I had a brief encounter with the Vidyadhara while I was a student at Naropa University in the mid 1980s. It was the most powerful moment in my life. It was like I’d encountered the face of the moon directly, without any distortion, like a child seeing the moon rise for the first time on a cool night in the mountains. In that moment I saw someone beyond anything I’d ever expected a person could be, and at the same time the Vidyadhara was completely, totally human. This inspired me to practice and study the teachings of the dharma more than any book I’d ever read. The teachings became alive, clear and very personal.
For the most part, my experiences of Trungpa Rinpoche came through the world that he gave us, Shambhala, and through the presence I felt of him through the teachings, life examples and kindness of his students. It is a joy to meet people who have spent time with Trungpa Rinpoche because the Vidyadhara had a way of moving so deeply into people’s hearts. During his time with us, Trungpa Rinpoche’s presence in the community, whether he was around any particular center or not, somehow felt like a giant eye that was on you all the time. A few weeks after the Vidyadhara’s cremation I remarked to a friend and early student that it felt as though the sense of being watched had dissolved, and she said it was the same for her.
Highland Eyes was written as a guru yoga, a way to remember the Vidyadhara with the heart so that his inspiration or blessing could be felt strongly and remembered clearly. The best inspiration for moving forward seems to come from remembering the wisdom and compassion of those who’ve taught us and sharing that with the world. May we directly experience and realize the wisdom of our teachers, and through that may the intentions and aspirations of lineage of wisdom and compassion manifest quickly for the benefit of all beings.