Tribute to Sherab Chödzin


It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Sherab Chödzin (“Prajna Dharma Holder”) Kohn, very dear friend and colleague for many decades.

I was so pleased, by chance, to be in Boulder for Sherab’s 80th birthday celebration last spring, enjoyed by many friends and relatives, and he seemed to regale us with his joyful exuberance. There was little hint of any decline, so today’s news comes with the profundity of the second of the four reminders, as composed by the Vidyadhara: “Death is real, comes without warning, / This body will be a corpse.”

I hope others will contribute to a more fulsome biography, so please excuse the sketchy details that follow. I have left a few question marks beside uncertain facts. Hopefully others can amend.

In my first memories of Sherab, then known as Michael, he was in blue-jean bib overalls, parading around the dining area of Tail of the Tiger with his then-girlfriend Fran Lewis. He was instantly larger than life, boisterous, declarative, and eloquent—an early confidant of Rinpoche’s, among the inner circle that surrounded him. I did not get to know Sherab well until we had both relocated to Boulder a couple years later. I think it was there that Sherab met and married Judi Rosner, eventually having two beautiful daughters: Corey and Alexandra. Sherab was supremely devoted to them all.

In terms of spiritual path, he had a reverence for the tradition of Jewish learning, but I don’t think he was particularly religious in his upbringing. He became a student of the Gurdjieff work, first through Mr. Tilly in London, and then in New York through Madame de Hartmann, the personal secretary of the great Gurdjieff in his early days. Somebody gave Sherab Meditation in Action to read, and it had a profound effect on him. Sherab first met the Vidyadhara at Tail of the Tiger in 1970, Rinpoche’s first year in the U.S. After Sherab waited three days to see Rinpoche, they had their first meeting. In this first meeting, Rinpoche told Sherab to do a three-month retreat, for which he had to build for himself the first retreat cabin at Tail of the Tiger.

Before meeting Rinpoche, Sherab had been a senior editor of religion at the Encyclopedia Britannica in New York and later Chicago (his home town). Sherab became the first editor-in-chief of Vajradhatu, working closely with Rinpoche on many writing projects, communiques, articles, and eventually books. He was with Rinpoche as his attendant when Rinpoche received some of the Shambhala termas, including the Scorpion Seal of the Golden Sun, and Sherab worked closely with him to put those texts into English. He and Dorje Loppön Lodrö Dorje were the first directors/coordinators of what would become the Nalanda Translation Committee, beginning around 1975/76 in Boulder.

Sherab was an unusually literate and most clever wordsmith, way beyond most everyone I knew. He was fluent in French, having studied at the Sorbonne in Paris with the philosopher Paul Ricoeur. And as we later observed, he was particularly talented in learning languages, eventually mastering German, not to mention his ability with Tibetan. (He could read the newspaper headlines in Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and Hebrew.) Sherab possessed many editorial skills, but it was his flair with English that was particularly noteworthy during our translation sessions.

Sherab attended the first Vajradhatu Seminary in 1973, and he was especially seminal in encouraging the Vidyadhara to continue such teaching. Not long after they returned to Boulder from Seminary, Sherab expressed to Rinpoche how wonderful his teachings at the Seminary had been, and he inquired about whether it would be possible to continue such instruction in some fashion—what was next? Rinpoche replied, “I thought you’d never ask.” They immediately set to work compiling a list of students in the area who had been at the Seminary (and a couple who had not) to invite to a gathering at Rinpoche’s home in Four Mile Canyon, an event which took place within a couple weeks of that initial conversation. Thus was born the first “tantra group,” at which Rinpoche gave vajrayana transmission formally for the first time in North America. What an amazing lesson for our path: you have to request the teachings. We knew so little.

Sherab was distinguished in more ways than I can recount. He was a very frequent and articulate interlocutor at Rinpoche’s  talks, and we are forever indebted to his often insightful questions. He was among the early group of meditation instructors and junior teachers of the dharma, under the careful tutelage of the Vidyadhara, of course. Within just another few years, such folks would be known as senior teachers, becoming themselves mentors to many others. And so it was in the spring of 1978, Sherab was appointed as the first “ambassador plenipotentiary” to Europe, acting as the personal representative of the Vidyadhara there for many years. Sherab, Judi, and Corey, along with Randy Sunday as his assistant, first settled in Vienna (where daughter Alex was born that first summer), and where Lady Diana Mukpo was living with her children and attending the Spanish Riding School. On New Year’s Eve 1978, the Kohns moved on to Amsterdam for two and a half years. Eventually Sherab and family settled in Marburg, Germany, which became for many years the main centre of Vajradhatu Europe.

