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Time As told by Tulku Karzan Dorje Namo Guru! It has been a long time since my most gracious root teacher, Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche, merged his mortal body into the ultimate sphere. Ever since his passing into nirvana, I have been wandering like a hermit in totally alien countries. I treasured in my heart those precious memories of staying together with and serving my gracious lama and the memories of his presence. Whenever I felt low and helpless, I would resort to them as the everlasting driving force in my life, to help myself overcome all the hard times. I had always been waiting anxiously for the message about the reincarnation of my lama, like a son missing his mother. Last year when I went on a pilgrimage to India and attended the fourteenth Nyingmapa Monlam Chenmo, I finally got the exciting message that Khenpo Münsel's reincarnation had been recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and bestowed with the name Tenzin Gyurme Kunzang. There were quite a few disciples of Münsel Rinpoche in India and all of us spread the news and shared the excitement. Our devoted prayers had finally been answered, and this dharma event had a satisfactory ending. As with the many other disciples of Münsel Rinpoche, I rested my longing and expecting mind at ease. Since then, I have had an aspiration to visit the Tulku of my gracious lama soon. After I got back from India, I started to prepare for the journey back to Golok, Tibet. Even the severe cold and heavy ice and snow of the Tibetan Plateau couldn't deter my fervent and devoted heart. In mid December, I finally stepped back onto my homeland, the pure land and home forever in my mind. Once I was back in Golok, I instantly contacted my tutor, Khenpo Panchen of Tra Ling Monastery, who is also a disciple of the late Khenpo Münsel. Before we went to see the Tulku of our late teacher, we elaborately prepared various kinds of offerings and gifts, including representations of the Buddha's body, speech and mind (a Buddha figure, canonical texts and a stupa), as well as a full set of monastic robes and so on. We decided the time of our visit would be an auspicious day after the New Year's Day of 2004. We had asked someone to deliver a message to the parents of the Tulku, informing them of our visit. But due to the poor transportation and communication in Tibet, we didn't have any confirmation about whether they had received our message or not. Khenpo Panchen and I said quite a few prayers, invoking the blessings of the Three Jewels and wishing all the obstacles pacified and everything made smooth and auspicious. The day approached quickly and as we waited expectantly, all of us became happy and excited. Finally, the day arrived. In the morning, we put on colourful clothing and ornamentation, ready to go. However, due to an unexpected change we didn’t leave until 11am, about 2-3 hours later than planned. This was our first visit to the area, we were unfamiliar with the road and driving
conditions and we had no idea how long it would take us to get there. So I felt a little bit nervous worrying, "What if something were to happen on the way?" and so on. Two jeeps drove the party of us to Da Ri County. When we had just left Gan De County, it began to snow lightly. The land was covered in white, extremely pure and auspicious. From Da Ri County on, the tar road underneath changes into packed gravel. In the freezing winter of Tibet, driving on this packed gravel is safer and more comfortable than on a tar road. Nevertheless, all of us prayed silently in our hearts. It was a little bit windy and dusty outside of the town, but this didn’t cause us any problems. At the palace of Gesar Ling, Khenpo Panchen and several others were waiting to join us. All of us, over ten individuals, all of whom are disciples of the late Khenpo Münsel, continued our journey. Thanks to the blessings of the Three Jewels, the trip was almost smooth. After several hours driving, at around 3pm, we arrived at the local Kangpa Monastery. We asked the monks there for the exact home address of the parents of the Tulku of Münsel Rinpoche. Without any difficulty, we pulled up nearly at their front door. Everyone held a khata and gifts in hand and stepped out of the jeeps. It seemed that the parents had known in advance that some guests would come to visit. I straightened out my clothing and attuned my emotions. While I was wondering what the Tulku of my late, perfect teacher would look like now, Khenpo Panchen’s "Here is the Tulku" awakened me. I fixed my mind and looked carefully. A boy of 8-9 years old was already standing in front of me with two cheeks like red apples, decorous in appearance. He was not very tall, but taller than I had expected. It’s really inconceivable that the old and grey-haired gracious teacher Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche has now reincarnated as an active young boy. How marvellous is the illusory display of samsara! After we exchanged khatas and greetings with the parents of the Tulku, we got seated. The father of the Tulku is a goyi. He had been invited to say prayers by some nearby villagers but didn’t go since he got the message that some guests might be coming. The father looked like a very simple and sincere man. He didn’t regard the Tulku as someone extraordinary, but just looked after and educated him as an ordinary kid. Therefore, although he received us as VIP guests with bountiful food and warm milk tea, he didn’t set a seat for his son, the young Tulku. At the request of Khenpo Panchen and me, he placed a wooden chair in front of me, covered with a woollen carpet, making it a temporary throne. We chatted