“Does a dog have Buddha-nature or not?” – “Poo!”

Dog days in Kathmandu

Dog days in Kathmandu

I was in Nepal recently, for the first time. A pilgrimage to attend my teacher’s final rites and to visit and experience holy sites. Shortly after landing and checking in at the hotel, Ralph my travel buddy, and I went to Boudhanath and did kora as the sun began to settle in for the night. After roughly 15 hours in the air, and 10 hrs in the Abu Dhabi airport, and a lovely drive from the Nepal airport there was a beautiful, magical sense to the place. The chaos and spiritual were in a beautiful dance. No reference. I felt like I had arrived home. In the midst of this experience, Ralph pointed out, with humorous shock, a dog doing his business in the middle of it all as we circumamulated the giant Boudha stupa. To be blunt, taking a shit. He sighed, I smiled. It was perfect as it was. Things as it is. Perhaps this was a glimpse of satori, for me. A thousand thoughts in a moment. A moment of a thousand thoughts. No reference. No sticking. Perhaps an offering to the buddhas. The intimacy with a pure view recognized a connection to awakening, in whatever form. Just a dog taking a shit.
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The Fully-loaded Lama

Shamarpa and me - Buena Park 2011

Shamarpa and me – Buena Park 2011

How do I begin to describe the Shamarpa? I leave this question as it is. So it may resonate within our being. I know we can all relate to this question. How do you describe Shamar Rinpoche.

I found Bodhi Path Pasadena in 2005 and began a lifelong friendship and commitment to study and implementing the Buddha’s precious teachings. I quickly took refuge only a few months later, with Dilyag Sabchu Rinpoche. Early the following year I met the Red Hat Lama, Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche. I was in awe and somewhat on shaky ground. Rinpoche seemed amused by my appearance and inquired where I was from. I told him I was from Peru and he proceeded in asking me if I had heard they had just discovered the smallest man in the world there? He seemed very interested and genuine. I was hooked.

Throughout the following years I attended mostly all of Rinpoche’s visits to California and also traveled to Natural Bridge for his annual teachings. I remember having such a warm feeling in my heart when he began to recognize me and remembered my name. Silly confirmation perhaps, of not wanting to be left behind by this great Bodhisattva. My teacher, Khaydroup, said to me once, “Don’t worry, he remembers everyone.” Later on there was no question of this. My meetings with Rinpoche were always a joy. Sometimes brief, sometimes extended. I always felt that Rinpoche was completely authentic when I was around him. No nonsense. He would ask about my practice and even gave a thumbs up when I shared the completion of ngondro. I thought that was cute.

A couple of memories I have about encounters with Rinpoche? Well, first that I remember that Rinpoche didn’t seem to like prostrating to him when we were in his presence. A form of bowing that one performs, laying one’s body completely on the floor in reverence.  I remember I tried to always remember his dislike, but sincerely wished to pay my respects to my teacher and a Dharma King. But I worked with this and brought it to the path. I remember one time after seeing him and not prostrating that I didn’t feel good and I promised myself never to let a moment go by when I can prostrate to my Guru. The next time I saw Rinpoche in Menlo Park I remembered this promise as I waited in line to approach him and traditionally offer him a scarf. But again, my mind was so busy, yes, no, yes, no? I resolved to do just one long short prostration and visualize limitless prostrations in one, using the Bodhisattva ideal of big, big, view. So as I approached Rinpoche, I did one long prostration, and as I arose waiting to hear his admonishment for doing this, I was met with the most brilliant smile and warmth. He seemed to have seen what was in my mind and heart. I know he did. He could see everything.

Another time when I met him I shared that I had attended a teaching by a Dzogchen Master. I told Rinpoche I had received an Ati Yoga instruction and had been doing this along with the practices he had given us. Rinpoche said that it was good to get the blessing but that I should not mix. He seemed very determined to get this across to me. I said I would follow his advice and proceeded and let others approach him. Towards the end of the event as the remaining people approached him, I was nearby having a conversation with Lama Jampa. At the conclusion I bid farewell to Lama Jampa and moved to the exit. As I walked past Rinpoche’s seat, he reached out and grabbed my hand, while he was in conversation with a person offering a scarf. He pulled me close, looked at me and said, “Do not seek esoteric teachings.” I can still feel his grasp of my hand. I said, “Ok Rinpoche” and headed home. The event displayed to me how much Rinpoche cared about me, us. I felt great love and devotion.

I will miss my precious teacher very much. But I feel well equipped for the journey ahead. Cheers to the fully-loaded lama. Shamarpa Khyenno!

Love & devotion,
cesar

Shamar Rinpoche: The Final Flame

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http://youtu.be/B1_Pc_q0_yM

Two weeks before his passing, Shamar Rinpoche gave his last recorded interview in Dhagpo Kagyu Ling on 27 May, 2014.
Later that night, in the car on his way to dinner, he sang the Amitabha Dewachen prayer into an iphone – because he said we were all singing it wrong. After weeks of waiting, the Kudung of Shamar Rinpoche is finally allowed to enter Nepal. It is greeted at the airport by hundreds, and the streets of Kathmandu are overflowing by the thousands.

Message from HH 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje

His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje

His Holiness Karmapa Thaye Dorje

Dearest dharma friends

I am speaking to you as one of many spiritual friends, standing shoulder to shoulder with you in these times, and in all times.

Since the passing in this life of His Holiness Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche on the 11th of June, I have been overwhelmed by your devotion. In my life, I have never seen such devotion. I wish you to know that your efforts are completely meritorious.

Part of the practice of compassion is to place yourself in the position of others. When I put myself in your situation, I can see how difficult this period must have been for you. Not only the sacrifices many of you have made – in terms of time, energy, leaving work, and perhaps more importantly, your families – but mourning the loss of our great teacher Shamar Rinpoche.

For those of you who wished to be present with the kudung of Shamar Rinpoche, but have been unable to do so, I have only my appreciation and prayers to offer you.

I see a great unity. This unity I speak of is not worldly or political in nature, but a unity of our hearts. Our hearts are deeply connected, and your devotion has helped reveal this connection.

Therefore, I wish to thank you from the depth of my heart and request that you continue with your prayers, and know that I will be praying with you in these times, and in all times.

Thank you.

Karmapa International Buddhist Institute, New Delhi, 30 July 2014

https://soundcloud.com/karmapa/appreciation

 

Cremation ceremony at SharMinub monastery in Nepal

Cremation Ceremony at Shar Minub

Cremation Ceremony at Shar Minub

Dear friends,

Beautiful pictures of the cremation ceremony at Shar Minub by Tokpa Korlo. Please follow the link.

http://shamarpa.org/photo-gallery/nggallery/thumbnails

A Shamarpa without Borders by Ralph Frammolino

cremation-1-blogFIN

Our sangha member, Mr. Ralph Frammolino, has an excellent blog entry about the late 14th Shamar Rinpoche. You can read it from here:

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/shamarpa-without-borders