Page 1 of 6
was a bestselling author and rising star of the Buddhist world, but one
day Mingyur Rinpoche just walked out and left it all behind. ANDREA MILLER reports on a modern lama braving the ancient path of the wandering yogi.
old monk Lama Soto knocked on Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s door. Then he
knocked again. It was noon at Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya, India, and
Lama Soto was bringing Mingyur Rinpoche his lunch, just as he’d done for
the past five days, ever since Mingyur Rinpoche had announced that he
was going to intensify his practice and remain alone in his room, eating
only once a day. Their custom was that Lama Soto would knock on the
door; in response, Mingyur Rinpoche would open it a little, then Lama
Soto would walk in. But on this day early last June, Mingyur Rinpoche
did not open the door and no sound came from his room. At one o’clock,
Lama Soto pushed open the unlocked door and on the bed he found a long
white ceremonial scarf and a letter. Mingyur Rinpoche was gone and he
had taken nothing with him—not money, not a change of clothes, not even a
toothbrush. Lama Soto nearly fainted.
letter, written in Tibetan, explained that from a young age Mingyur
Rinpoche had wanted to practice by traveling alone from place to place
in the style of a wandering yogi, and that he’d finally made the
decision to do so. “Though I do not claim to be like the great masters
of times past,” he wrote, “I am now embarking on this journey as a mere
reflection of these teachers, as a faithful imitation of the example
they set. For a number of years, my training will consist of simply
leaving behind my connections, so please do not be upset with my
decision.” He urged his students to continue practicing in his absence
and not to worry about him.
than eight months have passed since Mingyur Rinpoche disappeared, and
still no one knows where he is. Cortland Dahl is the president of the
board of Tergar International, a network of meditation centers and study
groups under Mingyur Rinpoche’s guidance. When I ask Dahl if he has any
guesses regarding his teacher’s whereabouts, he tells me that the short
answer is no, but that there have been rumors.