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10 responses to “ Welcome to Vidyadhara Tribute Page ”
  1. right place at the right time!

    The year was around 1991, and I was in the middle of studying Maitri with Marvin Casper at Naropa, soaking in red Padma passion, when I found myself somewhat lost during a little weekend solo road- trip around Rocky Mountain National Park.

    The night had started to turn pitch black, and the dirt road over Rollins Pass which I had been following diligently, according to an ancient road map supposedly belonging to the Vidyadhara and given to me by one of his old-time drivers, my dear friend Stefan Karmien, was turning from bad to worse. Maybe the “Dead End” road sign I had seen at the turnoff from Winter Park had been right after all? I just couldn’t believe it. If the Vidyadhara’s road map said that there was a road over the mountain, then there had to be a road!

    And on I went, for several more hours of jaw-clenching 4-wheel driving in total darkness, until I finally reached an overlook, seeing sparkling Boulder right there in front of me. Relieved I parked the car and decided to continue my journey next morning, after a good nights rest on top of the Continental Divide.

    Waking bright and early I discovered that there was no road leading down the mountain. There was a broken down tunnel on one side, and a fallen down bridge on the other, and right there in front of me, several gigantic concrete road blocks, and a big sign saying “Road Closed” – “But not for me” I knew!

    I will gladly spare you the exact details of my hair raising, goose bumping adventures, all day, creeping down the mountain, road or no road. When I finally made it down to a place where I could see the actual road to Rollinsville, I was so exhausted that I decided to stay put for a few days, skip school, and enjoy the mountain lakes and scenery, celebrating the fact that I hadn’t died.

    Looking to start a fire I dug around the coals of an old fire pit, and found a torn off piece of newspaper that looked like it had been lying there for several years. When I picked it up, and turned it around, the face of Trungpa Rinpoche was smiling back at me, giving me a chill and making me realize that I was exactly in the right place at the right time :)

  2. Vicki Giella
    Apr 1, 2012

    The Vidyadhara encouraged us to reconnect with our families and respect our birth traditions as well and so I recall some experiences that I had with my parents and Trungpa, Rinpoche and our sangha.

    My parents were both bohemians of sorts in their generation and so they weren’t worried about my involvement with the Vidyadhara and buddhism, but when I moved to Karme Choling in 1983, my mother seemed somewhat estranged from me. Then, right after Rinpoche’s death, my mother asked me what it was like, that he had died. I said, it was like one of the elements had vanished, like there was no more grass. She said, “Oh that was what it was like when Roosevelt died!” That was a real moment of exchange and mutual understanding that I’ve never forgotten.

    I think my father did meet the Vidyadhara, but mainly I shared books with him – and, especially, since he was an artist, I invited him to the public talk of the Discovering Elegance program in LA. Well, we waited over an hour for Rinpoche to appear and my father was really irritated and finally walked out – just as Rinpoche walked in. I was so disappointed.

    Then, in 2002, after my mother died and I was living close to Karme-Choling, I moved my father, age 89, to a community care home in St. Johnsbury. He lived there for about 9 months until his death. He and my mother had visited Karme-Choling before, but he hadn’t been there for years and I never suggested we go. Rather, I took him to the synagogue because he sort of identified as a Jew (although he was born an Italian Catholic).

    Then, on the last afternoon of his life, Michael Leszczynski, who was helping to care for him, asked him what he’d like to do. He said he wanted to go to Karme-Choling – and so they did – and then he died the next morning. How auspicious!

    Also, on the day that his obituary was published in the local newspaper, there was also an article about Dr. Robert Thurman, who was going to give the commencement speech at St. Johnsbury Academy. Thurman’s grandson was graduating from there. This was unusual – and it felt very auspicious.

    In attending to my parents’ old age and deaths – and also, more recently, with the death of my sister, I feel such enormous gratitude for our precious guru who taught me everything I know about how to appreciate these precious and difficult life passages.

  3. Dawa Chöga
    Apr 1, 2012


    Even the goldfish knows, he floats near the surface
    all day still behind a yellow note stuck to the glass,
    moved and unnerved.
    Bewildered his eyes meet mine and hold them fixedly,
    sensing the incomprehensibility.
    The sky a ceiling with no caesuras like a river
    passing swiftly over.
    Birds sing with a twist when at all.

