H. H. Kyabje Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche

One year ago the revered Tibetan Buddhist Master Teacher, H. H. Kyabje Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche, passed away on January 5, 2016.

Thomas Merton referred to him as the greatest man he had ever met. In his most movingly glowing homage Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse spoke about the accomplishments of so many others, and yet how “… [They] have achieved next to nothing compared to this man who appears never to have done anything except for keeping his meditation mat from ever getting cold.”

I am contemplating how in a world where such things as doing demonstrably great things, garnering incredible wealth, doing wonderful works of charity, loudly decrying the atrocities being perpetrated, earnestly going about making the world a better place, making that significant difference … that these values go without saying, unquestioned and unexamined, and … how all that stacks up to the kind of greatness which is merely to “… keep[ing] his meditation mat from ever getting cold”.

One wonders whether, on the passing of such a man, the platitude “He’s in a better place” is applicable, or even comprehensible. Or, whether to use the shibboleth “RIP” … should it not be considered woefully inappropriate?

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