Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Rasputin


I
 think this rather faded photo dates from 1987 or 88, and have a feeling it was taken on Rinpoche’s camera. Again, the identity of the photographer is lost in time. Maybe Mal? Or Phuntso? Anyway, it shows Rinpoche during one of his visits to Tibet with a friendly baby yak or dri (or whatever…).

It puts me in mind of a story some friends told, many moons ago, about the time they had the great good fortune to be able to offer Rinpoche hospitality here in Berlin. At that time, these friends lived with a marvellous and very appropriately named cat, Rasputin (Rasputin by name, Rasputin by nature). As far as Rasputin was concerned, my friends were merely his guests and were therefore subject to a fairly lengthly list of house rules. Interlopers were dealt with promptly and firmly, sometimes with double broadsides. I believe one poor woman found large quantities of rather loose cat shit, several fur balls and an ocean of piss in her as yet unpacked suitcase. Rasputin’s judgements were swift and terrible and my friends were not a little concerned in case he took against Rinpoche.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that they had no need to worry. The moment Khyentse Rinpoche crossed the threshold Rasputin claimed him as his own. Rinpoche responded by scooping him up and tucking him into his robes (as Tibetans and Bhutanese do), which was where he stayed throughout the visit. No shit or piss was scattered, no claws extended, and there was absolutely no yowling. Content to nestle in the folds of Rinpoche’s robes, Rasputin purred his way through Rinpoche’s visit…

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