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Hello. I am Carola Wersing Strauss and am searching for my birth father, Ivo Bischof who is mentioned in the article entiitled "Redeeming the Land." Do any of you know if he is still live? He would now be 82. If he is not alive, when and where did Ivo die? I am working on my genealogy and would like to know. My email address is

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. Carola Wersing Strauss

David Berry (guest) 20 Aug 2010 15:38
in discussion Forum / Per page discussions » Morning Coffee

Yes we learning some things.

by David Berry (guest), 20 Aug 2010 15:38
David Conway (guest) 03 Jun 2010 18:21
in discussion Forum / Per page discussions » Morning Coffee

How completely pointless!

Did you learn anything?

by David Conway (guest), 03 Jun 2010 18:21

A CRYSTAL COLLECTION: The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project
David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)
Website: <>

Stardust - Graydon Clipperton
Guru Mind - Gail Angevine

- Graydon Clipperton (Toronto)

I was fifteen. It was springtime in 1969. I was exploring, energized and with lack of direction, found and made up what I could. I knew the realization of mustard seed and mountain through direct experience and had no discipline, no full knowledge of what to do with it, if anything.

My sister, Deborah, told me about this "guy" who gave teachings and could give personal mantras. I thought that's just what I need. One day I went with her to a house, somewhere in Toronto. There seemed to be a bunch of cool people and the atmosphere felt familiar. I remember him, "The Bhikkhu" as he was called; remember feeling good, and that this was important. And then I didn't pursue him, but pursued the teachings.

Twenty-seven years later, after marriage, four children, several professions and much life experience, my wife heard that a teacher was going to be nearby and we decided to go. It felt like it was not a choice.

The event was in a private house in Oak Ridges, again in springtime. People sat everywhere, some people seemed to know each other, and a spot appeared to be reserved. I recognized him when he entered and turned to my wife and said, "I think I've seen this fellow before".

My insides fell into place. It was beyond relaxing, beyond knowledge, and my inside stories drifted and dispersed. The Rinpoche instructed that we were made of stardust, billion of years old, and that a lot of work had gone into preparing us ~ who we are today. "So, get it right!" he exclaimed. Everything vibrated in my body and I knew he had gotten it right.

He was truly one of the most encouraging, loving, compassionate and correct people I've ever met. He ordained me later that year, continued to give instruction through his remaining years, including telling me all too clearly to teach dharma; and I continue to revere him and the teachings every day.

May all our joys multiply to all ends of the universe.


- Gail Angevine [BC]

I was not intending to write a story. But the process of reading the stories of others must have raised the question in the depth, because the following story emerged one day quite unbidden by the conscious mind. Upon reflection, I realized that this story conveys the essence of what Namgyal Rinpoche was to me and why he affected my life in such a profound way.

One day after class, I approached Rinpoche to ask him a question and due to crowded conditions stood closer to him than I normally would. In so doing, I spontaneously entered his energy field. There was a sudden and dramatic expansion in my consciousness and to my surprise, I found myself viewing a brilliant star in an infinitely expanding galaxy. A brief but powerful moment of revelation. A direct seeing of Guru mind ~ a jewel-like consciousness of inconceivable vastness and profundity, unimpeded and totally open, uncompromisingly awake, embracing the totality of creation in the one heart.

This is what he so skillfully and compassionately transmitted through his teaching and his presence. Constantly reminding us that this is what is possible. Constantly admonishing us to relinquish our clinging to our tight secure ego cocoon. To wake up! To break the chains! To make the determination to join him in his glorious and unending dance with the universe. "Utterly free bliss emptiness, the great self liberation of whatever arises". [From: "Sadhana of Mahamudra", Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche].


Over the last year we have been gathering and sharing
insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche (1931-2003),
his teachings, and the experiences of students as we
prepare to publish a book, an anthology based on these
stories, many of which are posted on the Web at

This is a non-profit project, and subsequent revenue
from book sales will be donated to a Namgyal centre
or cause.

As of March 21st this newsletter will cease. Perhaps
temporarily.. since readers have expressed some
dismay.. as we turn our attention to preparing the book
for publication, which shall be announced, hopefully
later this year, to everyone who has been receiving
this newsletter.

Contributions of stories, comments, and queries about
the CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT are still welcome.
Please send them to the Editor: <ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar>.
Thank you!

