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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Anecdote 1998: Moments with Chatrul Rinpoche

One fine day, an old compassionate friend and I decided to visit and seek blessings from Chatrul Rinpoche. It was not easy to do so since rinpoche was in Helambu, Northern Nepal much of the time. Seldom was he in the monastery in Farping, half an hour drive from Kathmandu. And he rarely saw visitors. Mainly because he was very old, in his eighties. He didn't like visitors flocking around either. The revered Dzogchen Master who spent most of his life meditating in retreats in the Himalayas always preferred to stay out of limelight.We, not knowing in advance whether rinpoche had come down to Farping from Helambu retreat, proceededwith our intention of meeting him. In half an hour, we reached the monastery in Farping. There, we were politely told to sit down on the exterior that had painted benches with comfortable seats. Looking down to Shesh Narayana (temple of Lord Vishnu), we relaxed for a while. People had come in groups and families carrying khatas and other offerings. Small children were playing around. We asked an attendant whether we could see rinpoche, expecting the person to tell us that he was in Helambu. To our astonishment and good luck, he told us that rinpoche was at home in Thasi Village, just above Dakshin Kali (Kali of the South) , fifteen minutes walk. We promptly left the monastery and walked towards Thasi.

At Thasi Village in rinpoche's house, a lad asked us about the purpose of our visit. A few others were studying scriptures. They offered us water, oranges and khatas too as we realized we had forgotten to bring them. In a few minutes, we were taken to the room upstairs. Rinpoche was sitting along with a few disciples. We prostrated, offered khatas and sat near him.

I started observing the master. Friends had told me that he had a presence of a lion. That was evident even at his old age. I also noticed frost bites on his hands and face. He probably got them in the snows of Himalayas during retreats.

We started talking about here and there. He talked in Nepali with a strong Tibetan accent. Then all of a sudden, out of the blue, he said, "You wont get it by searching. Have Bhakti (Devotion). Do Guru Yoga."

Few sentences are so resonant for me now.

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