In early October an eminent Tibetan Buddhist master in the Nyingma lineage, His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, honored Seattle with his presence after an absence of nearly a decade.
Rinpoche accepted an invitation from Chagdud Gonpa Amrita’s resident teacher Lama Padma Gyatso to give empowerments and teachings. Namkha Drimed Rinpoche is a terton who has revealed many volumes of hidden teachings, making him unique among spiritual teachers. His Ripa family lineage stretches back more than 19 generations. His terma of the complete cycle of Gesar of Ling (the enlightened warrior-king of Tibet) is replete with Rinpoche’s vast wisdom and knowledge and the practice is held in great esteem. The opportunity to receive this empowerment together with Rinpoche’s own terma of Yeshe Tosgyal was truly a fortunate experience.
This visit attracted several different sanghas. It was heartening to see both Chagdud Gonpa Amrita and Seattle Shambhala collaborating to assemble the empowerment space, including magnificent offerings of flower arrangements. In 2006 His Eminence’s daughter, Semo Tseyang Palmo Ripa, married Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the head of Shambhala International. Rinpoche’s own recounting of the spiritual lineage of Gesar showed an extensive and elaborate history over many hundreds of years of such intertwining of dharma activity and sangha. This was a wonderful reminder of auspicious coincidence and connections that flourish over time to bring the Buddhadharma to diverse groups.
On Tuesday and Wednesday morning, October 2 and 3, Rinpoche gave nature of mind teachings based on Garab Dorje’s famous “three points.” Garab Dorje is considered the first human teacher of the Dzogchen tradition. The audience was rapt as Rinpoche shared a view that was so clearly from his own experience. He quietly directed the teachings in Tibetan toward the translator at his side, almost as if his own presence was incidental, then sat silently as they were translated into English.
In the afternoons, Rinpoche went on walks with his daughter and others. These excursions offered delightful moments, with His Eminence displaying immense curiosity and interest in his surroundings while somehow never becoming lost in them. Visiting Lake Washington at Seattle’s Magnuson Park, he watched sailboarders and kiteboarders, monumental in his stability, the corners of his eyes sparkling with a steady smile. Speaking rarely unless responding to a question or a request, Rinpoche seemed completely rooted in every moment, doing his mantra constantly, always present and always kind.
Contributors: Caterina De Re, Steve & Ellen Wilhelm.
Photos: Courtesy of Caterina De Re.