No words would ever be able to convey the loss of Jamyang

Khyentse's death. In leaving Tibet I and my family lost all our

lands and possessions, but I was too young to have formed

any attachment to them. But losing Jamyang Khyentse was a

loss so enormous that I still mourn it, so many years later. My

entire childhood had been lived in the sunlight of his presence.

I had slept in a small bed at the foot of his bed, and woke for

many years to the sound of him whispering his morning

prayers and clicking his mala, his Buddhist rosary. His words,

his teachings, the great peaceful radiance of his presence, his

smile, all of these are indelible memories for me. He is the

inspiration of my life, and it is his presence as well as

Padmasambhava's that I always invoke when I am in difficulties

or when I teach. His death was an incalculable loss for the

world and an incalculable loss for Tibet. I used to think of

him, as I thought also of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, that if

Buddhism was destroyed and only he remained, nevertheless

Buddhism would still be alive, for he was the complete

embodiment of what Buddhism means. With Jamyang

Khyentse's passing, a whole epoch, sometimes it seems a

whole dimension of spiritual power and knowledge, passed

with him.

He died when he was only sixty-seven, and I often wonder

how the entire future of Tibetan Buddhism would have been

different if Jamyang Khyentse had lived to inspire its growth

in exile and in the West with the same authority and infinite

respect for all traditions and lineages that had made him so

beloved in Tibet. Because he was the master of masters, and

since the lineage-holders of all the traditions had received initiations

and teachings from him and so revered him as their

root-teacher, he was able naturally to draw them together, in a

spirit of devoted harmony and cooperation.

And yet, a great master never dies. Jamyang Khyentse is

here inspiring me as I write this; he is the force behind this

book and whatever I teach; he is the foundation and basis of

the spirit behind everything I do; it is he who goes on giving

me my inner direction. His blessing and the confidence it gives

me have been with me, guiding me through all the difficulties

of trying to represent, in whatever way I can, the tradition of

which he was so sublime a representative. His noble face is

more alive to me now than any of the faces of the living, and

in his eyes I always see that light of transcendent wisdom and

transcendent compassion that no power in heaven or earth

can put out.

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