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Apr 02
VCTR Tributes
Precious Life Passages

Vidyadhara at Karme Choling, photo from elephant journal

from Vicki Giella

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, 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 Los Angeles. 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, aged 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.

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1 response to “ Precious Life Passages ”
  1. Jan Watson
    Apr 3, 2012

    Hi Vicki,
    What a wonderful series of auspicious coincidences!
    We are so fortunate.

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