E-Post #31, 19 March 2009 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 20 Mar 2009 06:51

A CRYSTAL COLLECTION: The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project

David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)


Instructing The Teacher - Matt Wright
Morning Coffee - Lisa Elander
The Rolling Rinpoche Gathers No Dross - Melodie Massey


- Matt Wright

Once upon a time whilst Rinpoche and Terry were visiting
Anne-Marie and I in South Florida, we decided to take a
drive to the Everglades. Once there, and after quite a
humorous "short" walk to a viewing spot where a variety of
birds and creatures were displaying, we quickly galloped
back to the car with a squadron of aggressive summer
mosquitoes hot at our heels and heads. All but Terry, who
was displaying his Canadian toughness by taking his time!

We then drove to the visitor centre where Rinpoche said he
would wait for us in the car while we collected information
from the park rangers. Before leaving the car, Terry showed
Rinpoche how to operate the controls of the air-conditioner
and affirmed that it would soon 'kick-in'.

Upon our return we noticed Rinpoche sitting there streaming
with perspiration and we asked, "What happened?"

He calmly answered, "I'm waiting for the 'kick-in'."

The ignition key had been turned to keep the fan running,
but the engine was off, so no air-conditioner.


- Lisa Elander

In Cuzco, which was one of the sites for a six-week retreat
in Peru, Rinpoche came to the house each morning when he
was in that city. (The other site was in the Urubamba Valley).
One morning he asked me to make him a cup of coffee. I went
to the kitchen.

In Peru, there was only one way to make coffee: with boiled
water, instant coffee, sugar (if taken), and powdered milk.
I made him the usual cup of coffee and took it back out.
He took one sip and spat it out all over the floor.

He said it was disgusting, that I did not even know how to
make a decent cup of coffee, and then lit into me, tearing
me to shreds as only he could do. I spent the rest of the
day in despair, crying on and off, trying to understand what
this was all about.

The next morning he came again, looked at me, and asked me
to make him a cup of coffee.

With a feeling of dread I returned to the kitchen and looked
carefully at the ingredients for making coffee: boiled water,
instant coffee, white sugar, and powdered milk. So I made
exactly the same cup that I had made the day before and
offered it to him with great trepidation.

He smiled, took it, said, "Thank you", and drank it without
a word. ('Fifty blows if you do fifty blows if you don't').


- Melodie Massey

Then there was the Sahara trip. Rinpoche decided he was going
to learn to drive the car. Terry took him down to a flat part
of the desert where we had spent the night, so there was
nothing to crash into. I don't think it was very successful
but at least he tried.

Later, we were standing at the top of a sand dune when
suddenly Rinpoche crouched, curled up into a ball and rolled
all the way to the bottom. He was amazing. He went flying
down. We all tried but could not roll the way Rinpoche did.
Even Terry, much younger, was nothing like Rinpoche who was
so unbelievably flexible.

We also had to bury our poop because in the desert nothing
disintegrates. So when someone had a shovel you knew what
was happening.

Sitting here now at the age of 86 so many things are
popping into the mind that were wonderful experiences.
However the most WONDERFUL experience of all is that
there is no separation from Rinpoche.

This is just one of many stories for the record.
I continually feel blessed to have so many marvellous
beings in my life who have guided and been a part of
this incarnation. I just pray that the next time around
the formation can be of benefit to more beings.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Our story titles are not carved in stone, and
often they have not been suggested by the authors themselves.
They are mostly off-the-cuff, bidden by the Editor's muse
of the moment. Stories published in the final book will have
titles agreed upon by their authors and the editors.


Over the last year we have been gathering and sharing
insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche (1931-2003),
his teachings, and the experiences of students as we
prepare to publish a book, an anthology based on these
stories, many of which are posted on the Web at

This is a non-profit project, and subsequent revenue
from book sales will be donated to a Namgyal centre
or cause.

As of March 21st we will no longer be seeking contributions
and this newsletter will cease. However, the publication of
the book will be announced, hopefully later this year, to
everyone who has been receiving this newsletter.

Contributions of stories, comments, and queries about the
CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT are still welcome. Please send
them to the Editor: <ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar>.

Thank you!

E-Post #30, 07 March 2009 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 09 Mar 2009 14:47

A CRYSTAL COLLECTION: The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project

David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)


Building a Bridge to Transcendence

Namgyal Rinpoche's Nature Course
Dharma Centre of Canada, July 3, 1996

- David Berry

The class sat in silent meditation. We rose to our feet as one
as we heard the sound of the Volkswagen on gravel as it approached
the Temple from the Main House.

