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Brief Encounters

Brief Encounters

We Can Run!

Karme Choling, 1978. We were all excited that Rinpoche was coming to give a teaching program. I was 22 years old. I’d been on the staff at KCL for...

Like a Foreign country

He called a meeting of his senior students from the Bay Area and told us that things were going to get worse in this country, that we may feel comfortable, but that our comfort was like honey on a razor blade. He said there would be economic problems and earthquakes, that the weather would become more extreme because the dralas would not be protecting the situation, and that it would be harder and harder to practice genuine dharma because of the level of aggression in the country.

A Kiss Is But A Kiss

In the summer of 1975 I went to Karme Chöling in Vermont for a seminar with Trungpa Rinpoche on “Meditation and Prayer in the Buddhadharma.” Someone suggested that I...

An Oryoki Moment

It seems that Rinpoche wanted to know who the young lady was who knew all the chants by heart and ate so beautifully.

The Do-Gooders

I lived at Tail of the Tiger from November 1971 until the spring of 1972 when Rinpoche asked me, along with Ken and Helen Green and their small son Mithra,...

Lying To My Guru

"Did you understand anything?"

Birthmark

One day in the early 70s Rinpoche was sitting at his desk, and I pointed to his birthmark. He had a soft brown birthmark on his left forearm. I said something clueless like, “Is that a birthmark?”

Banana Leaves, Butlers, and a Miracle on Mapleton Avenue

The household was a whirlwind of activity, packed at all hours of the day and night with family, guests, Kasung, and household staff. It was chaos wrapped in a pervasive atmosphere of precision, joy and humor ...

In the Kitchen at BPB

In 1981 or 82, when I was living at Karmȇ-Chöling in the position of head cook, I still couldn't figure out whether I was connected enough to Rinpoche to...

Dennis Southward: Looking in the same direction

Dennis Southward talks about his time in prison in the 1960s for turning in his draft card, and soon thereafter, connecting with Trungpa Rinpoche.

The Big Thud

I'm unsure what year this was, probably the late summer or early fall of 1986, but it was the last time Rinpoche was to be in the States, and...

Chogyam Trungpa in Mousehole

Chogyam Trungpa in Mousehole The west Cornish potter and teacher Bill Picard, died aged 92 in 2007. He was a cultured and charismatic buddhist. In the early 1960s, having been...

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche Retreat in Massachusetts

Between 20,000 and 75,000 years ago, the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered what is now eastern Massachusetts in thousands of feet of ice and carved hills that remain today. In...

Nothing Else

Sometime in the early 80's, I was helping Trungpa Rinpoche with names for the Vajrayogini abhisheka. I think it was my first time doing that, so it was likely...

It Was the Memory of His Kindness

I read something recently that recalled the evening I heard Chögyam Trungpa speak in Toronto in the autumn of 1971. My memories of that evening come back to me...

Climbing a Staircase

During the Vidyadhara's last visit to England in 1986 I served many times as a kasung around Rinpoche's activities. As a long time city resident and car owner I...

Please Give Me Space

I'd like to share my story of a personal teaching that the Vidyadhara gave to me in the early 1970s. Its import has grown for me over these many...

Road Trip to Crestone

BOULDER, early summer afternoon, 1982 - The reception for the Vajradhatu and Nalanda staff in the back garden of Kalapa Court is a familiar scene: uniformed servers offer heavy...

As a Parent, All You Can Do Is…

In 1975 I brought my son Ben to an interview with Trungpa Rinpoche. I got him as dressed up as I could manage from Berkeley CA's pathetic department-store...
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A Tour of Biddulph Old Hall

Rigdzin Shikpo takes us on a tour of Biddulph Old Hall in Staffordshire, England. Biddulph Old Hall is the site of some of Trungpa Rinpoche's early teachings in the...

Chogyam Trungpa: The Early Years

The Early Years in Colorado This is an account of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's early years in Colorado. It is based on interviews with people who were involved with his initial...

