His Holiness Intervenes
This is the 13th in a series of reminiscenThis is the 13th in a series of reminiscences by Ven. Lama Lodu RinpocheFFinally His Holiness, the 16th Karmapa, and his entourage arrived in Copenagen, amid a flurry of activities, teachings, and initiations that were attended by many thousands of people. I had been eagerly awaiting his arrival for months and now, at last, I was again among people who spoke my language and I could again enjoy the tastes, smells and sounds of my own culture. My spirits were lifted and all the loneliness and sickness of heart I had been feeling for so long vanished.For months I had been anxious about my situation in Copenhagen where I had been sent to teach the Dharma to a group of Danish students. My hosts, a young Danish couple, had kept me isolated from the students and I was not able to present teachings or even attend the scheduled meetings and practice sessions. Although I was living with material luxury I had never before known, I was unhappy about not being able to do the job I had been sent there to do. I learned quite by accident that, without telling me, that the young couple were giving highly esoteric teachings and initiations that required a great deal of formal preparation and study. I was concerned they were preaching ideas they were not living, and worried because they had so little experience and did not seem to understand the profound tradition they were attempting to teach. In the hands of inexperienced people, the most powerful and beneficial medicine can act as poison and I feared that the members of this sangha, so new to Buddhism, were being misled and the lineage misrepresented. I was so happy in His Holiness's presence, but I knew that once the Karmapa's visit was over I would be back in the same intolerable situation; I decided I must see His Holiness and explain my plight. I planned to ask him either to send me to another city or to allow me to return to India. (It was the latter I wanted most.) I gathered my courage and several times got as far as His Holiness's door, but before reaching the threshold, my courage would leave me and I would turn back.
Among the entourage, and serving as His Holiness's translator, was an older British woman whom everyone called Mrs. Betty. She had gone to India many years before, married an Indian man and eventually met His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Karmapa. I had met her previously at Sonada, and as she had been very kind to me then, I had the idea of explaining my situation to her. Maybe she could advise me or talk to His Holiness on my behalf. When I described what had been happening, she understood at once and promised to convey the information to His Holiness.
Next thing I knew, the Karmapa called the whole sangha together, including the young couple, and addressed them all very seriously about the many levels of Dharma and the many factors that affect individuals' ability to give and receive teachings. He told the group that he had sent me there to represent him in all Dharma matters and that it was through me that the teachings were to be given. He said I would consult with him alone on how to best sow the seeds of Dharma in this new field. Needless to say, attitudes toward me changed very quickly! Suddenly everyone was saying how much they hoped I was happy and would stay a long time in Copenhagen.ly after this talk, His Holiness called me in to see him and asked me to tell him in my own words the details of what had happened. After I did, he burst out laughing. “Here you are living in the lap of luxury and completely miserable! I guess there's something in your karma that makes you undeserving.” Now I too could see the comedy of my situation but I begged him anyway to let me return to India. I said I was sure I could be of more use living the monastic life at Sonada or Rumtek than I could be here.
He said it was very hard to get visas for lamas to go to the West, and it had been a difficult task to get me here. Now that I was here, he was not interested in sending me home. I asked if he would at least consider sending me to another city. His reply was to invite me to come and travel with him and his entourage for the next month or so until his teachings in Europe were finished. “Then we'll decide,” he said.
I was happy to leave my fate in his hands.
The series will continue in future newsletters...
Lama Lodu Rinpoche's Autobiographyp>