The car stopped at the foot of the hill and the Venerable Karma
Tensin Dorje Namgyal Rinpoche came up the wooden stairs. A student
opened the screen door for him and he stepped in, slipped off his
sandals and walked to his chair at the front of the room. A mug
of hot tea and a flowering plant waited on the table beside him.

He began with the opening dedication three times, “Namo tassa
Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa”, (Homage to the Blessed One,
the Purified One, the Fully Enlightened One).

He took a sip of tea and we settled back down on our cushions.

Rinpoche then began his discourse.


“The trouble with you’se…, you see I start with verbal abuse.
Westerners want to start with exotic inner planes in meditation
and those planes are there and are magnificent but inevitably
there are imbalances to be dealt with first.

You live in cities but the ancients lived in forests, in Nature.
You whirl about in “motorcars” as in "Wind the in the Willows"
and eat fast foods and hear sounds not of nature but of machines
and heavy metal. I’m not sure you have a sufficient bridge to
the outer.

You are not the Native people. In general, men were hunters;
women were gatherers. Now we neither hunt nor gather. We don’t
pay attention to our environment or surroundings. We attempt to
do work on the inner without a balancing revelation of the outer.
Ancient peoples hiked from place to place for nine months. Even
in Tibet, people travelled vast miles on foot, trading, gathering
salt, and making pilgrimages. The average Guatemalan Indian way
of approach to Dharma is very different, more introverted, and
pushing into sensational functions. Most people should not
attempt to push hard in the inner until they do work on the

As some classical Buddhist teachings begin, ‘Having gone to the
forest or the foot of a tree.. ’ they established mindfulness of
the breathing in front. Start with outer mandalas, building with
hands, flowers, or minerals. On their alms round the monks would
use everything they found: a piece of plastic, embryo of dog,
enriching in each little moment. Those of you who are desirous
of revelations on the inner plane should do more work with the
outer. There are spiritual books that mention clouds within us.
It would be better to learn ten types of real clouds: cirrus,
stratus, cumulus..

Eyes are designed to look out, to see the patterns. If I could
have my way with you, I’d order you to take a safari or go
immediately to the Antarctic. “Oh no! Not Scuba!” you say. You
have the wish-fulfilling jewel. If the proper motivation is
there, all will be granted unto you. Have faith.

The Grand Canyon will open the canyons within. The Antarctic,
Arctic, and Amazon provide a mosaic of enlightenment through
adventure. I’m not a Luddite ~ your work-places are fine, even
work with computers is better with a sense of the outer patterns.

You have a distorted view of sexuality and the body. Have you
even watched an animal mate or seen how mating pervades the
universe from the birth of kittens to the eggs of a moth? You
need a deeper changing view of all activity and patterns.

I’m getting nasty now.. you are a klutz. A French lady travelling
all over Africa ordered two fried eggs every day for breakfast.
Americans order bacon and eggs and steak in China. You live by
rote, rote, rote and you wonder why your meditation is so gray.

You can practice different kinds of meditation:
1. Totality
2. Sunyata or emptiness
3. Mind Only

You can also dare to have something different to eat in the
morning. What is your mind feeding on?

Even nuns in Bhutan haven’t had so many wongkurs or empowerments
as you have like the Green Tara we will give this week. They
would give their eye teeth for this and you pick your teeth with
it. Aum Ah Ho: Welcome everyone to the feast, the festival. I
wonder if in these lessons I am casting pearls before swine to
trample underfoot.

Jehovah prepared a great banquet before Paul. Like “Thai food”
would be for you. “Essensie sus kind - Please eat sweet child.”
“No, it’s not kosher”. “Essensie sus kind, Essensie.” Again there
was resistance. It’s doing a number, the way we divide it up:
I do this but not that. I eat this but not that. “What God has
called to be clean, call ye not unclean” and Paul ate. Like the
monks on the alms round take what is given in life. Don’t say,
“I don’t look at fungus, I don’t explore those smells, I don’t
eat that food”. Experience!

Were it not for unclean things, life could not exist. Food is
poop and poop is food for something else. The human stomach is
strong; we can eat many things. But cats, for example, are picky
eaters. So you are losing your humanity as the food allergies
show up. I mean that literally. Humans eat eggs, milk, meat; we
have a versatile stomach.

