So, Shamarpa died a year ago. At Dhagpo, we devoted this time between the two dates of his departure (in the Tibetan and Western calendars) to practice in his memory, to connect with him, and for his swift return.
It is still hard for me to figure out what his death means. The man I knew, I won’t meet again. Won’t get to offer him a kata, hear his voice guiding us together in the refuge prayer, or listen to his little jokes on our narrow mindedness as he teaches. This I understand. And in this way, I miss him. But somehow it seems a part of me also understands that he is always with me, with any of us who chooses to reach out with our minds and connect to what he gave us. This is what we came together to do on the anniversaries of his parinirvana: Chenrezig, Amitabha, Gyalwa Gyamtso…
When I think about him, when I focus on the memories of the time I spent with him, the teachings I received, and the things that have happened in my life thanks to him, and to recall the different things I have understood in light of all that…it’s all still here. The protection of his wisdom and the certainty that I can rely on the understanding he helped me develop; they are untainted.
Sometimes I get frightened on the path. I have doubts about how long this road will last, and if I am truly capable of walking it. I wonder if I understand the implications of the refuge or of enlightenment; I’m sure I don’t. But I turn my thoughts toward them anyway because I have seen that they can help. This is what Rinpoche gave us. An example. What I saw in him, I wish to achieve.
This is both inspiration and protection.
When fear and doubt arise, Shamarpa remains in my consciousness as an infinite light—undimmed, unblemished, and unshaken, a manifestation of wisdom and compassion that I had the opportunity to meet in this lifetime, that so many of us have been blessed to know.
And for that, I am just grateful. I wish I could contact the awareness of his presence, his qualities, and my own understanding all of the time, instead of just by moment when I need it or when I remember. But that I guess is practice on the path, and at least we have his brilliance to light the way. And in the meantime, let’s pray for his return, because this is part of how we will continue on.