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Excerpted from The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Copyright 1992 by Sogyal Rinpoche. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"The death of Lama Tseten proved another strong teaching for me."

Sogyal Rinpoche, Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying,
Part 3

After Samten died we set off for Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, a tortuous three-month journey on horseback. From there we continued our pilgrimage to the sacred sites of central and southern Tibet. These are the holy places of the saints, kings, and scholars who brought Buddhism to Tibet from the seventh century onward. My master was the emanation of many masters of all traditions, and because of his reputation he was given a tumultuous reception everywhere we went.

For me that journey was extremely exciting, and has remained full of beautiful memories. Tibetans rise early, in order to make use of all the natural light. We would go to bed at dusk and rise before daybreak, and by first light the yaks carrying the baggage would be moving out. The tents would be struck, and the last ones to come down were the kitchen and my master's tent. A scout would go ahead to choose a good camping place, and we would stop and camp around noon for the rest of the day. I used to love to camp by a river and listen to the sound of the water, or to sit in the tent and hear the rain pattering on the roof.

We were a small party with about thirty tents in all. During the day I rode on a golden-colored horse next to my master. While we rode he gave teachings, told stories, practiced, and composed a number of practices specially for me. One day, as we drew near the sacred lake of Namdrok Tso, and caught sight of the turquoise radiance of its waters, another Lama in our party, Lama Tseten, began to die.

The death of Lama Tseten proved another strong teaching for me. He was the tutor to my master's spiritual wife, Khandro Tsering Chodron, who is still alive today. She is regarded by many as Tibet's foremost woman practitioner, a hidden master who for me is an embodiment of devotion, teaching through the simplicity of her loving presence.

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