As you go into more restricted diets you limit your experience.
One third of the humans in Ireland died when the potato crop
failed. The natural instinct of humans is to go for variety.
Variety is the mosaic feed to enlightenment. If you do not have
the inner plane open you haven’t looked out.

We say, “As above, so below; as without, so within.” The ancient
Greeks said, “Look within”. They had already searched the without.
They would lie in a trough with water showers at the seven chakras,
(a symbolic baptism), and participated in sports at the gymnasium
for health of the mind and body.

In the Greek Mysteries candidates wore white robes and climbed a
spiral staircase. They stopped at a cliff, then were lifted to the
Elysian fields above, fields filled with flowers. They were lifted
by a great red double-helix cord to that symbol of a higher plane.
The spiral was used again: as an aspirant ascended, on the spiral
they would pass niches or grottos. Their hood would be winked up
for just an instant so they would see the figures of the archetypes
or a vignette of a teaching. This is just like Tibetans who flash
the card at you with an image of the deity during a wongkur. With
the hood lifted, the tableau appears just for an instant and the
image goes to the depth awareness. The spiral staircase is the
secret staircase. Yes, DNA is life on Earth. It is not helpful to
say “I read the book”. You need real experiences.

The other side of the portal looks outside. How can you experience
the inner without the experience of Nature? Having received the
gift of the senses, use them.

Your whole day is spent on business, salaries, and interpersonal
affairs. Your eyes face forward. You spend your life ignoring
ignorance. Eighty percent of human life is discursive fantasy. Not
only is life but a dream, you’re making it a dream as you merrily
row your boat, oblivious to the world around you. You could fill
the world with a large computer that would not be equal to your
brain. With that great inheritance, what data are you running
through your brain? “Bacon & eggs, bacon & eggs, kibble & bits.”
You are in Sunday school: a little Tibetan picture of self-arising
yoga and front-arising yoga. You really think enlightened beings
need to come to you in Tibetan form or some other specific form?
I’ve got news for you: you don’t even get the news.


The NEWS is experience in all directions.

You are nit-picking nitwits. Pay attention to details. You look
for the wind in the inner space and haven’t even seen the wind in
the tree. Go to a mountain and feel the wind. Don’t you dare put
an umbrella over me! I want to feel the rain, little warm drops
or big splats. That’s how the teaching is delivered by the way,
in drops or splats.

To get pure within, get pure food in so you can purify. Your
problem is retention. You try to hold onto the memories rather
than obtaining new experience. My beef with dharma practitioners
is that you neither hunt nor gather. You turn dharma into a group
of sickies and say, ‘Heal me, heal me.’ This is a Dharma Centre
not a Drama Centre! Jesus said, ‘Arise. Take up your bed and walk.’

Get up and do what humans are supposed to do. Your behavior
disgusts me. For progress on the path we have to work, to struggle.
Stop this number of, ‘It’s all an illusion, you know’. The only
thing that is an illusion is you.

You say, ‘My mother did this, my father did that.’ If someone
really wanted to hear, you wouldn’t let him or her hear. ‘Arise.
Take up your bed and walk.’

Look at Stephen Hawking. Look at the power there is through all
those handicaps to keep probing the universe. Give up the view
that the life of Dharma is the life of therapy. Stop this defeated
thing of alcohol. Yes, I know you are still drinking! This is a
conceit. This is the last place you should be. Remember the Fifth
Precept about training yourself to avoid liquor and drugs that
cloud the mind. Get out of all this! Society is full of drugs.
Take up thy bed and walk!

But you say, ‘We’re abused, we’re the victim.’ That’s tough!
There are only two choices: Victim of life or Victor of life.
We are hurled from the womb and hurled to the tomb. You can lie
down and wait or you can get on with it! That’s life and you
have to get engaged.

If you don’t change your diet, you will end up with Norwegian
food. Recipe: put fish in water, put fire under; if you are
feeling wild, add salt. If you are feeling really wild, add

Awakening is not fixing sickness or therapy. Within this
fathom-long body there is a universe arising. If you are
in the Dharma, you are not dependent on praise or criticism;
not going from doctor to doctor. This is not just an act of
desperation; it is an act of silliness. It is ignoring
experience. How silly to run from pillar to post!

If what I am saying is offensive, forgive but don’t forget
~ use it. The minutes are going by; everything you find on
the path even a pebble is an advance. Get a big appetite.
All things live by nutriment. All things, all experiences
sustain your life. If you reduce the diet of humans, the
species will go extinct.

