I was up in Frederick at the Tibetan Meditation Center a week or so ago for some teachings by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche on a text called the ‘Five-fold Path of Mahamudra’, which is one of the defining teachings of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. (FYI – according to Dr. Sam, one of Khenchen Rinpoche’s disciples going way back, His Holiness the Dalai Lama taught on this text a few years ago). I am still digesting all I heard and getting my notes in order. My plan is to post them section by section, as I get edits finished.
I got to hang out with some of the younger sangha members while I was up there, when we went into town on a quest for a hamburger. (I don’t do beef, having grown up next to a dairy farm and played amongst cows when I was younger. But, since TMC was only serving vegetarian food, some people needed some animal protein for their health.) One of these was my old dharma friend Cindy Churchward’s son, Jack, who I haven’t had much time to goof around with before. He’s also known as Tradak Tulku Rinpoche, but more often is called ‘Tulku Jack’ or ‘TJ’. Jack’s in the (to me, at least) unenviable position of being a rebirth of a past master, recognized by one of the co-heads of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. At the risk of being controversial, Western tulkus don’t have a very good track record so far, due to many potential cultural and personal pitfalls that have damaged their ability to live up to their Jedi-like destiny. So Jack has a lot of pressure on him. Fortunately, he doesn’t have what I see as the greatest torpedo in the boat called dharma to the other shore: arrogance. If all goes well, he’ll be one of the future teachers to watch, as he goes further with his training.
Speaking of ‘teachers to watch’, I need to mention how fantastic Khenpo Tsultrim Tendzin is now after about 10 years years in the U.S. I was only able to catch one afternoon of him teaching at the TMC spring retreat recently concluded on a text by Gampopa called “Precious Garland of the Sublime Path.” Where Khenchen Rinpoche talks in a verrrryyyy calm, soothing tone, Khenpo TT speaks in a much more intense fashion. He’s also been filling in a lot of details in his teachings that Khenchen Rinpoche simply couldn’t talk about earlier as he was laying the foundations. I hope to have Khenpo TT’s notes up soon as well.
Finally, I need to mention walking up the drive to the temple and seeing Khenmo Trinlay walking out of her retreat hut where she was staying and flashing me the “Spock mudra” – also known as the Vulcan hand symbol. Just a little bit of goofiness. 🙂