Today, 10 March 2013, is the 5th anniversary of the parinirvana of His Holiness Penam Rinpoche (full name Ngagwang Pedma Namgyal Palzangpo). As I write this note I reflect on the kindness this great lama has shown to me. In a very literal sense it was Penam Rinpoche that led me to the Buddhadharma. I have wrote a bit about this in a previous entry so I will not repeat all the details here except to say that without his influence I may never have come to embrace the Dharma in this life.
I have been a spiritual seeker for most of my life, beginning at an early age. At various times over the years I have experimented with and participated in a vast array of spiritual paths (from both Eastern and Western traditions). At times I have even served as a facilitator and organizer for different spiritual communities. I have learned many things from these experiences. I have met many wonderful people who have shared wisdom, healing and fellowship. I have also seen how some of the teachings and methods that I once upheld, that I had confidence in, that I identified with did not, for me, stand the test of time. Those I have let go. I still feel there is some value within many of the traditions I have studied and practiced and I do not regret any of the steps I have taken on my journey. There were lessons to be learned along the way. There are some other communities I am still connected to in one way or another. I still see value in them. I still participate and offer some of my time and attention to. Yet when I review my past and consider the various traditions and paths I have explored, and consider where my focus is now, I see that I have been honing in on what really speaks to me, where I see actual results, transformation, the gradual yet persistent taming of my body, speech and mind, the slow but steady cultivation of compassion towards myself and all other beings, the wisdom that shows the true nature of reality. It has been a long and wondrous journey and it still continues.
Now I find myself sitting at the feet of those precious teachers Penam Rinpoche sent me to. I am thankful for this opportunity. I try to cultivate the qualities of a good student. I try to let the transmission and blessings of the lineage flow into me without obstructions. I try to put into practice what I am am taught. I know no better way to honor my teachers than to practice what they have taught me and to remain open and humble so that I might continue to learn. This connection is a gift Penam Rinpoche offered me.
Today as I reflect upon Rinpoche’s parinirvana, I rejoice that he has arisen in this world, that he has taught the Dharma and that he has benefited countless beings. I light a candle in his honor symbolizing the flames of enlightenment which emanate from him even now, and I ardently pray for his swift return.
In life after life may I never be separated from unerring teachers.