So much energy goes into the maintenance of the false self.
If you can hear me, just go out and start looking at the
patterns. I’m tired of teaching today. On one course we had
eight students and seven different diets. That is self-
indulgence; it would never happen in a monastery. However,
I must have hope. The seed of the flower can growth through
concrete. Watch for the dreadful Thump! ~ the thunderbolt
that annihilates the rock.

You’re not worthy to be addressed and given an exercise.
I should not come here. I should leave the dead to bury the
dead. Jesus said the barren fig tree is cursed.

Look at nature, look at the patterns."


Rinpoche gave a closing blessing, “Idam te punna-kamman
asawakaya wayham hotu.” By the merit of this strengthening
activity, may there be cessation of all defilements.

He looked down and said, “It must be the black shirt
I wore today!”

I rose, applauded and shouted, “BRAVO!”

Rinpoche held up his arms as if he were ducking tomatoes,
walked to the front door of the temple, slipped on his
sandals and left.


Over the last year we have been gathering and sharing
insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche (1931-2003),
his teachings, and the experiences of students as we
prepare to publish a book, an anthology based on these
stories, many of which are posted on the Web at

This is a non-profit project, and subsequent revenue
from book sales will be donated to a Namgyal centre
or cause.

As of March 21st we will no longer be seeking contributions
and this newsletter will cease. However, the publication of
the book will be announced, hopefully later this year, to
everyone who has been receiving this newsletter.

Contributions of stories, comments, and queries about the
CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT are still welcome. Please send
them to the Editor: <ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar>.

Thank you!

E-Post #29, 27 Feb 2009 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 02 Mar 2009 05:51

A CRYSTAL COLLECTION: The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project

David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)

Redeeming The Land - Sonam Gyatso
Ikebana - Elizabeth Berry

Redeeming The Land (1966)
- Sonam Gyatso

While I was teaching in Toronto, the Bhikkhu was still in Scotland.
He had been pushing very hard for us to buy land for a meditation
centre, so I went up to Kinmount with Ivo Bischof, (later the Chair
of the Dharma Centre), and found a 400-acre property for sale at
$4,500. I wrote a letter to the Bhikkhu and said we found a property
for so much with so many acres and so on, then mentioned that it had
"a beaver dam (= swamp)". I wasn’t too impressed with the beaver dam.

The next thing I knew, the Bhikkhu flew back early from Scotland and
the first thing he said was, "I want to go up and see this property".
So we drove up to Kinmount. We walked onto the property and went down
the trail (past where the temple is now), crossed the little creek at
the bottom of the hill, and as we were going up the hill to the open
field, two deer leapt out of the bushes and ran across the open space.
Returning to the main house (such as it was), the Bhikkhu said to me,
"We're going to buy it". We immediately drove back with the realtor to
Bobcaygeon, where the Bhikkhu sealed the deal, pulling $500 out of his
pocket as a down payment.

We never did have a mortgage because we formed a Trust and individuals
put up five hundred or a thousand dollars and made up the $4,500
immediately, and the property was bought in the name of the Dharma
Centre. The Bhikkhu later said the reason that he bought the property
was that Tony had said, "There's a beaver dam". Seeing the dam, he
knew that was what he wanted.

The main house, "such as it was", was a totally derelict log house -
no roof, no foundation, no doors or windows. No hydro, no running water,
no well, no toilets! No nothing! But hey! the Bhikkhu just loved those
old logs!

The property was an abandoned mink farm which had seen much slaughter
of mink, and the buildings were derelict. There were no birds anywhere.
The Bhikkhu said, "We are going to redeem this property. When the birds
come back we will have redeemed it". And they did.


- Elizabeth Berry

I first met Namgyal Rinpoche at a two-week retreat which he named
"Trance or Transcendence", (summer 1993?). Being new to this school,
and not a regular practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, I wondered what
I needed to do to get the maximum benefit from the experience and
how to incorporate it into my daily life.

Each day before Namgyal gave a talk, I walked the woods and fields
around the Centre gathering flowers and other objects of beauty to
make a composition to put next to his chair. I had studied flower
arrangement for many years, and Japanese flower arrangement, Ikebana,
in particular, so working with the local materials was a true pleasure
for me.

One day during his talk Namgyal looked at my arrangement and said,
"This isn't Ikebana". Then he looked again and said, "Yes, it could
be Ikebana. Ikebana is a complete spiritual path, the practice of
which can lead to enlightenment". I knew he was talking to me and
nearly fell out of my chair.

