Vancouver 2001

At least, I think that’s where this photo was taken—it’s another of those I plucked from the chaos of yesterday. I honestly don’t remember where we were precisely. We weren’t in Vancouver for an event, just to say hello to Khyentse Rinpoche and have a look at the Sea to Sky retreat centre. It was my first time, and I had just discovered that the flight from Berlin to the West Coast of the Americas is the one that induces the worst possible kind of jet lag.

Rinpoche had been reading A River Sutra by Gita Mehta, so while everyone around me was practising, I read it too, very quickly indeed. As a result I don’t have a very clear picture of the story in my mind any more, but I do remember a suggestion that a character who had been a spiritual teacher was reincarnated as an ecologist. This surprised me, brain-washed as I was to believe that a spiritual teacher is the highest incarnation possible, and once achieved, would be repeated ad infinitum. When I mentioned it to Rinpoche, he said, “I know, but that just shows us so much about ourselves, doesn’t it.”

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