I discovered today that imagining Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche is Guru Rinpoche really isn’t that much of a stretch; and actually, to see him as Guru Rinpoche who has power over all appearance and existence is as natural as natural can be. What an extraordinarily charismatic master he is!
And what a memory! The golden nugget of information I managed to squirrel away today is that, in the Nyingma tradition, it’s usual for the master giving the empowerment to get up and go to the students, or to send a suitable deputy (a tulku or a khenpo), to do the necessary with the symbolic empowerment substances. The habit we have these days of shepherding the students up to the master was begun when Dudjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche came to the west. As they were less ambulant than the people on whom they were bestowing empowerments, their students started coming to them. But, as OT Rinpoche pointed out, before then, the opposite was true. And even at the very end of his life, Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö himself always got up and toured the room of recipients at the appropriate times.
Oh yes, and the other delicious crumb that I continue to savour is that when OT Rinpoche received this empowerment from Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, Sogyal Rinpoche (a very small boy at that time) was his assistant! Such ingenious imaginings flooded into my all too vigorous mind when I heard this news—all of them in an atmospheric, grainy black and white, and all of them putting me at centre stage. What a diva!