We live in an age where the Buddha manifests as spiritual masters who guide us along the path of enlightenment. And what better a representative of this tradition, than His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche? He lived the life of a hermit-monk, and was worthy of being the personal guru to none other than His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In a sense, His Eminence is the one who introduced me to his heart-son Lama Choedak Rinpoche, whom I first met in 2001 during His Eminence's second Australian visit. And here we are, over 16 years later. During this visit I also met Associate-Professor-to-be McComas Taylor, who would later be my Sanskrit instructor at ANU for four years.
I am certain that my life would have unravelled differently were it not for me meeting His Eminence. Along with a number of others in Canberra, I sat at his feet for a couple of weeks in 2001; my strongest memory of this is His Eminence repeatedly bestowing Green Tara empowerments. Anyway, I had just turned 20 years old, and it's difficult for me to express, but during this time, something happened. From then onwards, I slowly began to see the great need for me to learn practicing the Dharma, as well as the possibility of doing so right here in Australia. This wish was later fulfilled when I involved myself in Dharma activities throughout extended residential stays at several of our centres.
The Tibetan word 'Chogye' means eighteen, and the Chogye Trichens received this title due to a Chinese emperor offering eighteen tributes to one of them. 'Trichen' means great throne-holder. The Chogye Trichens, being the heads of the Tsarpa tradition, have a strong link to the Dalai Lamas, which goes back a number of generations.
On an outer level I made a few connections with His Eminence, such as, in 2001, helping to prepare a text for him to read at his bestowing of the Bodhisattva vows in Sydney; in 2003 I scribed in Tibetan calligraphy a request for him to compose a long-life prayer for Lama Choedak Rinpoche, which he fulfilled the next year; I also gave a speech in His Eminence's presence at SIBA's opening in 2006, just months before his passing. In 2007, following his death, I brought back from Nepal to Australia a number of relics made out of his ashes, some of which I expect will be kept inside the reliquary at our planned new Stupa Temple of Peace.
As time goes on, I seem to think more about how His Eminence affected me on an inner level. It was a complete paradigm shift; what more is there to say? No doubt my limited interactions with His Eminence are barely a scratch on the surface of the blessings that he conveyed to others throughout his life. But they are very significant memories for me. In these eleven years since he passed away in miraculous circumstances, I have met a number of other masters who have also since died. Time is running out; however, we all have reason to rejoice in the Dharma connections that we have made so far on this life's journey. And I pray that we can all make the most of these bonds through our shared enthusiasm for gaining further experience in the Dharma. To conclude, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Lama Choedak Rinpoche and the many others, such as committee members, who helped to make His Eminence's visits to Australia a reality. Thankyou.