Many with an interest in Buddhism, hope to meet with HH The Dalai Lama or HH The Karmapa even if only for a few minutes. But what’s to be learned by those fortunate enough?
In 2010 I had the opportunity to do that very thing. Something many people only dream of – meeting his Holiness the 17th Karmapa on a one-to-one basis. It came out of the blue, totally unplanned from a young girl I’d been helping with English language. It turned out, her husband is the bodyguard of his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and in return for my kindness she wanted to arrange a one to one appointment with his Holiness the Karmapa. It would have been The Dalai Lama if he hadn’t been out of the country. Of course I accepted the offer, not wishing to appear ungrateful. But in situations such as this, I would have preferred to have something to say, questions to ask and something constructive to base my appointment on. The time came quickly, in fact it was the following day, so even if I’d wanted to think something up I didn’t have time. Arriving early afternoon in Norbulingka the home of his Holiness, I was shown into a small basic room with only a short wait, before being shown into something far
To be exact, Lama Ahbay Tulku Jigme Thupten Tendar Rinpoche -but who’d have thought it? On the 17th floor of a council block?
At a very young age, Rinpoche was identified by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the hermit Lama Lobsang Tenzin. A year later, he was enthroned as Tulku in Gaden Jangtse Monastery. There, at the age of seventeen, he was admitted to the congregational debate on the first chapter of Abhisamaya (Perfection of Wisdom), and six years later, to the congregational debate on Madhyamika (Middle Way). He studied Pharchen (Perfection of Wisdom) for six years, Uma (Middle Way) for three years.
I first met Rinpoche when he came to deliver some teachings & Puja in my hometown of Rochdale at a holistic centre. At that time I’d pretty much finished writing my first book but needed a foreword. The book was about death and dying from a Buddhist perspective and he agreed to read it through. True to the Tibetan way, for several weeks I heard nothing and then it was there in an email along with a self invitation to meet with me and my then group of Buddhist students in my home. This is really how we became friends and now each year Rinpoche comes with blessings teachings & laughter to eat and spend time with us. Ive never met anyone who’s laughter ricochets around so many people leaving them in hysterics so quickly. Some people identify one main teacher in life whom they stick with until death & sometimes beyond. For me, life has brought many great teachers, and subsequently many great lessons – Rinpoche being one of them. This year I expect we’ll be seeing him again for tea & teachings. Who is your greatest teacher?
Please Like & Share and Let’s Start a Conversation
For more information on Ahbay Rinpoche