Thursday, August 17, 2006

Khyentse Rinpoche's Million Dollar Gift to Berkeley

My Life's Defining Moment
Some 40 years ago I was digging around in the basement of the Durant Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and I came upon a collection of Tibetan books. The University had hired an elderly Mongolian lama to catalogue the collection, but his health had failed. The books were in disarray, and for some reason they touched me so profoundly. I wanted so desperately to read them, and that led me to find my teacher---and everything else that followed.

When my teacher came to the United States, one of the first things I did was take him to see those books. This was destiny, do you see?

During the infamous Berkeley Riots, the mob broke into the library and water from fire hoses began pouring in. I smashed the basement windows to gain entry, and began tossing out the books to prevent them from damage. Police came upon the scene and were about to arrest me, but I explained what had happened, so they began to help me. This chance encounter led me into my "other" career.

A few days ago, on August 9th, the reincarnation of my teacher's teacher, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, gave $1,000,000.00 to UC Berkeley to endow a professorship in Tibetan Buddhism. He is seen in the above photograph, examining those books from so many years ago.

The circle is now closed. The business is now done.

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1 reader comments:

Unknown said...

Dear Rinpoche, Upon looking for photographs of your same teacher, who is also mine - I was fortunate to meet him the summer of '76, when I was a member of that summer's HDTP - I stumbled upon your Blog. Every day since I come and take a look. Your site gives me great happiness. Each of your postings is a gift, thank you.

One question that I have is how do I download the Mani?, and other items onto my hard drive? I am a techno dodo, and need instruction. Please, give clueless me a clue.

Love, Elaine