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The following article is from the Spring, 1996 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

TULKU URGYEN RINPOCHE
(1920-1996)

by Lama Sherab Dorje

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Oh Precious Teacher,

with you has gone the best part of me

but with me remains the crystalline memory of you.

Standing on a February subway platform, in New York City

at midnight, seeing your face everywhere, eyes open or closed, father and child met wordlessly

one final time in this life, sharing a moment empty of words, but utterly full.

You delighted in simplicity and taught, in a perfectly simple manner, all who met you

jews, muslims, grandmothers, children, hindus, psychos, believers and lost souls

that everything is simply perfect, and eased the pained minds of all in your presence.

You delighted in your uninterrupted retreat into noncomplexity,

eating of a single bowl, licking the flavors with relish,

as all about you wondered at your fearless appetite.

Your teachings are self-secret, nothing to tell, nothing to hide;

you fabricated nothing, saw all from the vantage point of perfection.

Your Heart held so many in its compassionate embrace, till finally it burst from love

and bestowed upon us endless showers of blessing.

In an age when many lamas guard high names and titles, and squabble over estates and the fruits of others' devotions,

you wrapped yourself day and night in a single blanket, shared with fleas.

In bad times, when teachers, like little gods of wealth, build monuments to their own egos

and treat monastic ordination like marriage vows sworn between jealous lovers,

you openly displayed your mastery of the three levels of ordination, living like a monk, treating

all with unfeigned kindness, and delighting in the mysteries of union,

opening the doorways for many exalted beings to return and dwell among us.

Oh teacher, your brilliance of spirit overwhelms any shadow of doubt,

enabling those like me, weak in spirit, to never wander from your blessing

or conceive of you as an ordinary sentient being, for even a moment, not ever.

Thank you for taking time, again and again, over 15 years, to show me how I truly am.

Thank you for remaining so long, through all my years in retreat, when my confidence remained

weak and so fulfilling my tearful longing to see your face yet again in this life.

Thank you for restoring the traditions of Great Practice, so that we could all participate in the display of your outer and inner mandalas.

Thank you for turning this proud and bitter soul onto the path of training, the path of juncture, the path of uncontrived vision in the light of your blessing.

Urgyen Tsewang Chogdrup, great grandson of the Treasure Revealer himself, sole source of

refuge, gracious Guru whom I love, without whom all would have been meaningless and futile,

empty and not radiantyou gave me refuge,

and still I remain sheltered in the protection of your wisdom mind.

You are truly Guru Rinpoche! I wonder what bug I was in a previous life

that sipped water from your footprint, left behind, somewhere,

in a muddy place holy for your having trod over it.

Thank you for coming to this world again and again,

for reestablishing your Seat on the face of the Copper Coloured Mountain at the Place of Delightful Appearance,

for building fortresses of dharma, such as the Center of Study and Practice,

for remaining long enough to see so many among your brother and sister

emanations and bodhisattvas leave and yet return once more.

Thank you for offering us so many early indicatioas of your departure

so that we could remember what never stays and what never goes, and prepare ourselves.

Thank you for offering experiences that will remain like little lamps in my heart even after my life is extinguished, to light my way into your eternal presence yet again.

What a vibrant mixture of agonizing grief and utter joy I feel now!

Oh Holy Guru, grant your blessings, grant your blessings!

Keep us on the path, show us the way, show us your stern face to keep us humble,

show us your playful face to dispel our tight attachment to confusion.

Keep your Thought directed upon all the lineage holders and the lineages,

so they do not forget to separate truth from falsehood,

so that they keep your uncontrived and uncorrupt teachings alive.

Many grieve your passing from this world now. Hear their cries!

Reassure them now as you always have!

Let everything we do from now until enlightenment be our expression of thanks to you, for

nothing less could repay your kindnesses!

Composed on the First Day of the Fire Mouse year.

Ed. Note: For more on the life, lineage and teachings of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, see such works in English as Rainbow Paintings, Repeating the Words of the Buddha, Advice from the Lotus-Born, and others. ä_æ

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