Philip Richman

Michael Hookham happened to sit next to me in May, 1987 during teachings given by Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche at the time of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's cremation in Vermont. At that point I had just been instructed by Khentse Rinpoche to practice Nyingma Ngondro. I was impressed by his clear dedication to Trungpa Rinpoche, who was my teacher, and also Michael Hookham's deep understanding of Trungpa's early teaching in the West. His words and accounts of Trungpa's statements are with me to this day. He described how with long effort he and Trungpa came up with "nowness" for the translation of the "Great Vajradhara.." supplication to the Kagyu. He expressed puzzlement over why it had been changed to "freshness." He relayed Trungpa's comment that in Nyingma you dissolve into the guru, as opposed to the other way around. (Still an issue, but there it was). He said Trungpa had translated the Kun Chog Chidu ngondro, but did not want it published. Later another lama published the translation without authorization and Michael Hookham went to every bookstore in London to buy up all extant copies so that his teacher's wishes would be preserved. He said there is a copy in the NTC files. For two years, until I met Dodrupchen and Tulku Thondup in 1989, Michael's instructions remained important guidance at a difficult time. I wrote to Michael after meeting Dodrupchen. He was happy for me and shared some of his own encounters with my new teacher. Beyond that I had no further contact, but I was happy to hear of Rigdzin Shikpo's further progress on the path of learning, wisdom and accomplishment. I'm sure his students are grieving for his loss, but Michael proved to me that with wisdom mind even great loss precedes further benefit. Thank you Michael Hookham/Rigdzin Shikpo for a life worthy for us all of living.