We received the following letters and pictures from Tashi Lama, Mingyur Rinpoche’s close friend and attendant. When they met last year, Mingyur Rinpoche had just left a strict retreat in Yolmo, a sacred area for retreat located deep in the Himalayas, and was on his way to Dolpo, another sacred area near the border of Nepal and Tibet. Mingyur Rinpoche was stopping for provisions when Lama Tashi spotted him. At the time, Rinpoche was staying in a run down hotel and had very little food or clothing. The sleeping bag and jacket that you see in these pictures were given to Rinpoche by Lama Tashi. At this point in time, we do not know where Rinpoche is or when he will be out of retreat, but judging by his letter, he is healthy and thoroughly enjoying the life of a wandering yogi!
To my dear mother, relatives, monastic community, students, and all those with whom I share a connection,
Due to the blessings of the gurus, I am in good health and not experiencing any obstacles. At present, I am wandering without any fixed location from place to place. Right now I am with Lama Tashi, whom I met unexpectedly. Lama Tashi earnestly asked to accompany me and I accepted his request. He gave me some food, clothing, and other necessities. He also relayed to me both good and bad news, which left me feeling a mixture of happiness and sadness.
Recently, Lama Tashi has been diligently practicing the foundation practices (ngondro) and main practices of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. I myself am wandering without any fixed location, staying in isolated mountain hermitages and other such places. I have experienced feelings of happiness and suffering, rising and falling like waves on the surface of the ocean. At times, food and clothing have been hard to come by and I have felt cold, hungry, and thirsty. Even when I have begged for alms, I received nothing but insults and harsh words. At other times, I have received food and clothing effortlessly, without even asking for them, and in my mind it felt as though I were enjoying the pleasures of the gods. While I have experienced both happiness and suffering, the most important thing is that a deep and heartfelt sense of certainty has arisen in the depths of my being, such that no matter what happens, I know that the true nature of these experiences, their very essence, is that of timeless awareness and vast compassion.
This natural clarity of awareness has been with us from the very beginning. It is the very essence and true nature of our minds. Day and night, it is always present. Therefore, one must maintain the flow of pure awareness to the best of one’s ability, without meditating, yet not getting lost in distraction. Great love and compassion are also innate qualities of our being. All the thoughts, destructive emotions, and suffering we encounter are, in essence, completely permeated by vast compassion. As a sign of this, we naturally wish to enjoy happiness and to be free of suffering. While all beings have great wisdom and compassion, this is not always apparent. This is simply because they have not recognized what they already have. Thus, aside from merely recognizing our own true nature, there isn’t the slightest thing to meditate on. Recognizing the importance of this, I have passed my days feeling joyful and content, wandering through the mountains and valleys and staying here and there. From my heart, I sincerely encourage all of you to practice diligently in this manner as well.
Lama Tashi has now returned to the city with this letter, along with some pictures of my retreat that he requested. I hope you enjoy them. I pray that we meet again before long, gathering together with joy and happiness to enjoy the richness of the Dharma.
January 2nd, 2014