Did the 16th Karmapa Speak the Language of Birds? --- by Ringu Tulku Rinpoche






Sunrise at Rumtek, and the Karmapa, like the sun, warms the space.
I feel his presence, a radiance and energy that only he can bring,
that draws us to him; his generous kindness. This is my lasting memory;

Those days when he sat all day in audience all day, and the crowds
who came and went; crowds of us; crowds of all races; crowds
of all religions quietly drawn to him.

And he in the midst; a dog and cat asleep at his feet; while on his finger,
attentive and still, as if listening to him, a small bird perched,
unafraid of the people before him, and all beings drawn to him.

When he smiled, then they knew; when he laughed then they knew too
the power of wisdom and compassion. This was his Being.
He was that compassion; his Being his communication and wisdom.

It was said that he taught the birds and that their practice was known
when they died thereafter in Samadhi.
Did he speak to the birds? I wondered.

As for me, I had planned my questions for him, after days of thinking.
Now they seemed nonsense, and vanished like clouds. I just sat
and basked in the warmth of his kindness and his loving radiance.

And so did the Westerners who came, curious about the Tibetans.
Afterwards they too would ask questions and study the Dharma.
They would leave with the knowledge that this was a genuine Master.

Some took Refuge; some took robes; all of them were drawn
to the Path, and this one encounter in the Karmapa's presence
was stronger and more lasting than many long years of teachings.

And what of the birds? Like us they felt the direct power of Wisdom
and the sun-like warmth and energy of Compassion
from their Master and Teacher, the 16th Karmapa.

This Master of communication, who taught us all without language.
He was a friend to all creatures, who were drawn to this great Master.
This was the 16th Karmapa, who taught us all by his Being.

Photo: Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Rumtek Monastery, October 2015


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