion and admiration for Rinpoche: at the notion he had invested such loving, painstaking care in a stupid boy; the notion he cared enough to show me a proper way to see.

So, you wrote tonight and asked me how things are, inside and outside me.

This is the only way I can answer you truthfully.

I am remembering my Great Teacher, and tears are falling, and if I had to give them a name I would name them tears of gratitude.

As humans, you know, we have a tendency to talk about love. Children talk about love with their parents. Poets enjoy writing poems about love. Boyfriend and girlfriend talk about love.

Husbands and their wives talk about love.

I don't know what love is. 

That abruptly-rising memory leading to today's tears is the reflection of what really happened.

Maybe that's what love is: that beautiful vajra tent of protection given to us when we are travelling.

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