A few days later, I had an interview with him during which I asked
him for a practice. I realized that many people who practice Tibetan
Buddhism do 100,000 prostrations, or mantras or complicated
visualizations. I honestly wasn't attracted to doing any of these
things, but had such great admiration for Namgyal, I was willing to
follow his advice.

He advised me to learn an ancient Theravadin Buddhist practice of
making flower mandalas. I learned the practice and have since shared
it with others. Upon learning of his death, I dedicated a flower
mandala to him and experienced his presence very strongly as I was
working with it. The message he conveyed to me is that this sacred
energy would always be available to me through flowers.

This is a non-profit publishing project, initially aimed at stirring up
memories and sharing insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche, his
teachings, and the experiences of students. From the materials gathered
a book will be prepared for publication, with any subsequent revenue
being donated to a Namgyal centre or cause. Quotes from this remarkable
Teacher and notes from his talks are of special interest, while the
inclusion of date, time, and place would help us establish a chronology
and context. Please send contributions of stories, comments, and queries
about the CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT to the Editor: <ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar>.

To unsubscribe, please reply to sender with the message "UNSUBSCRIBE".

E-Post #28, 15Feb009 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 16 Feb 2009 07:24

A CRYSTAL COLLECTION: The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project
David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)

Safari - Terry Hagan
Last Encounter - Mala Sikka

- Terry Hagan

I first met Namgyal Rinpoche in my early twenties and was immediately struck by his presence and naturalness. There seemed to be nothing that escaped his awareness and he was completely at home with all that occurred around him. This casual relaxed attitude was combined with an imposing stature arrayed in a wool shirt and a sweat-soaked Australian hat. Could this be a recognized incarnation of a Tibetan lama? I was completely sold and spent the next 27 years as his attendant following him and his teaching around the world

My most inspired memories of him were not dramatic events, but rather the quiet moments when he would reveal things with the twinkle of an eye or gesture or perhaps a few words. These moments alas do not transcribe well into words so instead I offer a small story which has stuck with me through the years.

In the early predawn light of East Africa we scrambled out of bed, downed a cup of morning tea, and jumped into our waiting Land Rovers. We were about to descend over 600 meters into one of the wonders of the world, Ngorongoro Crater.

We cruised the switchback roads down the inside of the crater, our headlights shining as we rounded the hairpin turns while dawn brought a red glow to the horizon. Just as we reached the base of the crater the sun rose, revealing the incredible scene that opened up before us. We were entering a vast plain of almost 250 square kilometers filled with wildlife. Up to 25,000 animals live in the crater with thin brush and trees. The early light cast long dark shadows in the trees and we watched with amazement, as suddenly what appeared to be shadows started moving and became a herd of zebras. Their amazing bold stripes, so obvious when you see a zebra in the open, were perfect camouflage in the dawn light.

As we progressed through the crater we began to see many other animals: gazelles, bat-eared fox, wildebeest, impala, a flock of ostriches, all bathed in that glorious golden morning light. Suddenly we were faced with a young rhino. Irritated by the sound of our engine and our unfamiliar smell he threw caution to the wind and charged at our vehicle, sending us roaring off past a family of wart-hog piglets running behind their mother with her uplifted tail.

Meanwhile, during our safari I had been studying wildlife books and had gotten fairly good at identification. I was standing up through the open top of the Land Cruiser scanning the horizon with my binoculars and proudly telling Rinpoche what was around. As we were seeing things I was calling out names and Rinpoche would point to things and ask me what it was. I would say “That is a Thompson’s gazelle, or that’s a hartebeest and so on. This went on and on and then, in the distance Rinpoche spotted something sticking up from the long golden grass and asked, “What’s that?”

I looked with my binoculars and saw what appeared to be a curved branch attached to part of a fallen tree. “Oh it’s just a dead log, Sir,” I said assuredly. He looked at it some more and the driver looked at it, and finally Rinpoche said, “No, I don’t think it is.”

I said “No Sir, I’m very sure that is just a log”, thinking ‘I’m spotting up here and I've got the binoculars’.

He said, “We-ll let’s go check it out anyway,” and to my chagrin we drove over to look to
have a look.

