On the Road to Enlightenment

Don't we all have those moments when we realize there is a thread to life? This is about a memorable set of interconnected moments which over many years have deeply resonated with me. 

In 1979, when I was first going for sessions at the New York Center for Rolfing on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I often thumbed through a small book in the waiting area there. As I recall it had something to do with Tibetan Buddhism; in particular, the Buddhist shrines called Stupas. At the very end of that book was a picture of a monk, impeccably dressed and standing near a Stupa, with a grand vista surrounding it. Clearly, he was offering blessings.



Years later, in 1994 in Boulder, Colorado I reconnected with him again in the book honoring his passing in 1989: Homage to Khyab Je Kalu Rinpoche. The cover photo says everything about this great being. Such great love and compassion. 



Inside is written: "Khyab Je Kalu Rinpoche was one of the greatest Buddhist saints of this age, known and highly respected by the heads of all major and minor tantric schools in Tibet. His Holiness Karmapa once said that Kalu Rinpoche was an incarnation of Milarepa, a 12th century yogin who is perhaps the most famous and most admired of all Tibetan saints. Everyone who met Kalu Rinpoche, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, were profoundly impressed. His respect for all religious traditions and his love for all living things was expressed in every action, word and gesture. Here was a being who radiated concern and compassion without judgment, and impartial love for everyone, while having transcended all worldly concerns."

I purchased that book at a store called Ziji, in downtown Boulder. (The store is gone, but Ziji continues online.) I have to also mention, on their bathroom wall was posted some graffiti, which I also took away (to take to heart):


By the way, Woody Harelson at the recent 2014 Emmy Awards show related this advice on problem solving: "I just forget about it." Perhaps too concise and direct for the self-absorbed audience of show biz types; but, pretty much in line with Mr. Tilopa, don't you think. Just to ponder, where would we be if all those smart and well-intentioned folks gave it a rest for a while on trying to make the world a better place? Mr. Lennon? "Let it be." Yes. Thank you, again.

Further down the road on that trip we stopped by the Kagyu Shenpen Kunchab Buddhist Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They also have a Stupa, and they were kind enough to let us enter for some meditation time. 


There was also a small bookstore, and to our great and happy surprise, we discovered a photo of the young reincarnation of Kalu Rinpoche. He was born on September 17, 1990. 


A year or so later we met him in person in Tucson, Arizona where he was presiding at a refuge ceremony. He cut off some of our hair during the ritual.


Well, time has passed and we watch our Kalu Rinpoche growing and thriving in his role. This year will mark his 24th birthday. Below is also a recent video.