Monday, March 13, 2006

A Story of Deshung Rinpoche

This is a great article about how one family has raised its children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. More than that, however, it is a tender remembrance of the Sakya master Deshung Rinpoche, who served as guru to James and Michal Sarzotti.
It was a hot, humid day in New York, and the many windows were open to let the occasional breeze waft through. But rather than letting in a cool breeze, the open windows invited in a multitude of insects. One particularly obnoxious fly landed on our donuts and dive-bombed our eyes. I could not help thinking mean thoughts about this pesky being. After numerous attempts to brush it away from our breakfast, I looked up to see this bug walking along the rim of Rinpoche’s teacup, and before I knew it, he had fallen in and drowned. I was horrified that Rinpoche’s tea had been ruined. Rinpoche was horrified, too, but not for the same reason. He scooped up that fly from his hot tea and held him in the palm of his hand. He held that fly as if it were his most precious child. He leaned over the fly’s wet little body and said prayers. He smoothed the rumpled little wings and whispered to him. That nameless bug then became for me a tiny being receiving his bardo instructions and all of Rinpoche’s overwhelming love and compassion. I have never seen anyone treat even another person with such tenderness.
I'm still digesting Deshung Rinpoche's The Three Levels of Spiritual Perception, which is an astounding work. It not only captures Tibetan Buddhist principles to a T, but it is eminently practical and thorough. Nearly every chapter contains meditation instructions. When I do daily Ngondro practice, I use a book authored by Deshung Rinpoche and edited by my own beloved lama, HH Jigdal Dagchen Sakya. I can only image what a privilege it must have been to study with Deshung Rinpoche, and learn from him in such close quarters.

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