January 11, 2009

A letter from Lila Rich, the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin’s widow.

I got my Bodhisattva name from Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1985, at what is now called Shambhala Mountain Center. Thing is, I didn’t get my new ‘name.’ Prajna Moon, what’s that mean?!

Kindly, Lady Lila Rich, the Vajra Regent‘s wife, came over—I was shy, only 12 then—kneeled beside me and explained that Prajna meant piercing wisdom, or insight, and Moon was feminine, and had something to do with compassion, or loneliness, and…well, I don’t remember what all. I do remember being touched that someone so important as her would kneel beside little me and take the time to explain something really important to my path.

Excerpt of recent letter from Lady Lila Rich regarding the important archives work that is going on:

My greetings to each and all of the students who are practicing the teachings of the great vajra master, the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Astonishingly, twenty-one years have gone by since his parinirvana and eighteen years since that of his heart son and dharma heir, the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin. Now at age 61, I have lived as many years without them as I lived and studied with them, yet the timelessness of their inspiration and compassion perpetually resides in my heart. 

An auspicious meeting . . . 

In the early 1970s, when my husband and I first met Trungpa Rinpoche and moved to Vermont to study with him at the Tail of the Tiger meditation center, the vajrayana Buddhist landscape in North America was virgin ground. I knew of the profound longing that my husband had for meeting a true guru who would guide him on the path of enlightenment. What I couldn’t have known was that our guru would chose to empower him as his dharma heir, the first Western-born person in history to hold the mahamudra lineage of the Tibetan vajrayana tradition. Their deep spiritual bond was crucial to the environment of openness and non-theism that Trungpa Rinpoche created around transplanting the vajrayana and Shambhala teachings in the Western culture and psyche.

In his forward to the Vajra Regent’s first book, Buddha in the Palm of your Hand, Trungpa Rinpoche wrote: “Many Oriental advisors have said to me, ‘Do not make an Occidental your successor; they are not trustworthy.’ With the blessings of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, and through working with Ösel Tendzin as my Regent, I have come to the conclusion that anybody who possesses tathagatagarbha is worthy of experiencing enlightenment. Moreover, Ösel Tendzin is my prime student. He has been able to commit himself and learn thoroughly the teachings of vajrayana. I have worked arduously in training him as my best student and foremost leader, and His Holiness Karmapa has confirmed his Regency. With His Holiness’ blessing, Ösel Tendzin should hold his title and the sanity of the enlightened lineage. He is absolutely capable of imparting the message of buddhadharma to the rest of the world”…

For the rest of Lady Lila Rich’s article, and to support the Regent’s Archive project, click here.

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