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In this episode, Julia talks with Acharya Richard John about his experience of working with Trungpa Rinpoche, the retreat at Sopa Choling, viewing Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as vajra master, becoming an acharya, the Sakyong’s summer programs, and the Scorpian Seal retreat.
I loved the Richard John interview. I was living in Santa Cruz in 1975/76. Richard’s house was the Dharma Study Group at that time. When the Vidyadhara was in Berkeley in May of ’76 we invited him to visit and bless our shrineroom. Rinpoche came with the Narayna, David Rome, etc. David Nicktern was the personal kasung. I took photos of Rinpoche looking at Richard’s portfolio and the beautiful display case Richard used to show photos of his woodwork. It looked pretty obvious to us that Rinpoche was very impressed with the work even though he said very little. When Richard was invited to Boulder and KCL to work on the shrines everyone knew it was because of the meeting in Santa Cruz. It was a lovely and precious afternoon. If you’d like to see photos I would be happy to scan and email them. We had all been attending the Brokenly talks, but went back to Santa Cruz to prepare the house for the visit. We sat around the living room as Rinpoche sat on the couch ate snacks and drinks laid out on the coffee table in front of him. One of the photos is of Rinpoche holding and admiring a beautiful wine glass that I believe had belonged to Richards grandmother. Many of the members of our study group went on to become bigshots in our sangha, Richard being one of them. Alyn Lyon was another and also Bill Schefeld was another. Eric Weiss lived at the house and so did Katy (I forgot her last name) but I don’t know where they are now. It was a great study group and Richard was one of the most generous, kind, warm and loving person I have ever meet in our sangha. He really deserves the title of Acarya. He’s so humble.
Rochelle Weithorn, NYC
Dunno think this talk is a bit chummy been thinking about it over the weekend. The only question that I was interested in was when Julia asked about what his contemporaries thought about the Sakyong and he kind of gave a bland answer that he thought people may want to connect with Sakyong on one of his events at SMC or elsewhere in the mandala. She could have asked him what he thought about Ray, what he thought about all those people on radiofreeshambhala that have divergent views to the Sakyong’s way of doing things. Dunno maybe go everso slightly stir crazy and really open up the debate. Came into my mind about the Regent in one of his meetings with Vidyadhara that the Regent said nothing and agreed with Vidyadhara about everything. Vidyadhara later said he should really give his own opinion about things. In relation to non-debate also I was listening to Patrick Sweeny on utube in the excerpt named “Freedom in the Present” where he quips on the no-feedback of some in SI about him being a lineage holder at the present time. -From Rita Ashworth, Stockport, UK