By Ven. Roger Kunsang
I remember a meeting we had with Lama Osel when he was about 12, in Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s room in Lama’s house at Sera Je Monastery in south India. There was some discussion about Lama’s discipline and his attitude to others and his education. Participating were Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Osel, Paco (Lama’s father), Geshe Tsering Tashi (Lama’s attendant, a Kopan monk and now a lharampa geshe), Geshe Thubten Chonyi (manager of Lama Osel’s house, also a lharampa geshe and originally from Kopan) and Geshe Thubten Gyume (also a Kopan monk and lharampa geshe).
One by one each person explicitly listed one thing after another that Lama had either done unsatisfactorily or not at all (except Lama Zopa, who didn’t say anything but just listened).
They did not hold back at all in their criticisms. In fact, at one point I started to feel quite uncomfortable and thought, “This is the kind of thing that could damage a young boy, being so heavy and critical.” Of course, they were not angry or shouting, but just being straight and very direct.
After almost an hour of this detailed criticism of Lama’s performance, everyone had had their say and the room fell silent.
While all of this was being said of him, Lama Osel just sat there with a distant look in his eyes. He seemed calm and relaxed.
Then Lama Osel began his turn by saying, “Yes, and you also forgot the time when I did so-and-so, and another time when I did this wrong …” Lama proceeded not only to remind his elders of mistakes he’d made and they’d forgotten, but he went on to list other things he’d done that they’d never even learned about! When I heard him do this, I thought this is truly the sign of a real lama.
I remember another time when Lama was about 10, he’d been through a very difficult period. I asked him if the time had been difficult for him, and he said, “Very difficult.” I asked him if he wanted to talk about it (thinking it may be good for him if we talked it through), but Lama said, “No, it has finished. It’s past, now I want to do what I have to do.” I was very impressed. He had really let go. He didn’t seem emotional or upset. It was really finished for him and he wanted to move on.Tags: osel hita, ven. roger kunsang