The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

realjannaweiss

The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

272 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING

I shall always remember the death of my own beloved

master, Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, in the summer of

1959. During the last part of his life, he would try and leave

his monastery as little as possible. Masters of all traditions

would flock to him for teachings, and holders of all lineages

would look to him for instructions, as he was the source of

their transmission. The monastery where he lived, Dzongsar,

became one of the most vibrant centers of spiritual activity in

Tibet as all the great Lamas came and went. His word in the

region was law; he was such a great master that almost everybody

was his disciple, so much so that he had the power to

stop civil wars by threatening to withdraw his spiritual protection

from the fighters of both sides.

Unfortunately, as the grip of the Chinese invaders tightened,

conditions in Kham deteriorated rapidly, and even as a

young boy I could sense the impending menace of what was

to come. In 1955 my master had certain signs that showed he

should leave Tibet. First he went on a pilgrimage to the sacred

sites of central and southern Tibet; and then, to fulfill a deep

wish of his master, he made a pilgrimage to the holy places of

India, and I went with him. We all hoped that the situation in

the east might improve while we were away. It turned out, I

was to realize later, that my master's decision to leave had

been taken as a sign by many other Lamas and ordinary

people that Tibet was doomed, and it allowed them to escape

in good time.

My master had a longstanding invitation to visit Sikkim, a

small country in the Himalayas and one of the sacred lands of

Padmasambhava. Jamyang Khyentse was the incarnation of

Sikkim's holiest saint, and the King of Sikkim had requested

him to teach there and bless the land with his presence. Once

they heard he had gone there, many masters came from Tibet

to receive his teachings, and brought with them rare texts and

scriptures that might not otherwise have survived. Jamyang

Khyentse was a master of masters, and the Palace Temple

where he lived became once again a great spiritual center. As

the conditions in Tibet became more and more disastrous,

more and more Lamas gathered around him.

Sometimes great masters who teach a lot, it is said, do not

live very long; it is almost as if they attract toward them any

obstacles there are to the spiritual teachings. There were

prophecies that if my master had put aside teaching and traveled

as an unknown hermit to remote corners of the country,

he would have lived for many more years. In fact, he tried to

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