Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Unshakable Demeanor, by Thomas Mayfield

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche
Thomas Mayfield
United States
Over the course of several years spent around Rinpoche, one thing that has remained most prominent is the unchanging manner of Rinpoche's demeanor. The people I encounter in daily life display observable emotional fluctuations. They have happy days and angry days. There are times when they feel like not being around people and times when they need someone to talk to. Rinpoche seems to suffer from none of these imbalances.

This stability is infectious and has an effect on the people around him. On one occasion, Rinpoche was answering questions for a group of foreign students when a student arose and asked for advice on his problems. He then came forward with a list of bad experiences that changed the atmosphere of the room dramatically. His life story was so tragic that it had a visible effect on everyone in the room, just as a Shakespearean actor might bring an audience to tears. I looked at Rinpoche to observe his reaction and saw the same contented smile that I had seen him present to many visitors in the past. This was no special occasion for him.

Rinpoche, after a nod acknowledging the student’s story, proceeded to make tea for everyone. This simple expression of his unmoving mind had an instant effect on the room which seemed, all at once, to exhale and relax.

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