El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

It was from this view

October 26, 2019 2

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Tsem Rinpoche has an adorable little audience while He works.

This week, I would like to share with everyone a very special view that few have been privileged to experience.

It was from this view that we would learn about and be exposed to all manner of things, from the acerbic wit of Joan Rivers to the artistic genius of Grace Jones; from the musical mastery of Judy Garland to the criminally under-appreciated talents of Sebastian and Divine.

It was from this view that Rinpoche explained the incredible culture of remote African tribes or the ongoing struggles of the Native Americans; about the political strategy of the world’s power players or the leadership qualities of various successful individuals.

It was from this view that we would watch Rinpoche perfectly imitate Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine, or join Rinpoche in losing our breath laughing over Sanford and Son’s Aunt Esther. More often than not, we would sing a Heart song at the top of our lungs.

And somehow, everything always, always led to teachings on developing compassion, on the importance of renunciation, on the finer points of the Lamrim and, ultimately, on the state of our minds and the importance of practice.

Because it was also from this view that many of Rinpoche’s projects would be conceptualised, where many instructions would be issued and where many people would end up being benefited. It was from this view where blog posts were worked on, edited, uploaded. It was from this view where dreams and aspirations were expressed, where gifts were given, where food was distributed, where ailing animals were treated, where broken hearts and minds were healed.

But what is also special about this photo is just how relaxed Oser is and how she gazes at Rinpoche.

And well, from Oser’s view, she got to witness all of this too.

For those who do not know, Oser is one of Rinpoche’s three dogs. A very active and extremely smart little girl, while it means that Oser can be very entertaining, it also means she is very selective about who she shows her affection to. Most people are recipients of the famous high-pitched Oser bark and her refusal to sit near you. For many, any attempt at carrying Oser results in her hop-skipping to get away from your hands as soon as possible.

Around Rinpoche however, Oser was generally always calm. She would sit ever so still, content just to be near Rinpoche. Her chin would rest on the arm of Rinpoche’s chair, made possible by the special seat Rinpoche designed and built for her. This special seat was, by the way, the byproduct of another one of Oser’s quirks and her wish to always be close to Rinpoche. Whenever Rinpoche got out of his chair, she would immediately clamber onto Rinpoche’s seat and remain there, waiting for Rinpoche to return. In the end, Rinpoche made her her own seat so she could always be close by.

Around Rinpoche, Oser had no worries, no reason to be defensive or to have her guard up. Around Rinpoche, Oser knew she would never be hurt; no one would pick her up unnecessarily, yell at her or endanger her life. Under Rinpoche’s care, everything she received was perfectly designed and suited to her needs, from her food to her medical care, to her living arrangements, to those who cared for her. Just like her seat, for example, which was pressure-tested to ensure it could bear her weight, with nonslip carpeting installed on the little doggie stairs to protect her little doggie ankles.

From Oser’s view, Rinpoche became her protector, master, father, teacher, guardian, best friend.

For me, Oser is a pretty good metaphor for what it was like to be around Rinpoche. It was the safest place in the world to be, somewhere where you could put your defences down and never worry. It was a moment in time and space where the other person knows everything about your mind and cares for you regardless. Where the other person can see beyond your past, your experiences, your pain, your hurt, your anger, your joys and your sorrows, and reach out to you through all of that mess. It was a chance to be with someone who saw you for you, and not what they could get from you or how they can benefit from you.

In a world where most care only for themselves, it was from this view that we saw it is possible to become someone who cares only for others.

To my Lama, who is one with Heruka, we look forward to welcoming you home soon.

Tsem Ladrang, Tsem Rinpoche, Behind The Scenes

2 Comments → “It was from this view”

  1. Matthieu Morisset 2 weeks ago   Reply

    Beautifully written Pastor Jean Ai :)

    • Pastor Elena K. Jean Ai 1 week ago   Reply

      Thank you!

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