A Conversation with Trungpa Rinpoche About Three Spiritual Icons of the Early 20th Century

I was a student in the Gurdjieff* work in San Francisco and London in the early 1960's. During that time I also attended a number of Krishnamurti** talks in...

Compliments to the chef

In 1986 at the Vajradhatu Seminary, I signed on as the breakfast cook at Amakulo, the building used primarily as a family center. One day, the dinner cook became...

A Half Hour in His Company

I was not part of Naropa in Boulder, but one day I smoked a cigarette on a bench next to Boulder Creek with Trungpa Rinpoche. I knew who he...

A Penny for Your Thoughts

During the 1984 Kalapa Assembly in Bedford Springs, the Vidyadhara requested that I visit with him. At one point during the visit there was a long silence. I asked...

Planting Terma on Mount Tamalpais

One day in the early 1970s, Trungpa Rinpoche decided to bury treasures on Mount Tamalpais. Here is Sam Bercholz's account of that expedition.

At Suzuki Roshi’s Funeral

In this seven minute audio clip, Sam Bercholz describes the events surrounding Roshi's funeral, including Rinpoche's comments about appointing a dharma heir, and ...

Trungpa Rinpoche’s Connection with Alan Watts

Here is Sam's account of Trungpa Rinpoche's friendship with Alan Watts.

First Drive / First Passenger

Unlike most young men of my generation I was not particularly focused on getting my driver's license when I turned 16. Just by chance and lack of money for...

Laughter and Relief

At the 1981 Seminary at Lake Louise, as the physician I was called to see Rinpoche one morning. The staff were alarmed because he had vomited several times. As...

On Rinpoche and Roshi

In this episode, Henry Schaeffer and Sam Bercholz cover a lot of ground in 18 minutes, including Rinpoche throwing his mala over a fence in Oakland, Roshi blessing ...

Never Give Up

In this episode, Jim talks about kasungship, the origins of Sun Camp, and the Vidyadhara's instructions to never give up.

No Man’s Land

In No Man's Land, Robert Merchasin talks about an extraordinary day in September 1971, and reflects on the lasting impact the events of that day have had on his life.

Hare Krishna

Rinpoche was teaching a college course at C.U. (University of Colorado Boulder) that had been arranged by Brian Grimes. This was probably fall semester 1971. After class one evening...

Burn Self Deception

Burn Self Deception is Jim Lowrey's account of the day Trungpa Rinpoche got the Pygmies, and other community members, to stop smoking marijuana.

My First Buddhist Event

I was dating a girl in western Massachusetts. She was a practicing Buddhist. She invited me to go to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's funeral in Vermont. Being a person versed...

The Day I Shook Hands with my Guru

Note: This story takes place in Boston in March of 1982. The talk mentioned is the same one that was videotaped and titled "Creating Enlightened Society." It was a beautiful...

The Mala

At the 1973 Seminary in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Rinpoche had to fly out to California for a few days for the release of "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism." Since the...

The Apple Stem

This story takes place at Karme Choling meditation center in Vermont around 1982. There were two of us working in the graphic design department. I was the assistant. We...

More interesting…

At the 1983 Seminary at Bedford Springs, I took a class in Ikebana. While it was very enjoyable, my work wasn't much to look at, and one day I...

Called on the Carpet

As the maintenance man at Naropa Institute in the summer of 1980 I shared the job with work-study partner Harold Turner of setting up and taking down for the...

What Space?

We did not have a place to house CTR for the 1974 ITS (Intensive Training Seminar). Peter Hull and I looked around and found a brown trailer in...

A Message

One day in the sitting room of the Kalapa Court on Mapleton Avenue, around 1977-78, I was attending Rinpoche as a Black Guard. He asked me to take a...

Turn it yourself

It was one of the early Level Fives and there were a huge number of participants, mostly from the buddhist community, but there were a lot of new people...

Lunch is served

I was on staff as a cook in the Vidyadhara's household in Los Angeles in 1979. It was a joint ITS (Intensive Training Seminar) and ATS (Advanced Training Seminar)...