Sherab’s contributions to bringing the dharma to Europe on behalf of the Vidyadhara should be recounted by others. But they are undoubtedly considerable, perhaps monumental. Robert Puts was an early product of Sherab’s guidance, becoming a very fine and accomplished teacher, if I may say. Sherab wrote wonderful letters to me of his adventures there, forcing me to follow suit and learn something of the venerable tradition of letter writing. Some years later, I forced Sherab to learn how to spend an hour or more on the phone with me, something that he was generally loath to do, though he seemed quite a natural at it, being an artful raconteur.

Sherab and family returned to North America regularly to be with the Vidyadhara, often during the Vajradhatu Seminary, as well as Encampment and the first Kalapa Assembly. Since the Seminary was our most important time for engaging in translation work with the Vidyadhara, meeting with him 3-5 days per week, Sherab relished rejoining our group for those few months a year. His contributions were often huge, not to mention jolly good fun. It was an incredibly special and wonderfully intense time at the Seminaries.

The Kohn family returned to this side of the Atlantic in 1984, first living again in Boulder. They moved to Nova Scotia in 1989, living for the first month with me at our NTC headquarters. It was a particularly special treat to live with the family Kohn. I don’t think I had eaten so well for decades! They settled in Grand Pre and Lumsden Dam for some years, as well as spending most of a year in Halifax. But eventually they moved back to Boulder where they have remained since 1999 or so. After a period of readjusting to life in North America, Sherab focused his work once again on teaching dharma, writing, editing books of Rinpoche’s oral teachings, as well as translating books from French and German into English, often for Shambhala Publications, where he had a very long and close association, work that continued until the present.

I have always treasured seeing Sherab and Judi on my relatively regular visits to Boulder. It is a very special being together and enjoying the Buddhist and Shambhalian world in which we were raised.

When I was asked to teach a weekend program on the life of the Vidyadhara many years ago, I asked Sherab’s advice, as he had been working on a lengthy biography of our guru. I wondered whether he might have some specific summary view of the rather vast and profound activity we had witnessed. In response, Sherab sent the following in an email:

“I would say the key point in Rinpoche’s teaching, which needs to be emphasized now more than ever, is his fierce uncompromising undying ferocious enormous fangs-bared battle on spiritual materialism.”

In 2015, Sherab and I thought it would be fun to teach a course together on Ocean, mainly exploring the Early Tantra Groups. Indeed it was loads of fun. A little like jumping off a cliff each week, and doing so with a dedicated group of adventurers. We have meant to resume several times over the last year or two, but my travel and Sherab’s occasional health concerns got in the way. And now it is a somewhat steeper cliff from which to leap, or so it seems.

I will miss my dear pal Sherab immensely—O’Kohn, as he sometimes mused. We are all so grateful for his brilliance and passions. Please join me in celebrating his wonderful life with us!

Larry Mermelstein, Halifax, 1/22/2020

Please post tributes to Sherab here.
55 + 6 =

Stéphane Bédard
4 years ago

Sherab had tremedous respect and affection for the French culture. Years ago, as a young dharma translator from English into French, I found his support extremely precious. He had tremendous respect for our translation work and our dharma teaching efforts in Montréal. His devotion for Trungpa Rinpoché was moving, vibrant. His whole path, his whole life seemed to be connected to his love for his root guru dharma richness. His appreciation of so many cultures, his warmth and passion help a lot of people on the path. He will always be a source of inspiration. Merci pour tout cher Sherab : je te garde bien éveillé au fond de mon coeur. All my condolences to his family.

Michael Schaefer
4 years ago

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.

