Recently as some of you know, I returned from a potent week with His Holiness, the Drikung Kyabgon, Chetsang Rinpoche. There was a full week of Nairatmya teachings, blessing ceremony and actually doing the sadhana (spiritual practice text). Nairatmya, as she is a less-well-known Tibetan Buddhist deity, is the consort of Hevajra, so she is a yidam and a dakini. Hevajra is one of the Anutarrayoga Tantra practices.
Despite not having any private time with His Holiness, somehow I came away from the week feeling like I had become more intimate with him. Of course, I consider him to be a Buddha, a living-breathing mandala, a realized, awakened being and he certainly played the part. Anyway, I arrived at several insights after the teachings and then upon reading his biography. I am also sure that the experience will continue to unfold into the coming year, as major retreats tend to do.
By the way, His Holiness’ biography is entitled, “From the Heart of Tibet.”
Feeling closer to His Holiness, I also feel closer to his experiences. And just to be clear, I feel like I am a poor, afflicted sentient being and that he is a significant Vajramaster, a spiritual teacher among spiritual teachers. He is definitely and always will be one of my teachers, who I put above my head in homage. After reading about his life in his biography, which I highly recommend by the way (if you are a Drikungpa, it is a must read), I am just blown away by his accomplishments. I will say more about that below, but somehow I feel more embodied and grounded. It is almost as if his support is still with me, following me everywhere I go.
In his biography, I learned that he basically had no Buddhist education until escaping Chinese-occupied Tibet. That was in the mid 1970s. Then he had to receive teachings from high lamas, do his own personal 3 year retreat and try to get the crumbling lineage off the ground (establish the Drikung Kagyu in exile). Therefore, it was not until the early ’80s that he actually got started teaching and maintaining the activities of a Kyabgon Rinpoche (the head of the lineage who protects and provides refuge for all). He has since built and established a Buddhist center for the Drikung Kagyu, a significant presence in Dehra Dun India – which includes a school for younger monks, a higher monastic college, a retreat center, a nunnery, a temple and a well-resourced library. And all of this after escaping from Tibet (the Chinese) with nothing – not a penny to his name. He had to live a frugal existence for decades as he collected the necessary funds to build his many projects. Simply awe-inspiring and extraordinary!
I wonder if somewhere along the journey of reading about his, and the lineage’s background, I did not read about myself (a previous incarnation). I say this because of how strongly I feel connected to the story and to him. Just a curious thought, nothing special. In all honesty, considering how afflicted and distracted my mind is, if I was present at all around His Holiness in the past, I was probably one of the monastery dogs or vultures! But as a result of spending a potent week with him, I came away feeling that there is way too much injustice in the world for me to be so apathetic. I need to get a move on, when I have the resources and live up to my potential. So that is all to the good. We will see however, how long this motivation and juicy potency sticks around.