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,