David O’Neal
4 years ago

I’ve known Sherab since the 1980s and he personified for me the marriage of intelligence with sense of humor. Two things that should naturally go together but often don’t. I mean that if you know the phenomenal world deeply, you can’t help but find it funny. And Sherab found it VERY funny. Naturally. I tried to visit him and Judi whenever I went to Boulder. I usually started laughing when I first saw him. It would usually be something he said. I think I was the rare person he connected with from outside Chögyam Trungpa’s dharma. Which made perfect sense, as I was a human being in search of truth, like him. Few knew that he was an old Gurdjieffian, who met Chogyam Trungpa, at which it was love at first sight, but I knew it.

Clarke Warren
4 years ago

Sherab Chödzin died in Boulder, Colorado during the night of January 22, 2020. Sherab had recently been in and out of the hospital, returning home yesterday to be with his family. Our deepest condolences to Sherab’s family, and our fondest farewell to Sherab. As one person said this morning, “A lion has passed!”

Sherab was one of the early North American students of Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, beginning in the early 1970s. He was a dharma teacher, author, translator, editor, wonderful husband to wife, Judi and father to children Cory, married to Michael, and Alexandra, married to Leo. He was proud grandfather to Florence, Phoebe, and Ludovico.

Sherab Chödzin was one of Trungpa Rinpoche’s main editors. Also, he served as Vajradhatu Ambassador Plenipotentiary (Rinpoche’s representative) to Europe, 1978-1983. Sherab and Dorje Loppön Lodrö Dorje were the founding directors of the Nalanda Translation Committee.

Sherab was a deeply erudite and eloquent writer and teacher. He was a great repository of the entire corpus of teachings of the Vidyadhara, and an extraordinary conversationalist.

Sherab died simply, peacefully, and cheerfully.

Please keep Sherab in your practice and bodhichitta mind.

Marty Janowitz
4 years ago

Dear Sherab, Dear Michael,
Sam, Larry and others have so beautifully shared so much of what sort of extraordinary human you are/were. Human - a truly decent, kind, deeply humorous (actually a master of the outrageously funny moment) and serious (often simultaneously), open, curious, investigative, erudite, scholarly, insightful, loving (especially towards Judy and the girls), and perhaps most extraordinary, always present in your skin, on your feet, and attentive. Indeed, long before we ever heard the term and meaning of authentic presence (wang tang), you were innately showing up. Some have rightly pointed to some of the ways in which you typically filled any space you entered, but I suggest more than that you shaped the space. On so many occasions you broke the ice, stepped into the unasked question, were willing to give voice to not knowing or needing to press the case or inquiry, or declare the disconnect, blind spot or daresay idiocy. I never saw you swallow something (metaphorically) you hadn't chewed.

Shape and space shifter...We first intersected in June or July of '70 when coming back awkwardly from my first short retreat at Tail of TT, before even walking in, hearing your booming laugh, then encountering your large bib overalled self sitting in the Tail of TT living room). From that moment on the atmosphere had new dimension - I am not overstating - Rinpoche noticed and clearly enjoyed that there was finally someone in the space who was not holding back yet was not posturing. No wonder he relished you as student, then interrogator, teacher, ambassador, representative, amplifier, translator, exponent....and also a juicy colorful, fun thread in the tapestry of his/our world, and society. Our path with our teacher was so much richer for your presence and participation.

Sherab has been described as a lion - correct. But he was also a tiger - patient and showing up for the long trek, but ready to pounce fiercely yet lovingly; garuda, soaring intellectually and creatively; and dragon, those knowing inscrutable pauses just before... To explore something unknown or uncertain with you was a joy (the translators really know). I am reminded of much back and forth just a few years ago trying to discern the subtleties, dimensions, uncertainties and apparent contradictions within the Vidyadhara's various writings and words on political attitude and discourse (integrating and reconciling versions of his Political Treatise).

These past couple of days I find a fair amount of regret surfacing...a byproduct of allowing time and physical distance since you returned from NS to Boulder to distract me from keeping the active flame of close relationship to you and Judy current. As I think of you Sherab it all re-arises fresh and of you Judy, my heart extends in sorrow, love and joy knowing what a most extraordinary path you both journeyed has been repeated too much these days as dear warriors pass into the next unknown journey "may the tears of our crying produce future warriors"

Inez de Munnik
4 years ago

Sherab's strong and warm presence, and his wakeful humor convinced me to investigate the path of buddhism in the early days in Amsterdam, and continue later on in Marburg.
I came to know him as a man who wasn't too big to laugh about himself or drop his pre-conceptions on the spot. It was an honour to have known him.

