Saying Goodbye to a Lama
Last Wednesday 7 September, Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup passed away in Kopan Monastery, Nepal. His cremation is scheduled to take place today, Monday 12 September, at 3.30pm (Nepal time).
Lama Lhundrup, as he was known to many of us who visited Kopan, was the abbot of Kopan Monastery for more than 30 years. And my brief encounter with him about 15 years ago took place in his room above the old Kopan gompa. My two friends and I arrived in Kopan to do a tantric retreat, with honestly very few clues of what we are supposed to do. Brave we may be, we are also very fortunate to receive many advices from Lama Lhundrup. One of these advices has stayed with me all these years because it is so counter-intuitive.
When asked about the practice of seeing all appearances as pure, Lama Lhundrup declared that we are not to throw out our rubbish for the duration of our retreat (more than 3 weeks long). After all, even our garbage should be viewed as pure. For us three Singaporeans, that presented an interesting challenge that went against our lifelong habituation. I shall not bore you with the intricate maneuvers we employed to survive the retreat.
And this is the sort of tiny episodes that come readily to mind when I remembered my interactions with my teachers. Although these are not dramatic encounters, such as witnessing light radiating from the lama or waves of blissful sensations coursing through the body of the disciple, they are nonetheless valuable lessons. I get to see my teachers in their daily interactions with myself and others, displaying their wisdom, kindness and, definitely, patience. They reveal possibilities, challenge fixations, and show a different way to be.
It is now time to say goodbye to yet another of my teachers. This will be another reminder of the truth of impermanence and the need to strive with diligence to work out our own liberation from suffering, both for self and others.
Published on September 12, 2011.
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