Lama, the ad-man
Adele Hulse takes us on another mind trip with Lama Thubten Yeshe .
Lama Yeshe was late arriving back at Kopan. A week into the Ninth November Course and he still hadn’t turned up. Finally, early one morning someone ran into the crowded tent calling, “He’s here, he’s here!” Auspicious symbols were quickly laid out in colored chalk on the ground, and everyone lined up, holding incense, khatas, and flowers.
It was halfway through the course when Lama Yeshe came to the tent for a question and answer session. In his opening talk he said, “Well, you’ve come to Asia and some of you are seeking adventures and some have come to hear the gorilla lamas from Tibet.”
Course participant John Douthitt was hearing about karma for the first time. “There was one question about the recent earthquakes in Turkey – why had they happened there, and not elsewhere. Lama read it and started chuckling, then rolling back and forth with laughter. ‘I can’t believe it,’ he said. ‘You’ve set this up for me!’ By this time everyone else in the tent was laughing too, because it was just so wonderful to watch him. Finally, between gasps, he said, ‘Because that is where the pressure is!’ I don’t know why that seemed so special to me, but suddenly I was so impressed. Not only did this man have wisdom, he was not dried up. He was all heart, and spoke in ways we could understand, not in dry philosophical terms.” At the end of the course, John took Rabjung* ordination and the name Pelgye. [*Rabjung ordination is an initial set of monastic commitments given prior to novice ordination.]
Lama Yeshe also impressed a German psychologist. “In his first teaching he mentioned something a friend and I had discussed in private the previous evening. I felt he knew me and accepted me absolutely. One night I was casually studying his profile when I was overcome with chaotic feelings of panic and sexuality. Unable to control these, I began to repeat to myself the Lam-rim outline of how phenomena arise. I suddenly realized that my troubling thoughts had arisen from my mind alone, and had no independent existence. I saw myself as transparent, free and light. I finally dared to look at Lama again, and in that moment he turned his head and smiled at me – as if he knew exactly what had been happening.”