Andrea Roth
4 years ago

Michael was my first meditation instructor in Boulder around 1975 and I'm still here. That says something. It was always good to talk with him. All i remember is my saying to him, "Sometimes I just tell myself to wake up."

M Kassapa
4 years ago

From my earliest experience of you in the fall of 1982 you were a force in my life, seeing through my spiritual trappings to get to the simple truth of things; and though my last memory and experience with you was sharing a bottle of wine in the closing days of the 1994 Seminary, you will always be a bright star in the heaven of my being.
M Kassapa

Richard Driscoll
4 years ago

Dear Sherab -
Thank you for making the sublime teachings of ordinary mind literally leap off my computer screen.
Thank you for sending me to various dictionaries looking up French, German & Tibetan words and obscure literary references.
Thank you for your wit, wisdom, laughter, prodding and "First Thought Best Thought" teaching style.
Although I never met your non-virtual emanation I feel I have known you from the beginning as you edited most of the books I read.
I will miss you vajra friend.

Sam Bercholz
4 years ago

An Appreciation of Sherab Chödzin Kohn

Our vajra brother, Dharma Holder of Transcendent Wisdom, has passed into the Clear Light
He is a true heart son of the wondrous mahasiddhi Ocean of Dharma, Chögyam Trungpa
Through his devotion and dharma activity he has set an example for all believers
He was a force of nature tamed by the vajra guru to be the consummate messenger of truth

Our vajra brother, Dharma Holder of Transcendent Wisdom, is a beacon of erudite integrity
He contemplated the dharma, practiced the dharma, and became a living emanation of dharma
In this world of illusion he was only interested in the beneficial and true, without compromise
He was a giant of a man with the voice of a lion and the exactitude and grace of a ballerina

Our vajra brother, Dharma Holder of Transcendent Wisdom, is a true warrior of Shambhala
Within his wisdom mind are the blessings of the Rigden Kings and their sublime mission
Through his example and speech he will continue to inspire would be dakas and dakinis
He will reappear at the time of the twenty-fifth Rigden Chokyi Khorlo Chen, as his noble counsel

Our vajra brother, Dharma Holder of Transcendent Wisdom, is the invisible yogi householder
Within his ordinary mind appear the host of deities and bodhisattvas in simplicity
Through his diligence and humor, the rudra of arrogance, has been tamed
He was a vajra master with no need of title or recognition, a wonderful husband and father

All vajra brothers and sisters who dwell in the great mandala of Ocean of Dharma and all beings
touched by the mind, smile, lovingness, warmth, and wrath of Sherab Chödzin, let us cry at this
passing, and let us rejoice at this passing. His parting message of death is an inspiration to all—
“No big deal.”

This offering composed with love on the New Moon January 2020 by his friend and admirer, Rinchen Chödzin Bercholz.

Gerda Jansonius
4 years ago

In 1978 Randy Sunday and Michael Kohn visited the Dharmadhatu in Amsterdam. I had just started to practice a few months ago. Michael invited me to come along to Vienna, where he was going to move with Judy being pregnant of their second daughter.
I moved to Vienna and slept in their living room. At that time I had a university degree and spent two years in Oxford. But I was desperate and it was good in the sense of sanity.

It was the presence of Sherab and of the Kohn family, that hooked me and provided some sort of healing from trauma. I cannot say , that we were friends. I was somewhat scared of Sherabs energy, despite of the warmth.

The Kohn family moved to Amsterdam and then to Marburg. Where-ever they went, they provided extensive hospitality in their home. That is to say we all worked in the house and in the garden, but were also invited for meals and drinks. Memories of dinners with great Lungta.

There were the weekly meetings of the Nuclear Committee. The idea was, that such small nuclea could explode. The discussions were about, how to spread the Dharma in Europe. Sherab wanted to establish a European Dharma Committee. Representatives of other countries were invited, he could with his charisma join them, get them together, glue. We understood ourselves as european dharma group. This was the great merit of Sherab Chödzin.

In the night of his death (which i did not know at the time) I woke up at 01:00 in Marburg. there was some clarity and a sense of presence. This is unusual, I wondered, what is going on. I had watched a movie about Auschwitz and thought maybe some dead jews are visiting. The next day I heard about Sherab and understooid.