    Your living being a palpable lack in the world
    when I got out of bed.
    I stood by the door and heard nothing at all,
    tears fell off my cheeks.
    The earth sobbing, trees weeping silently,
    the elements in shock.
    All my thoughts were of you,
    inseparable and atmospheric.
    All I felt was you, white crosswalk stripes
    so white and shining.

    At the stove preparing a cooked meal
    I forgot what I was doing, what to do next,
    my mind a cloud floating back in time.
    Rain dropped on my face, the air calmly pregnant
    as the wake of catastrophe when the ground stops
    shaking, floodwaters recede, tornado goes.
    Things emanated, fluoresced sharply resolute.

    At aboriginal Bald Mountain you permeated
    the scenery, the coarse soil, ringing snow
    mountains, canyon wedge of
    Boulder and plains beyond.
    Your favourite tree, a healing spot,
    great orphan ponderosa pine in dancing posture
    with sweeping gestures on needle carpet,
    knot of eternity perched up on its bark.
    Small deer herd let us waving crackers come closer,
    then bounded away like kangaroos.

    After dark across the alley upstairs neighbour’s
    door looked to be on fire but six foot flames
    leapt from his hibachi.
    By the library park I looked downstream.
    Glowing orange blaze lit the sky
    the direction and distance of home.
    Confusing down for up, near for far:
    Fire an amber streetlight reflected in
    the moving creek cropped at the top by
    black pedestrian bridge a block away.
    Looking back to see how I could be fooled,
    even knowing it was not, still I saw fire first,
    irradiated orange highlight dancing on
    the ripple crests in flames.

    A finch comes to the branch and commiserates.
    Aquarium I am in that is all of phenomena,
    the lucid present now without you.
    Your picture seems to blink when I do,
    your lips seems to move.
    Streets quiet as New Year’s morning,
    limbs underwater heavy.
    I look for signs: rainbows, extraordinary clouds,
    a dream, but losing you is like
    losing mother and father at one stroke.
    Orphans, all.

    Dawa Chöga, Boulder, CO, April 5, 1987

  4. Peter maloff
    Mar 31, 2012

    All my love to the Dorje Dradul and his vision for enlightened society.

  5. Brew the coffee in a bucket
    Double straight man and banjo
    If you don’t got the snake oil
    Buster, you don’t got a show
    Who puts the doh-re-me
    In our pockets
    Keeps the party going on?
    It’s the man
    Who sells the potions
    I’m just one who plays the songs
    Now they generally buys
    The bigger size
    They usually rub it in
    I drank it once, it tasted
    Like grease and paraffin
    It’s mostly alcohol, okay
    You can’t deny it’s strong
    We was going through the motions
    ’til the doctor came along

    There stands the bottle
    Ladies and gentlemen
    All these bottles
    Don’t have to tell you, friends
    These days miracles
    Don’t come falling from the sky
    Raise your glasses to the doctor
    To a stand up guy

    When the monkeyshine is flying
    And he’s promising the cure
    He says the french
    For your lovesick blues
    La maladie d’amour
    He gets the chumps all laughing
    But he gets a few to buy
    Here’s to beefsteak
    When you’re hungry
    And whiskey when you’re dry
    Now the band’ll blow their moolah
    Like sailors gone ashore
    Now we’re going to west Helena
    To gamble, drink and whore
    Let’s you and me
    All make whoopee
    Here’s mud in your eye
    Here’s to all the gals you ever want
    And heaven when you die

    There stands the bottle
    Ladies and gentlemen
    All these bottles
    Don’t have to tell you, friends
    These days miracles
    Don’t come falling from the sky
    Raise your glasses to the doctor
    To a stand up guy

    There’s a big cheese with a cigar
    Been sizing up the show
    He wants to get the doctor
    Pitching on the radio
    I will make a switch to guitar
    But the rules all still apply
    They want to trust somebody
    Yeah, they want a stand up guy

    There stands the bottle
    Here’s to absent friends
    All these bottles
    Dead soldiers in the end
    These days miracles
    Don’t come falling from the sky
    Raise your glasses to the doctor
    To a stand up guy
    To the doctor
    A stand up guy

