I so love and miss my truly perfect teacher. He passed away in 1996, and I was there the night he died and stayed there for a day afterwards to meditate with him. It was a powerful time. After our global #dharmametoo revelations, so many dharma and yoga teachers and men everywhere, have been called out for having affairs with their students, misuse of power, and so on.
The future and efficacy of an entire 2,500 year old tradition is now in question. As I have been reflecting, I remember my beloved Tibetan Guru, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. He never once harmed me, insulted me, no sexual anything, just pure kindness and wisdom. It’s sad to see all of our wholesome, ethical and powerful teachers get lumped into this cultural time of defamation.
All spiritual teachers are not alike, for example, we may have a simple ethical, Christian protestant pastor in a small town who provides inspiration and community and does nothing to harm anyone. There is a huge difference between him and a wealthy, yelling televangelist, who evokes fear, guilt and siphons many donations and breaks all kinds of non-profit laws by co-opting his religion to benefit himself and his family. All priests, teachers, Dharma teachers are not alike, we must judge each one individually and not make sweeping, prejudiced statements about any tradition or culture of people.
The gravity of yesterday’s shooting inspired me to share a treasured personal story, like an Obi Wan moment with my teacher, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche who again, passed away in 1996, but I still “supplicate” his ancestral wisdom and compassion, daily.
“I’m happy, because I have a warm spot in the sun to sleep in” Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
I was taking the bus back from my retreat house in the spiritual center of Crestone, Colorado a few weeks ago, and I tried to conceal my crying from others by putting my head on my lap and wiping the tears behind my dark sunglasses. In desperation, I silently prayed to my teacher. I asked him if the pain I was feeling would stay, and if I had somehow failed in life, or was hopeless.
All of a sudden a flood of “teachings” appeared in my mind, and this is what “he” replied…
“Dawn, I am always here with you, even though its hard for you to understand with your level of accomplishment, since I no longer have that body. You have access to everything that I showed you in every moment, and you can find solace here, in the inner quietude of the clear mind. As far as the pain that you are in now, don’t worry about it, it will pass, as you see that there is no one who experiences it, it is just temporary and the pain is not you.
All beings who are not enlightened have about 50% good qualities and 50% bad, don’t worry so much about your shortcomings and feel bad about yourself and your life, but rather identify with your strengths and positive qualities. This is closer to your true nature, so please be joyful, practice meditation, and do your best in this life. If you ever feel disheartened or confused, you can always quiet down and meet me here in this space, I exist as unconditioned mind, infused with warmth and care, and am always with you, please don’t forget me.” ♥
With love to all, and please, still have faith in your dharma practice. The culture now is changing and improving, but the essence of the benefit of meditation and yoga are still so helpful and powerful for many. We should never abandon these, if they are of help, and for me, my simple practice still sustains me, now more than ever.