Thank you Sherab and bon voyage

Stéphane Bédard
4 years ago

Sherab had tremedous respect and affection for the French culture. Years ago, as a young dharma translator from English into French, I found his support extremely precious. He had tremendous respect for our translation work and our dharma teaching efforts in Montréal. His devotion for Trungpa Rinpoché was moving, vibrant. His whole path, his whole life seemed to be connected to his love for his root guru dharma richness. His appreciation of so many cultures, his warmth and passion help a lot of people on the path. He will always be a source of inspiration. Merci pour tout cher Sherab : je te garde bien éveillé au fond de mon coeur. All my condolences to his family.

Lucie Benzerdjeb
4 years ago

My former husband Winfried Kopps and I also met the Kohn family in the days of him being the embassador for Europe. For me Sherab embodied what CTR tought. Thinking of him makes my heart smiling.

Martin Evans
4 years ago

Although I only knew Sherab through the Ordinary Mind classes he led on Ocean with Larry, I came to have a deep respect for his understanding and ability to impart his knowledge in a subtle and kind way. He pushed me without aggression and had a profound effect on me over those few years. I wish I had had an opportunity to tell him that directly but I hope his family realizes how many of us he touched and helped along on the path. I hope Sherab’s family takes solace in that during this difficult time. May he return to teach the Dharma again.

Nikko Odiseos
4 years ago

Below is a some of what I shared with the team here at Shambhala Publications for whom Sherab was an absolute treasure:

Sherab authored our Awakened One (now published as A Life of the Buddha), co-edited The Buddha and His Teachings (now published as Entering the Stream). And he is the author of our forthcoming Bala Kids book on Padmasambhava. And of course he was a force in editing many of Trungpa Rinpoche's works.

He also translated a ton of books for us from German, Dutch, and French:

Singapore Dreams
Samurai Wisdom Stories
Inner Art of Karate
Natural Laws of Children
True Love
You Are Here
Miyamoto Musashi
Rilke’s Stories of God
The Prince and the Zombie
A Pleas for the Animals
Archetypal Dimensions of the psych
Meditation for Kids
Anytime Yoga
Francoise Cheng’s Empty and Full
Ayya Khema’s Give You My Life.

And that is just for us – he did occasional work for others too.

He also evaluated many books in other languages for us over the years. His Reader’s Reports were eagerly awaited by all of us who sent them his way because they were always a tour de force.

I can do little justice to the erudition, wit, and brightness of Sherab. But here are a few snippets from some of his reader’s reports that will give those of you who did not know him a little favor.

On a report for another book by Francois Cheng (we decided not to do):
"Here he first points out that the universe is not obliged to be beautiful. It could be a purely functional affair, a big meaningless ticktock. In fact, he suggests, this is the view we routinely encounter these days. He rubs our noses in the frigidity of this outlook for few pages, then proceeds to deliver us from it: he discovers a jewel, the French word sens, which has three meanings: sensation, direction, meaning. Greatly simplified, the movement of Cheng’s thought is: We experience the world as sensation. We are not indifferent to sensation, but rather attracted or repulsed. If we are attracted. we move toward our sensations. Once this happens, we have direction. Once we have direction, life has meaning. This natural process, when not denatured by cynicism, is a jewel.
The most notable objection to this line of thought accuses it of subjectivism. This objection asks: must we always experience the world from the outside, be moved by it while it remains indifferent to us? Cheng puts this duality-smitten question in its place through an excursus on Chinese painting. We are familiar with Chinese paintings depicting immense landscapes, always with one or several tiny human figures somewhere in the scene. The Western eye is accustomed to paintings where large human figures occupy the foreground and the landscape or other surroundings constitute the background. Thus the little figures in the Chinese paintings appear lost, drowned in the immensity of the landscape. "

On the Padmasambhava (adult) book we will publish:
“What particularly strikes me as distinctive is [the author's] voice. It is not the voice of a teacher presenting his message nor of an established spokesman of a particular Buddhist orthodoxy... Nor does it go in the other direction—his is not the voice of an academic either. More it is the voice of "one of us" who happens to be well informed. Even in relating to misunderstandings, he avoids the heavy hand. He doesn't schoolmarm you, correct your faults, preach. It's unusual: he explains eye-to-eye, without being chatty or chummy. He doesn't presume to be either your superior or your pal. Interesting.”

