I learned that Pema Wangyal passed away.
I once commissioned him to paint two tangkhas: Longchenpa and Jigme Lingpa. I still have the Longchenpa tangkha hanging at the head of my bed. The one of Jigme Lingpa was lent to a student who now refuses to give it back.
Once upon a time, Pema was staying in San Francisco and we decided to have lunch together. When we finished, he sat down to paint and I sat idly by, picking my teeth and playing with the pots of colours. We were chatting about women---Pema had a string of blondes, and they were all becoming jealous of each other. He wanted me to intercede to keep the peace. Without thinking, I dipped my fingers into the blue and put my fingers on the wet toothpick, which I then placed in my mouth.
That was enough to stop my breathing.
One of the lamas came rushing into the room when he heard me choking, and Pema shouting that I had poisoned myself with the blue---cyanide---paint. The lama smacked me over the heart with his thumb and forced one of H.H. Karmapa's Precious Pills down my throat. Thereafter, with his fingers on my pulse, he asked me, "How do you feel?" I replied: "I don't care how I feel."
That is how effective the Precious Pills are.
I got the above photograph from Mike Dunham's blog. I hope the photographer will not mind if I include it here with this memory of my friend.