18 May 2013
This is a photograph of the Vidyadhara looking at Rob Graffis [top of page]. Rob is taking the picture.
We’ll miss you, Rob.
May 18, 2013
As we all know, Rob was a remarkable combination of truth-telling and acerbity. He was extremely funny sometimes, and loved to relate the latest scandal circulating in the back room. He was incredibly devoted to the Vidyadhara and to Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, his present teacher. Chokyi Nyima related to Rob quite closely, sometimes speaking with him on the phone and supporting him generally. Also, Rob was a welcome guest at the Gomde centers. He was an inveterate traveler; it seems nothing could stop him. For years he would get himself to Nepal or the Bay Area or Europe, and seemed to enjoy the travel quite a bit, even on his own. He was legally blind and mostly deaf. I have not met many in my life with his fortitude in the face of physical debility. He made quite a few trips to the emergency room over the last months, with one collapse or another. It was really only a matter of which fatal illness he had would kill him. He broke a few ribs over the winter as well. He would laugh about all the disasters, as well as complain heartily, even as his life was hanging by a thread. For some reason I was taken by complete surprise, hearing the news yesterday of his passing. The last time I saw him was on the street a few days before I left Boulder in early March. There he was, walking down the sidewalk on an early, fine day, and I caught his attention. We took some minutes to catch up. (He told me Arnie Nordman was dying. Arnie preceded Rob in death by not very much.) When we parted, Rob looked me in the face with a beatific look I had never seen before on his face: maybe he had it but somehow I had never seen it. It was almost his face was glowing from out of all that pain, full of nameless joy. It was a striking moment, which has stuck with me and popped up in my mind many times. He was ready, I think.
May 20, 2013
Re that adorable photo by Rob Graffis: I always remember upon seeing that image Rob pointing out “the moon disc” stage right of VCTR’s head (reflected in the framed image on the wall). As in “Look at the moon disc by Rinpoche’s head.” It was a kasung audience held in the old library at KCL somewhere in the early 1980s. -Marguerite Sands