On Hesse’s Singapore Dreams:
“In a certain way, the present book, translated here into English for the first time, conveys Hesse's essential qualities better than his novels do. This is because in these accounts, Hesse himself is the main character. As he travels, we see directly through his eyes rather than those of a fictional character. Inevitably in novels, perceptions are molded and forced by a plot. The character's thoughts are driven by the author's plan. In Out of Asia the writer's pen is free of those constraints. We receive Hesse's immediate impressions, and he does not sugar-coat. The only slight torsion and drive in these narratives comes from the pleasure Hesse gets out of telling a story, expressing authentic experience in an apt and catchy way. He does not falsify, because he is inherently unable. In fact we feel sympathy for the man, for we see that he is helplessly captivated by his experience. His absolute need of authenticity is something for which he often suffered in his life, was often cast into psychological depths. But it was also this inalienable faithfulness of his engagement with things that caused him to keep growing as a man and a writer. And it is that quality, combined with his undeniable gifts as an entertainer, that continues to draw us into his writings today.

On a book we did not publish:
“These apophatic peregrinations showing what Buddhism is not do not lead to conclusions concerning what Buddhism is. Buddhism continues to escape as a slippery fish that cannot be caught in the net of Western thought. [The author's] approach here is helpful and apt (in my view), save for this flaw: the net in which the slippery fish cannot be caught is not only that of Western thought but of dualistic thought altogether, of which Asians are no more innocent than Westerners. However, concentrating on the Western aspect of the problem here is not inappropriate considering [the author’s] project, and it allows him to play in those fields where he and other European intellectuals love to play, where the names of Aristotle, Plato, Pascal, Schopenhauer, Nietzche, Heidegger, and other philosophers he refers to resound with such significance.”

Dave O’Neal [treasured editor at Shambhala Pubs and friend of Sherab, now retired] had the notion that his Reader’s Reports would serve as an extremely readable volume in and of themselves.

We look forward to making the Bala Kids book coming out next year on Padmasambhava truly special. When he submitted it to us, he wrote, “My wife and I successfully read The Lord of the Rings to our daughters when they were about 7 and 4. I let Tolkien be my guide in writing the Padmasambhava story for young people in the sense of including everything….. I have trusted them with charnel grounds and demons and some essential Buddhist ideas. I hope you all find that it works and that it's the right stuff.”

It is indeed the right stuff. Thank you from all of us Sherab!

Ken Green
4 years ago

I first met Sherab Chodzin, known at the time by his birth name Michael Kohn, the Spring of 1971 at Tail of the Tiger (subsequently named Karme Choling). In fact, he was the very first memory I have of Tom Rich (aka Narayana, aka Osel Tendzin, aka the Vajra Regent) and I driving up to Tail and seeing him on the porch checking us out, (hippie yogis that we were at the time) and very quick to warmly welcome us. Sherab throughout all these years I have known him was bigger than life. What stands out most in my memory past and current is his unflinching devotion to Trungpa Rinpoche. I have no doubt that his journey will be an auspicious one. Kikisoso dharma brother.

Ute Reinhart
4 years ago

Sherab married me to my former husband Helmuth Nagel! I was only 23 years old then... (I just turned 60!!)
I recall a very moving ceremony (that was November 1983). We were 3 couples getting married. It was the night before a weekend the Regent would teach. That same weekend, Steve Baker was introduced as our new ambassador. The running joke was, having 3 Buddhas present: the Buddha of the past (as Sherab was the ambassador for Europe and was about to leave), the Regent (who would be teaching that weekend) and Steve (who would take over after that).
Sherab and Judi had been examples for us, on how to live a Shambhala household and family. Both of them have been really inspiring to me. It was very nice to have the whole family in "Rigdenhouse" in Marburg!! (I had no clue about what a Rigden is, at that time...)
Sherab was impressing by his sharp knowledge and fearless presence. I wish him a fearless and smooth travel for wherever he is going now!
With gratitude. Ute

Joel/Alyosha Simon
4 years ago

“If you depend on dharma, pure energy will arise and appear in your everyday life. It will illuminate your life because the original energy of Buddha is alive within you.”
Katagiri Roshi
It is unmistakable - the original energy of the Buddha was manifest in Sherab’s presence. In the midst of life’s many challenges and difficulties, a sense of joy, joie de vivre and delight were fundament to his being. You couldn’t help but experience that radiant energy when you were with him. Let us continue to bask in his rays.

