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8. Such Thunderstorm

The late seventies and the eighties saw tremendous deepening and maturation of the teachings and institutions Trungpa Rinpoche laid down. He presented the most refined levels of what he had been taught and had discovered. At times, these teachings could be hard to fathom, but he provided commentary so future generations could follow the footprints and see for themselves what they might reveal. By the end of his life, he had personally conducted thirteen Vajradhatu Seminaries, three-month training programs in the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana teachings. Rigorous periods of all-day practice and study alternated in a way that had no precedent in the traditional training regimens Trungpa Rinpoche learned under. He told some it was his greatest achievement.

In 1987, he died. And we had to let go. His death was commemorated with great pageantry in a high meadow on the Vermont land where his journey in America had begun. Thousands paid tribute. Prominent Tibetan teachers, Zen masters, and other Buddhist teachers he had influenced, artists, poets, and politicians joined students who had walked the many paths he introduced. It was sad, and yet joyful. He left all of himself for all to see. Many more people in the future will derive benefit from his teaching than those who knew him in his lifetime. In his will, he left these parting words:

Born a monk, died a king.

Such thunderstorm does not stop.

We will be haunting you along with the dralas.




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