As we got near, the shape was transformed into a wildebeest lying on its side with one curved horn sticking up in the air. Lying in front of it, holding on with her teeth was a lioness still panting from the exertion of the chase. On the other side of her, we saw three young lion cubs sitting there as well. Rather than feed herself, the panting lioness chewed open the belly of the wildebeest. The guts spewed out and the young cubs went in there with their faces as deep as they could go. As we pulled up, the three cubs turned to look at us like cute little kids with chocolate pudding all over their faces. They were enjoying busily lapping up the hot blood coming from the belly of the wildebeest. We were awestruck by the scene in front of us less than ten feet away.

In the back seat was Chorpel, an older student of Rinpoche, who was mesmerized by the
scene. Intrigued but at the same time repulsed, she had splayed her fingers across her face
repeating, “I can't look, I can't look”. She was however indeed looking with staring eyes
through the spaces between her fingers. (Why are we so afraid to look at things that we find shocking or disturbing yet find an overwhelming compulsion to stare at them anyway?)

Rinpoche turned and began to chuckle at this humorous situation in the back seat, then
caught my eye and seemed to say, “So what is your view.” My mind reeled with the enormity of all the views shifting through my mind. First of all I had had a view that I could express as “I know where it’s at, I know where we're going, I know what that curved shape is.” But when we got there, the reality was completely different. Witnessing this event there was a juxtaposition between the unfortunate death of the wildebeest and the care taken by the panting lioness as she cared lovingly for her offspring. Without food those young cubs would not survive. Where is the higher view? Is it compassion for the poor wildebeest or compassion for the young cubs or both?


Last Encounter With A Great Mind
- Mala Sikka

In October 2003 Rinpoche gave his last teaching in Britain. He taught the “Three Points That Strike To The Vital Essence”: recognition, confidence, and application or putting it into practice.

When he came out of the class he would stand around and chat with people. He was standing there on a chilly day with some wind and rain as there often is in Britain. He
was chatting and at the same time trying to put on his coat. He was having some difficulty getting his arm in the sleeve. Immediately I thought I should help him and then I thought, “I can't”. I looked at him and thought, “No, no, no, I can't possibly touch the Lama. He’s a monk and you know you don’t touch him.”

He looked at me and it was like, “Oh-oh, I got that wrong” and immediately got the message, “Go forth! Do not hesitate!”

So I took the coat and he offered me his arm, then he made it very difficult for me to put his coat on. He was goofing around and making it even more difficult for me, but finally he allowed me to succeed in helping him. He gave me a smile and I realized it was very simple. He read the mind and it was for me the last teaching, just “Do not hesitate. Any time it comes into the mind to help, go forth, don’t stop yourself.” There were no words spoken, it was just a look in the eye and a little twinkle and the information that came through was just to act on your instinct, not just your animal instinct but your deeper intuition. With putting on the coat he was silently teaching the Three Points: recognition, confidence, and putting it into practice. This was a lesson for me in not hesitating.

When he got in the car I frowned and he looked at me and said, “Oh, we have a little tikka in front of the Mala Sikka.”

Tikka is the mark on the forehead of the Hindus in India, but I was actually frowning, reflecting on the depth of what had just happened. He called my frown a tikka. What the tikka means depends on context but generally it is a positive mark that represents the divine eye.


This is a non-profit publishing project, initially aimed at stirringup memories and sharing insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche, his teachings, and the experiences of students. From the materials gathered abook will be prepared for publication, with any subsequent revenue being donated to a Namgyal centre or cause. Quotes from this remarkable Teacher and notes from his talks are of special interest, while the inclusion of date, time, and place would help us establish a chronology and context. Please send contributions of stories, comments, and queries about the CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT to the Editor: ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar .

To unsubscribe, please reply to sender with the message "UNSUBSCRIBE".

E-Post #27, 04Feb009 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 09 Feb 2009 19:00

In footnote #2, Fantastical, I removed two broken links to The existing page does not seem to correspond. Perhaps some one else knows a better link?

by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 22 Jan 2009 06:34

A CRYSTAL COLLECTION: The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project
David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)
Website: <>

Connecting with The Teacher -o- Roslyn Langdon
Le Gourou farmineux -o- Jangchoub Reid

- Roslyn Langdon (England)

"If you want to learn to practise meditation come to Canada in the Summer
for a three week's meditation course at the Dharma Centre."

These were the words of Namgyal Rinpoche in the spring of 1974 at the Kham
Tibetan Centre in Saffron Waldron where I had driven from London to meet
him. I immediately booked a flight to Toronto at the end of July for myself
and eighteen-year-old daughter, Melanie.