Lucille Magnus Boston MA
4 years ago

I am heartsick to learn of Sherab Kohn's passing this morning. He presided over the extraordinary
Four Karmas Fire Puja I attended in 1989 at RMDC. Sixty people attended and it was strong, wonderful, and unforgettable. Folks from Germany and many other places. It was during the Regent crisis and Sherab handled the questions and discussions with understanding. He listened. I love hearing the stories about him because I really didn't know him.
But that time together in the mountains in 1989 is vivid in my memory. He presided with dignity, and his erudition was manifest. Thank you. It was one of the best times in my life. I can really say "I was happy there." Much love to his family. Lucille Magnus

Sherab Gyatso
4 years ago

Sherab Kohn taught at Rimé Society in Boulder. I enjoyed his lectures, and his participation as an audience member immensely. I am glad he died peacefully, although I regret that another bright light from the time of VCTR has passed.

Jon Frank
4 years ago

I did not know Sherab well, but treasured him as a presence in our sangha over many years. Anyone who spent any time with Sherab can testify to his big heart and powerful mind. As a teacher, he was both challenging and friendly, a potent combination. His editing powerfully conveyed the Vidyadhara's voice. It was such a treat to spend time with him in classes on Ocean over the past couple of years, and sad to realize that will happen no more. Deepest condolences to Judi and the family.

Jemi Steele
4 years ago

I met Sherab in 2017 through the Ordinary Mind online class on Ocean that he co-taught with Larry M. He helped me look at my mind and investigate my experience in a way that was so exciting and fresh. He wasn't afraid to call on people and put us on the spot. He seemed to enjoy those interactions as much as we benefited from finding ourselves speechless. I am grateful that our paths crossed.

Ernst Hahn
4 years ago

Sherab has been my first teacher in Marburg Germany. His knowledge, his warm heart mixed with his extraordinary prajna and his great earthy humour has invited me to trust . A big hug from Sherab felt like I meet the moon and sun. I have never forgot him in all these years as true family friend to the european sangha.
I send my very warm greetings to the family Kohn

judy lief
4 years ago

Sherab was a true friend, a dharma lion, and an example of intelligent devotion and service. He worked closely with the Vidyadhara as the original executive editor of Vajradhatu Publications. As many have noted, Sherab was witty, erudite, warm and kind. His knowledge of broader literary and cultural worlds, lent his teachings unusual sophistication and power.

I feel blessed to have so many wonderful memories of times our families spent together and the playfulness, humor, and ordinary magic of such occasions.

John Tischer
4 years ago

I didn't know Sherab well, but I always liked him, and he was nice to me. I remember giving him a bear hug at Tail of the Tiger one day, actually picking him up off the floor, and was surprised at how light he seemed, given his size. We had several cats there at that time. One was named Breakfast. The cat got it\'s name because one morning, Sherab picked up the cat in the dining room and loudly said:\"Ah, breakfast!\" I remember him teaching at one seminary, and his talks were awesome. For Sherab You, the authentic dharma student and disciple of the Vidyadhara, depart into space like the fresh mist that evaporates as the sun shines on a clear morning. Those that knew you send our best wishes and prayers. You must have broken the lion mould that you came from. We praise your memory. We thank you for what you have done.

Gernot Landschein
4 years ago

Sherab was my first Dharma teacher. It was his enormous big heart and his overwhelming humor that attracted me to the Dharma. His humaneness was always an example for me.
Now again you are leading the way, and we will follow at some time.
My fondest condolences for Judy and the children

Beginning in 1971, Larry Mermelstein became a close student of the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and scholar. He served as an acharya in the Vajradhatu/Shambhala community for 20 years, as well as being a member of the board of directors for nearly that long. He is a founding member of the Nalanda Translation Committee and has been the Executive Director for over 40 years, and is a long-time consulting editor to Shambhala Publications.