    Stand Up Guy, Mark Knopfler

  6. Memories of Trungpa Rinpoche

    I was a participant at the 1986 Seminary, the last one that Rinpoche taught. Many, many images are burnt into my memory, and over the years they have gained mythical status, as that experience changed my life forever (as probably everybody knows who gave in to his teaching).
    Rinpoche showed up a lot during that Seminary. He showed up in the dinner tent. He showed up before dinner, when (during study period) people were enjoying sake or beer. He had a beer himself and stood there, lifting his glass and drinking while the beer shone brightly in the evening sun. Such a good demonstration. He showed up at morning oriyoki while we were reciting, which made me cry. I understood he was taming us in such a good way. He gave a lot of talks. He gave the famous after-midnight-talk, when the conch sounded at around two o’clock and he said: “Never forget Hinayana.” He showed up at movie nights. Once, when everybody had just settled down into the video, after five minutes or so, he got up again & and left, helped by his Kasung. He looked at everybody, and to me that seemed to be a demonstration. He seemed to say, “Don’t get attached to pleasure. Be able to drop it any minute.” He showed up in the kitchen during meal prep. I remember one time when I got very uptight just by his presence. It was a shocking self-discovery.
    Later I heard about the crazy stuff he did to his entourage during that time. Some people really freaked out. Apparently he shocked them so much out of any routine, it was frightening. Suddenly he would say, “I want to go to Paris to see Dilgo Khyentse” and stuff like that.
    The one scene that stands out most is one of frustration. He was sitting on a chair in the middle of the meadow between shrine tent and dinner tent and Karma bathhouse. He sat there on his own, and one lady went over to him and talked to him. I watched. I would have liked to go over to him too, but I didn’t dare.
    Over the years, that memory has filled up with intense longing. Which is probably the greatest gift of all – a pure feeling of intense sadness and joy at the same time. I wonder where he is now?

    Michael Schaefer (né Schulz)
    Künga Tharpa Söpa Tepön
    Merdingen, Germany


  7. In 1983, I was auditing poetry classes at Naropa Institute and just starting to take the Shambhala Training program. To help pay for the program, I was allowed to do work study and sat at the reception desk in the International Headquarters of Shambhala Training in Boulder which that year was above a hot tub place west of the Pearl Street mall.

    One day a scruffy looking guy came in and struck up a conversation. He was in his thirties, wearing shabby clothes and missing a few teeth. After a few minutes, he told me he had been to a party the night before and Trungpa was there. I asked him what happened. He said, “I met him. I asked him if he was enlightened.” Suddenly, I was really interested in the conversation. Later, I thought that this is the exact question that the Buddha was asked and which he answered with the famous earth touching mudra — “the earth is my witness.” I asked the scruffy guy what Trungpa Rinpoche said in response. He told me: “Trungpa said: ‘I’m not allowed to say.'”

    I still think that this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.

  8. Sergio DuBois
    Mar 29, 2012

    A poem written by my teacher about Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche


  9. I am now living in Wuhan, China for the next few months teaching English to Chinese high school students. One of them showed me a book he was reading: ‘Buddhism’ was the title. Everyday in the China Daily newspaper,, there is a reference to Buddhist films, photographers, artists, monasteries, etc. Yesterday at a huge shopping mall (and I mean beyond the size of anything in the west) a small shop was entirely Tibetan with a shrine in the back, two lamas, lots of incense burning, thangkas, gorgeous handcrafted jewelry, prayer flags, etc. All much more upscale than anything I have seen in Indian or Nepal. In three weeks I will be visiting the dharma students of CTR in Beijing coordinated by Rob Curtis. What goes around comes back around. While this country has grabbed onto materialism by the throat and horns, it’s history and culture cannot be erased. Rinpoche gave me the bodhisattva name of ‘Chariot of Dharma’ and he would be delighted to know that I am fulfullling this role in the country which made him an exile. I will be presenting to the Beijing students poems that he wrote just prior to receiving the Stroke of Ashe. Number One, unpublished, is an inner secret lungta practice in seven syllables and four lines also presented on the Chronicles interview.

  10. Jesse Luckett
    Mar 23, 2012

    joyful Vajra

    Now shining fully

    Rooted between Earth

    And a fathers Love

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