At Waterways Duck Farm

Trungpa stayed with a spiritualist healer called Robert Copley on his duck farm in ST Ives Huntingdon, U.K. in, or around 1962, where I met him. He described his...

It’s Much More Interesting Than That

During the 1985 Seminary at RMDC, now Shambhala Mountain Center, the Vidyadhara was hosting a number of guests at Prajna for cocktails, followed by a dinner. I was on...

Two Moments

I met Rinpoche in person only twice, both in the mid-1980's in Berkeley. Once I waited in a reception line to meet him. When I finally came to the...

No Place To Go

Setting: Karme Chöling 1972 Trungpa Rinpoche and I are sitting side by side. There's a long period of silence. Out of the blue, he looks over at me and says:...

When Gerald Red Elk Met Chögyam Trungpa

After I made the introductions, Gerald Red Elk presented some gifts to Chögyam Trungpa, who was seated. He unfolded some gems: a turquoise stone, which he said represented the nature of the universe; a red stone, which he said represented the nature of the gods; a green stone, representing earth; and a purple stone, representing medicine.

The Architect

I had just finished an interview with Rinpoche, and started to get up to leave...he said "You can stay.....if you want." I sat back down and in was led...

Every Lifetime

I had not seen the Vidyadhara in a while. It was probably 1975 or 1976... and when he was visiting NY I had an interview with him. Among other...

First Teaching

It was around 1975 or 1976 and I was a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara. I had been very interested in Buddhism since my early...

At a Campfire

At a campfire with the participants of the 1981 Magyal Pomra Encampment VCTR said "Things are familiar and strange." I said I understood the familiar part, but why strange...
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Richard Arthure on Meeting Chogyam Trungpa

Richard Arthure on meeting Chogyam Trungpa. Video by Bill Scheffel.

Your Guess is as Good as Mine

I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Trungpa give a lecture in Chicago in the 1970's. I don't remember the exact year. I was accompanied by a friend, Terry...

The Usual

During 1985 and 1986 I attended Rinpoche weekly. Upon entering his room, there was often a vast sense of space. This particular day, not unlike other days, he wanted...

A Dowsing Lesson

I think it was in 1975 that I walked with the Vidyadhara as he dowsed the land at Karme Choling to find a source of water. The local well...

Scattered Pearls

Early 1980's: There was an outdoor patio party at the Kalapa Court in Boulder, for the Court staff. I attended, as I was on the kitchen service staff. I...

The Kiss and the Pimple

In 1981, even though we were not tantrikas yet, the Vidyadhara invited some members of the Nalanda Translation Committee French Section, which was established in Montreal three years before,...

You Knocked Over the Musician!

The 16th Karmapa's second visit to the San Francisco Bay Area occurred during the Chinese and (that year) Tibetan new year's celebrations. On the big day the Karmapa hosted...

Kasung Log: Bringing Them Around

In the late 1970s the Vidyadhara was making fairly frequent visits to Boston Dharmadhatu. Energy was sparking and new people were popping up almost daily. One of these was a...
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James Yensan

In this 4-minute video, Jim Yensan recalls the sense of trust he experienced as a student of Trungpa Rinpoche.

Research Expedition to Prince Edward Island

“We should research PEI,” Rinpoche announced one evening after dinner in early September 1984. It was a golden period in the Mill Village retreat. Rinpoche was generally in a jolly mood—full of mischief and good humor.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in Quick Charcoal

I met Rinpoche in 1971, becoming a student of his soon after, and for life. During the course of it, he assigned to me an eclectic array of different tasks and challenges. One of these was to make portrait sketches of him as he ...

We’re Going to Test Your Realization

During the time just prior to the cremation of H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa I was fortunate to meet Trungpa Rinpoche at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. As an American...

Tea Offering

In 1982, I was encouraged to join the Dorje Kasung, partly, I was told, because it provided good context, structure, and occasions for direct encounters with the Vidyadhara. In...

Loss

My mother moved to Boulder when I was a baby and became a student of Chögyam Trungpa. I loved "my Rimpoche" ever since I can remember, long before I...

