Saturday, August 19, 2006

H.E. Kalu Rinpoche
This photograph is loved by thousands of people all over the world, as it captures Rinpoche's inherent gentleness. This photograph is personally meaningful for me, because I was directly in front of him when it was taken. A few moments prior, I was the "test," sitting in the chair for a portrait so the photographer could arrange the lighting. When this was complete, Rinpoche sat down. The session was at a private residence in San Gabriel Valley, in the library room.
This was Kalu Rinpoche's last visit to America. He returned to Asia not long after this photograph was taken, and thereafter passed away. What I remember lately is our last private meeting. Wordlessly, he handed me two images of the peaceful and wrathful Bardo dieties, respectively, and I instantly understood what he wished to communicate. Afterward, we drove from Southern California to San Francisco because he wanted to pray for all the beings from south to north. He enjoyed California very much and this was his way of saying goodbye.
My Root Lama, who is Nyingmapa, first suggested that I seek out Kalu Rinpoche and make his acquaintance. I am so thankful for this. Because of this I had the indescribably rare opportunity to be in the company of a living saint. The term "living Buddha" is tossed around a great deal and usually doesn't carry much weight. Kalu Rinpoche was a Living Buddha in every conceivable way.

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