Michael Schaefer

Thinking back on those days when he served as European Vajradhatu Ambassador, I am filled with gratitude and wonder about what an important role he played for me. I was in my twenties, deeply confused about where to go and what to do with my life. I first met him in August of 1980, when he led the first European Dathün somewhere near Vienna. We connected, I connected to dharmic discipline, thanks to his authentic presence. I told him I was going to Scotland for a year as an exchange teacher, and he encouraged me to connect to the sangha folks in Edinburgh and London (the Burstalls & Jane & David Hope). Which I did; I attended two ITS led by him in London that deeply impressed me. Some things he said there I never forgot because they expressed accurately what I felt. Back in Germany, my confusion and desperation grew, in spite of (or because of?) having established a regular practice. I wrote him a letter saying I was afraid of losing my mind. When we met again, at the famous Bardo ITS at the „Bürgerhaus“ near Pakshi Ling in Mücke-Nieder-Ohmen, he just said: „I got your letter!“ It was all the encouragement I needed. Encouragement – for instance, when he was Umdze for an afternoon period of sitting and I kept glancing at how he was sitting. From that I learned how I, too, could do it. Although he could be intimidating, he deeply cared. When I went to Seminary in 1986, he hosted me and a couple of other European students at his house in Boulder before Seminary started. One morning I was in the kitchen when he came in. It was like a lion entering! Once, when I asked his advice, he said: „We should go for a drink and talk.“ That was shortly before he left Europe, so it never happened, and it's too late now. It's like Trungpa Rinpoche says in one book: „A person has changed your life, and now you don't even have their telephone number.“ No telephones where he is now - so we have to communicate this way, and I want to say: Thank you, goddammit. Thank you for showing me the real McCoy. Wherever you are, let's keep up the True Work of our family of great beings.