Showing posts with label Yongy Mingyur Rinpoche. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yongy Mingyur Rinpoche. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Guru of Impermanence

Our lives are as fleeting as a cloud...

On the 25th of April at 4.45 am, my long time winged friend, a species of dark iridescent blue bird found in the Himalayan foothills, landed with a thud on the tin roof of my tiny hut.

This had become a familiar sound to me over the years. My eyes popped open in time to see one black eye peering over the side of the awning into my loft. She was letting me know that it was time for me to get up.
I took a little longer to heed her call that morning and paid the price as she jumped up and down at 5 minute intervals, reminding me, like a snooze alarm that she was waiting for me to put out her cheese.

This had been our little ritual over a good many years. Despite the fact that I had been away for two long years, she had not forgotten and no sooner had I resettled back into my 'tin palace' at Das Mile Retreat Center, than she resumed her old habit of waking me up in the mornings.

I was reluctant and slow to get going that particular morning.

No sooner had I taken my first gulp of Darjeeling tea than a furry head appeared at the little side window. Shortly after that there was an almighty crash on the tin roof, as a large simian male jumped from the tree above the hut onto the corrugated iron sheets.
It was not a promising beginning to my day!

This was followed by various annoying and inconvenient visitations from hairy and hungry monkeys of all sizes and generations hailing from a large group that have been roaming about these forested hills for the past few years.

Joining in the fray were three excited dogs, frantically enjoying the chase as they tore in and out of the bamboo railings of my fence and dashed about among the trees while the monkeys taunted and teased them from the safety of the branches above.

By 11 am I was worn out with trying to keep vigil on my little stock of food and remaining pot plants and stay sane. All possibility of meditation and prayers at the shrine in my loft had shot out the window the minute these visitors arrived.

Despite threateningly dangling my slingshot at the monkeys who were by now making a sport of leaping from the trees onto my roof making the loudest crash possible, there was little I could do to keep the group at bay, so I just got on as well I could with my usual daily routines.

Around midday I had no sooner sat down and taken a couple of mouthfuls of my midday repast, than there was a strange tremor and creak. My first thought was, 'monkey'. But then the tremor continued and increased, the hut began to sway and wooden beams made strange creaking, groaning sounds. Soon I heard an eerie rumbling sound. I quickly tried to stand up and noticed the water in the small pond outside splashing back and forth. It was a big quake accompanied by all of the unsettling emotions of surprise, alarm, shock and fear.

Cries soon started up from the villages on either side of our forested ridge and also from below. people were running in all directions in a bid to flee their houses.

Read More in Masters, Mice and Men
Volume Three in the series, Shades of Awareness

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mingyur Rinpoche, Compassionately Wise

Mingyur Rinpoche in the Mountains

These days it is not so often that someone inspires me. It is rare to come by the likes of one such as Mingyur Rinpoche. He was prepared to give up all the comforts, routines, pleasures and fame that he had secured in his life as an internationally renowned Lama and go out into the world with only the clothes on his back. He was prepared to face all the harsh conditions that such a lifestyle can throw at you and not just for a few days or weeks but for years on end.

He left behind his known, comfortable world in 2011 in order to embark on a period of intensive sadhana as an anonymous, wandering yogi, with no fixed abode, no certainties of food, no surety of shelter. He carried nothing with him, just the clothes that he was wearing and a few of the simple dharma 'tools' such as a Malla, (rosary for counting mantras) a few sacred texts and some relics from his Tsawai Lama, (root or main teacher) such as all Buddhist practitioners keep with them.

No one knew where he went and he himself would have had only the vaguest of plans, if any at all.

I remember the first time I ever heard his name. His brother Tsoknyi Rinpoche, who had just emerged from a long retreat in Tashi Jong, had just returned from visiting his brother in Sherab Ling in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India. By the way he spoke of his brother and said, "you must meet Mingyur Rinpoche," I had understood that he was someone 'special.'

Some time passed and I was staying in Boudanath, Nepal, when I visited Ka-Nying Gompa, which is very close to Shechen Monastery where my Master, the previous Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was residing. There was a Drupchen ceremony in progress at that time and I had come during the recess and was just standing near the doorway.

People were milling around inside. When I looked towards the main shrine I noticed a figure standing just in front of the alter. His back was towards me so I could not make out his face and he appeared to be praying as he stood there quietly. I could not understand why, but my eyes were in some way drawn to that silent figure. I did not recognize it as anyone I knew and yet it was deeply familiar and unusual in some mysterious way.

Later I came to know that it was Mingyur Rinpoche on a brief visit to Nepal. Even though I did not actually see his face on that occassion, yet somehow the impression of his 'presence' remained very strongly in my mind.

Several years after this, while I was staying in BodhGaya, I came to know that Rinpoche was staying in a guest house nearby. I decided I would visit and make a connection with him as, until then, I had not had the opportunity to meet him.

I went along with my offerings of fruit and kadak (a long white scarf of greeting) and awaited my chance for a private interview. At that time an old monk was attending him. It was not long before I was taken inside.

I was very eager to meet with Mingyur Rinpoche, but I was not expecting that I would have such a strong reaction. Yet the minute I began to speak a few words I found myself quite choked up with a sudden and very intense emotion and then tears began to flow down my face. My initial response was one of embarrassment and annoyance that I should react in such a way and yet I could not help it. The tears just continued to flow and in the end I could not say anything even remotely coherent.

Read more in Masters, Mice and Men
Volume Three from Shades of Awareness

Biography of Mingyur Rinpoche