Human beings tend to naturally admire leaders, whether spiritual or political, and follow their behavior and thinking. Not only leaders, but also people who have enormous influence and who become role models for small communities, or even entire large-scale societies. The Buddhist world is no exception to this. Often, practitioners follow the teachings and practices of their beloved teachers and leaders. Even small Buddhist sanghas tend to follow the principles of their teachers, as well as their way of life.
Historically, there have been lineages of enlightened spiritual models in the Buddhist tradition who not only taught profound ideas, but also practiced and lived these higher principles, beginning with Shakyamuni Buddha himself. The Buddha was not the only extraordinary model. Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhists have their own revered masters and saints who embody the noble principles of Dharmic. If we take Tibetan Buddhism as an example, you have people like Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal, Machig Labdron, Longchenpa, Dza Patrul Rinpoche and Shabkarpa, all of whom were truly enlightened and actualized and demonstrated the highest wisdom, altruism and compassion. in their lives.
Patrul Rinpoche lived not very long ago and people still share many oral anecdotes about him. He was a renunciant, famous for his practice of introspection and for his freedom from the trappings of fame, success and glory. He was kind to everyone he met. One day, a traveling thief ran out of food. He met a lama doing a meditation retreat, who turned out to be Patrul Rinpoche. Patrul Rinpoche was already famous, and his text Words from my perfect teacher was widely known, but the thief knew nothing about it. The thief was very savvy and decided to trick the lama into getting free food, telling him that he was an important spiritual teacher. Patrul Rinpoche simply listened to him.
The thief continued: “If you feed me for a while, in return I will teach you Le Words from my perfect teacher.” Patrul Rinpoche happily agreed and shared what he had with the thief. The thief stayed with him for weeks, posing as a teacher, and gave speeches about Le Words from my perfect teacher to Patrul Rinpoche.
Later, seeing people bowing to this lama from afar, the thief discovered that he was with Patrul Rinpoche himself. Then the thief said to Patrul Rinpoche: “Since you have followed my teachings, now I am your guru and you must respect my words. » Patrul Rinpoche replied: “Yes, what do you think? The thief said: "Now you must teach Le Words from my perfect teacher volume. » The thief realized what he was doing and felt regret. The story ends with the thief becoming a true disciple of Patrul Rinpoche.
It's a humorous story that tells us a lot about Patrul Rinpoche: he was kind, humble and always watched his ego. Patrul Rinpoche was revered by many great lamas for his sublime qualities as well as for his great erudition. Even today, although he is not in the world, his teachings continue to inspire people to embody kindness, humility and introspection. Patrul Rinpoche was extraordinary but he was not unique; there were many llamas that looked like him.
Currently, Buddhism is going through many changes, just like other spiritual and religious traditions. His future is uncertain. It's not that we don't have many monasteries, practitioners and Dharma centers; Yet we must ensure that the true Dharma will not be lost, so that it can continually awaken us. This requires Dharma teachers who truly embody the noble qualities possessed by Patrul Rinpoche and other past masters.
In the 21st century, a wild era of rising materialism, a thousand things can so easily corrupt us. Yet there are still Dharma models that can inspire us to practice the true principles of Buddhism. This is inspiring news and gives us hope in a time when so many people think it's Kali Yuga, the dark ages where everything goes to hell.
Coincidentally, while writing this article, I saw that Tibetans were posting images and dedications on social media to celebrate Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro's birthday. He is relatively young and could live a long time in this world and be a spiritual lamp that guides many people on the path of true Buddhadharma. He is a truly humble and compassionate teacher, dedicated to the well-being of others. He is also someone who continually studies and learns new things. He is loved by millions and is one of the most revered Buddhist teachers in the modern world. But he started as an ordinary monk, without a “silver spoon.” Khenpo Tsultrim shines as a Dharma star thanks to his own nobility.
Very recently, an older lama and I were having a conversation about many topics, and he said to me, “This is the time when we need someone like Khenpo Tsultrim more than ever – to remind us what This is the true Dharma. What he said entered my mind, I thought about it and understood what he was saying.
So I would like to say on the occasion of Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro's birthday: may he live long and may his Dharmic aspirations come true. I am also very happy that Tibetan Buddhists consider him a great role model today. His presence reminds us that the true Dharma is alive and well in this world. The divine lamp burns brightly.