Absolutely Suicidal

Valentine's Day Edition One day in Boulder, circa 1978, Larry Mermelstein had a very interesting conversation with Trungpa Rinpoche about relationships. Here for Valentine's Day (okay, we're a day late),...

Cooking Indian Food at Kalapa Court

The first time I cooked Indian food at Kalapa Court in Boulder was in the summer of 1978. I was absorbed searching for some ingredients in the corner cupboard...

How To Speak the English Language

Elocution lessons with Trungpa Rinpoche Soon after arriving in India in 1960, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche began to study English with the help of Freda Bedi and later John Driver, both...

The Shrine Blessing

About 15 of us were doing the first dathun at the Abbey in January, 1986. The place was abuzz because Rinpoche was coming up to Halifax for the shrine...

When Chögyam Trungpa met Jules Chender

Yuli Shenderoff was born in Russia in 1920 at a time of pogroms against the Jews. As a very small boy, he learned to lie when strangers came to...

The Fibre Glass Buddha

Many people meeting the Vidyadhara for the first time may have felt awkward and out of place. Some may even have felt as deeply ambivalent about the situation and...

Qualities

My stories of the Vidyadhara are pretty uneventful. As a kasung, as personal guard, I got to be around him many times, and I lived in the Court in...

My Very Short Life in Tibet

Here's a short one from Michael Chender in the spirit of Alan Sloan's My Very Short Life with Milarepa Very early on, I was looking to see if maybe I had...

My Very Short Life with Milarepa

One of the first books I read about Tibetan Buddhism was the Life of Milarepa. I found the story of his life and enlightenment a great inspiration. Reading about...

Jump Out the Window

Before I became a Buddhist, I was a mountain climber and nature lover. The Sierra Nevada Mountains of California were my spiritual home. Living in Berkeley in the late...

At the Redneck Bar

It was back in 1972 or maybe 1973. Trungpa Rinpoche was invited to give a talk on Buddhism at a Quaker retreat center in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania....

The Day My Car Died

When my guru lay dying, I was in Boulder and he was in Halifax, but I had never been closer to him. Every breath he took was another moment...

Meeting the Best Friend That You Will Ever Have

When I was around 13 years old I was very stubborn. One of my first real gestures of rebellion towards my parents was to refuse to go to church...

Grandmother’s Audience

As told by Sarah Cox to Elizabeth Richardson Born in 1890, Sarah Louise Buffington, was an unusually self determined woman for her generation. With the onset of the First World...

Four Moments of Truth

Another Parinirvana Day has come and gone, and after reading one sangha member's recounting of her experience, I'm inspired to write mine — I'm sure each of us has...

Glimpses of Tail of the Tiger 1970

  Jonathan first heard of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1970 when his mother, Nancy Eric, showed him a brochure she had picked up about Tail of the Tiger. Jonathan read...

Meeting Rinpoche

In the autumn of 1969, I was living in Berkeley, California. I had been introduced to Zen meditation by a friend and began practicing meditation either at the Zen...

Interview with Phil Karl

The following conversation between Phil Karl and Walter Fordham took place at the Trident Cafe and Booksellers in Boulder, Colorado on March 16, 2002. Listen to the interview. Background ambiance...

Where Were You When You Heard the News?

I think it must have been a Saturday, that sunny day, April 4, 1987, because both Alice Yang and Dominique LeGrand were with me working at the store. Alice...

Totally Free from Agenda

I became a kasung by coincidence. In 1975, I was a student of Trungpa Rinpoche and working as a waiter at the Canyon Inn restaurant in Boulder. Just before closing...

The Tibetan Tent

In 1980, Richard Rice, Bernd Ladendorff and myself decided that the Vidyadhara should have a Tibetan-style tent in which to host His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa at the upcoming...

Jackson Hole

In December of 1972 I was traveling east of the Cascades and the Rockies on an adventure. Just looking out the bus window at the endless snow and sporadic...

In The Beginning with Rinpoche

The year was 1971. I had just left NYC with my wife-to-be, after ending up a two-year stay as director of a new age enlightenment and communication center. It...