Ven. Garchen Rinpoche
Source of Love and Compassion.
( The Tibetan yogi of the present time)
A storm passed by, shaking us, our wrong habits got swept away, leaving just love behind. This storm ironically with abundance of unbiased love and compassion was Rinpoche himself. In such a way he inspired us during his visit organized by our center Padmasana in Zagreb in the month of October 2006 from the 2nd to the 9th.
Living the Buddha’s Dharma through his body, speech and mind, he seemed at total ease unperturbed in any given situation whether teaching, traveling, meditating, blessing people or meeting with them. Just living what he taught, “the mind has more projections than the dust particles. Is there an accomplished yogi or a yogini who can see the appearances of those things and just let those stories be as they are?” He often quoted the great master yogi Milarepa.
From the moment of his arrival to the moments before his departure, he was always smiling, raditating beams of loving kindness, automatically bringing a smile on the face of anyone who met him. It was easy to forget all ones troubles in his presence. Perhaps as Kunu Lama Rinpoche has said, “Bodhichitta wipes out the darkness hidden in every sentient being”. Compassion with equanimity he met all as though they were his mothers in the past. So much so that he would spontaneously address any of the women as amala meaning mother in Tibetan. Many a times, in his teachings he would remind us that any or all of the beings could have been our mothers in our various passed lives, so we must extend our love equally to all.
Observe the emotions that surface up when someone says something that we do not like or when someone belittles us in some way. In contrast there was Rimpoche for whom 20 years in Chinese prison had acted as a fuel to kindle the flames of love and compassion.
The mental states of the distorted emotions,
Are but the five primordial wisdoms.
Simply watch them without clinging,
From nowhere else come the 5 wisdoms.
Avoiding to give any descriptions of the prison, Rinpoche was in fact grateful that this gave him 20 years to realize suffering and practice the Dharma, specially the 37 Bodhisatva practices by Ven Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo. The entire practice of the Bodhisatva path is contained in these practices. Meditating secretly for 20 years during the nights in prison, he accomplished the realization of the Mahamudra. Putting dependent arising or cause and effect into practice, Rinpoche said that the real cause of being in prison had to be something he had done in the passed and so this imprisonment was the cleaning of a karmic debt, which brought him happiness. Rinpoche showed us skillful means of applying the Buddha’s Dharma as it is taught. There are ofcourse many who teach the same thoughts but Rinpoche was an example of the applications of these thoughts in daily life, which was why he moved us deeply.
With such a divine pride he would appear as the Mahasiddha Milarepa one day, on another day as the yogi Tilopa. Holding the lineage of the Mahasiddhas , understanding his mind fully, he dressed simply wearing the belt of a yogi, sitting for endless hours in the Virochana posture, rotating the mani wheel constantly in his left hand, ready to give instructions at all times. By rotating the Mani wheel filled with million of mantras, at all times he was spreading love in all directions. Obviously accomplished in inner heat called the Tumo practice, he needed no warm cloth or any cover for the night .Even in his seventies he was constantly sitting upright guarding his mind day and night. Although appearing very simple, a moment in his presence was enough to understand his accomplishments.
Being the Mahamudra himself, Rinpoche would eat anything given to him during the meal times. Joyfully saying Dobra Dobra (instead of Dobro) he would eat as though delighting in a feast of nectar. As he said during the teachings,“ there is only that which we see, nothing else”. Not wasting a moment of his precious human life, even during the meals he would inspire us with stories and teachings of Mahasiddhas.
Practicing the Paramita of giving and as in the tradition of a yogi not keeping anything with him, whatever was given to him he shared with others. Sometimes he would just walk up and surprising put a gift in our hands, laughing joyously. Such was his clairvoyance he would often say things, that we were about to ask as though he was reading our minds.
Though I could go on writing endlessly about the way Rinpoche moved us, I can only hope that everyone has the opportunity to meet him directly, or meet him through his teachings, to undergo an inner change in their own way. He is the role model on one hand and on the other hand a mirror to see ones own faults clearly. At the same time he gives a new hope of an unending goodness and a skillful application of the Dharma in all situations. Understanding only too well of how we create our own unnecessary problems he said,
“Our problem is that we take things so seriously like ice that is frozen. If we think of experiences like a dream, for a moment we will feel like a burden is lessened, like the ice is melted. We can keep melting the ice by warming it with the sunshine of remembering things to be a dream”. Further to make us understand how we firmly only believe in the things that we see, to be as true and real he said, “although we our now happy thinking we are sitting in this spacious room believing only in the things what is around us, if we now let a beam of sun light enter the room, we would suddenly see dust particles which we did not know existed.”
Throughout the teachings Rinpoche talked of Mahamudra in the light of the Rime or non sectarian tradition. He encouraged us deeply to further follow this non sectarian tradition as has been done by us, in our Center Padmasana. Within his teaching he quoted masters from all different schools like the various Mahasiddhas, great master Nagarjuna , Lama Jhe Tsongkhapa as well as the Dzogchen approach.
When requested to stay longer, he jokingly said, “That would be very difficult as I would only give more teachings and you would have more to listen and follow”. However although he is not here now, through his teachings his presence is felt continuously. Mind is but space and the space is everywhere so our teacher is here when we remember him. Our source of love and compassion continues to be with us. May Rinpoche, the Buddha of compassion have a long life.
(A part of the Mahamudra teaching of Ven. Garchen Rinpoche in Zagreb you can find on following link http:\\www.padmasana.hr\teachings. The translation in Croatian Language of the 37 Bodhisatva practices, based on the English text given by Rinpoche is available in our Padmasana Center)
Text written by Reena Šmalcelj ( Lhamo Ozer Chenmo)