Tania Leontov

Because we couldn't find a photograph, Tania chose to be represented by this Tasmanian devil.

Oh great and magical guru, thank you for the lessons imprinted, for the brilliance and accuracy with which you penetrated my confusion and make indelible marks. Unlike the imprints of a bird in the sky, they reappear over and over.

Rinpoche used to signal to me when I was in the midst of some form of madness by repetitive slightly bizarre behavior in the midst of an ordinary situation. In olden days, my ex and I were living at Karme Choling in a room across the hall from the one in which Rinpoche lived. Our furniture consisted mostly of a huge mattress on the floor. We were seated on the mattress having this terrific argument about sex, when Rinpoche appeared in our room. Ex got up to greet Rinpoche and so they were both standing facing me. I remained seated. I don’t remember the conversation that started, as I was lost in fury (being an extremely angry person at that time). All of a sudden, Rinpoche started doing this little dance, hopping from foot to foot. His hand was in his pants pocket covering his genitalia and he was loudly rattling the coins in that pocket. This peculiar behavior riveted my attention. “What the hell?” The dance went on for a little while after I was hooked, then he pulled the pocket lining out and there was nothing in it. “Sex, this too is empty!”

Tania has been a close student of Trungpa Rinpoche since meeting him at Samye Ling in the 1960s. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she is active in interfaith and social initiatives, including The Buddhist Coalition for Bodhisattva Activity.