with the young Tulku for a while, enquiring about his studies. When I held his tiny hand a moving excitement spontaneously arouse in me, free from expression. How wonderful are the karmic connections between him and me! The photographer who came together with us was busy taking pictures, afraid of missing any of the historic moments. Then we invited Tulku Tenzin Gyurme Kunzang to be enthroned and offered him the auspicious khatas and offerings. Khenpo Panchen and I said some short offering and supplication prayers. At that moment, sitting up straight on the throne, he stared into the sky, as if he was already beyond all these routines and rituals. How familiar to me was that posture and glance! This was the very stance that occupied the whole space of my heart and soul. This is an omniscient and powerful glance that can penetrate your mind, leaving your thoughts nowhere to hide. This is also a glance filled with compassion, which can melt your entire ego. The glance of the young Tulku aroused inside me past memories, leading me to pass
through a time tunnel. I felt so touched and moved that I couldn’t recover for a while. This reminded me of a scene in Looking for Shangri-La, the Legend of the Karmapa, in which Mr. Chen Lu’an said of the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, "He's just like a man hundreds of years old sitting in the body of a young kid." I thought this could also be applied to the case of the Tulku of Khenpo Münsel. When all the rituals were completed, we requested to the young Tulku humbly, "Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche, our gracious teacher and your previous incarnation, was both a great khenpo learned in the tripitakas and a dzogchen yogi who had completed the four visions of thögal. So, we wish you to be just like your previous incarnation, become a master of both learning and accomplishment, turn the nine-spoked wheel of Dharma and benefit all sentient beings." Then we chatted with the parents of the Tulku for a while. They knew that I came from overseas to visit the Tulku of my teacher, and felt very grateful and moved. To my great surprise and honour, the young Tulku asked me to give a name to his little baby sister, which reminded me of the kindness and grace my late teacher had shown to me when I was his personal attendant in his last several years. At that very moment, his baby sister who was sleeping in the next room woke up crying, as if she had sensed what was going on. Young Tulku Tenzin asked me to hold his baby sister and to amuse her so that she would stop crying, at which everybody laughed out loud. The parents of the Tulku prepared for us quite a few exquisite gifts including some Tibetan tapestries. Khenpo Panchen and I expressed our gratitude but didn’t accept their gifts, since it is against traditional customs and etiquette to receive gifts from the parents while visiting the Tulku of one's late teacher. At the insistence of the young Tulku, each of the other members of our party received very generous gifts - truly holy gifts for them. My mother was especially thankful, and she will cherish these gifts from her lama and Buddha forever. Coming out from Tulku Tenzin’s home, on our way back, each of us expressed his/her own feelings. We all felt as if we were back with our late master Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche. I also expressed my sincere gratitude to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. After being separated for such a long time and distance, we were able to meet each other. Isn’t that a miracle of samsara as well as of causes and conditions? The trip to see the Tulku of my late teacher was a precious spiritual journey and a complete soul baptism for me. For someone who is so lacking in pure vision and full of discriminative thoughts like me, it is extremely difficult to see a lovely and active young kid as equivalent to my late master Khenpo Münsel, who was more than 50 years older than me. But the experiences and feelings I had during my visit to the Tulku cleared up all my doubts and questions. I have no other choice but to believe this is the reincarnation of my teacher. At the same time, I am deeply attracted to the young Tulku, just because of what he is. I am pretty sure that he is the refuge of my life and the destination of my heart and soul. I have no doubt that my life will become more meaningful and wonderful because of him. I have been wandering in this endless samsara up till now. Although I have had the opportunity to visit a few countries and regions in this noisy and annoying world, it’s really hard to find a cool and pleasant place where I can find some rest for my mind. Ever since my meeting with the young Tulku, I have rediscovered peace and joy, just like that which I experienced while staying with Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche.
Probably we have established some deep karmic connections during some period of samsara. Only when I am with my spiritual teacher will my life become meaningful, otherwise how trivial and insignificant will it be! I pray from the bottom of my heart that even if I were to become a tiny piece of dust some day, I would still like to lie beneath the lotus feet of my gracious lama! How lucky it is for me to find a forever resting space for my mind! Although the above is not any profound experience of the practice of the generation or perfection stages, it is my most earnest and authentic feelings and emotions. It is my sincere wish to share this joy with all my dharma friends. May my gracious teacher and all authentic qualified masters stay healthy, live long and turn the Wheel of Dharma! Sarva Mangalam!
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