Two weeks before we were to leave, a group of Rinpoche's students began
arriving at my flat in London. Amongst them were Cecilie Kwiat, Eric Hearn
(Tarchin), and Anna (Wangchuk).

"Why are you going to Canada when the Rinpoche will be coming to England?"
they asked me. As the Teacher had instructed me to go to Canada, I saw no
reason to change my plans. Leaving the students installed in my flat,
Melanie and I arrived at Marie and George Ghent's apartment in Toronto,
and waited for news of the Rinpoche and commencement of the course.

It came in the form of a phone call from London - the teacher was giving a
ten-day teaching there in my flat! Here was I several thousand miles from
home, awaiting my first meditation course.. which was already taking place
in my own home. All I could do was laugh and consider that this must be the
loosening-up process I needed before learning to meditate.

I had never been to the New World before, so Melanie and I set off for New
York, arriving at Grand Central Station on the day Richard Nixon resigned.
From there we took a bus to Vermont, visited a friend in Halifax, Nova
Scotia, and then back to Toronto.

Still no news of the Rinpoche, so I decided to visit the Dharma Centre.
Being young and healthy I mucked in collecting wood from the forest, and
helped paint the exterior of the temple. After a week, during which time
there were rumours of Rimpoche's boat arriving soon in Montreal,I returned
to Toronto and Cecilie's house, to be met by the words, "You might as well
turn right around as Rinpoche will be at the Centre tomorrow morning"!

We spent that night informing people and booking a couple of busses to
take us early the next morning.

After a short ceremony with a lot of excited and happy students, I met
the Teacher on the steps leaving the temple, and expressed my pleasure
at the use of my flat for his teachings. I was expecting some words of
thanks, but he only asked how much longer I was staying. I was due to
fly back home in three days.

"Then I'll arrange a blessing for you tomorrow in Toronto so you can go
ahead and practise".

The following day I joined about a hundred others at Chorpel’s house,
(I had thought this was to be a blessing just for me!), where we received
a Chenrezig wongkur. Thus commenced a 30-year life-changing relationship
with the Teacher.

The next time I visited the Dharma Centre was October 2003 to receive my
yidam empowerment from the Rinpoche.. that of Garuda, part of the Healing
Triad. Once again he wasn't there as he had passed away a few days before
in Switzerland. Instead, I found myself taking part in that great moving
memorial to his life, before gratefully later receiving the empowerment
from Lama Sonam Gyatso.


- Jangchoub Reid (France)

Le Grand Maître Namgyal Rinpoché is, at once a fantastical [2] guru
and also a very human being.

I deliberately use the present tense because he lives on, so vividly
in all of us, n'est-ce pas?

I use the word fantastic because I loved the way he would play with
words and languages and the roots of linguistic meaning during his
discourses; and the etymomogy for "fantasy" is so fantastic, (see

I say fantastic [3] because there was already, well before his dying,
a vibrant mythology building up around his various exploits with
students; stories so extreme as to challenge belief; and yet that's
what he did, constantly - challenge our beliefs - about everything.

For me, since the beginning, every Dharma discourse with the Rinpoché
was an empowerment. Nevertheless, in the naivety of youth, I once
asked, "Rinpoché, sir, would you please give the wongkur of White

"I Never give wongkur!!" was the short, sharp, thunderous response;
and following in a softer tone, "The Deity gives the wongkur".

"I have no name. I'm sunyata, (emptiness; the spacious openness of
interbeing) plus whatever you or anyone else wants to project" [4].
For me, this extraordinary declamation, recorded by Tarchin Hearn,
reveals the freedom of the Rinpoché and simultaneously exposes the
myriad fantasies we have of him.

For me, however, it was in the quiet moments when he was most
ordinary, not doing anything spectacular, that the most profound
transmission of what it means to be fully human, occurred. For

One early morning we were walking along in the quiet dusty desert
streets of Ayers Rock, Australia, attending to the light of the sun.
Just after the glorious sunrise the Rinpoché asked, "Well Reid,
will the sun rise tomorrow?"

For a few seconds the mind went into hologramic superhyperdrive
considering the many possible answers to this tortuously simple
question. Then, equally rapidly a profound spacious tranquillity
opened and I replied simply, "Yes Sir". After a few more dusty
steps he responded, "Fair enough", and so we continued down the
road in silence.

Marked by his extravagant individuality he is the most excellent,
superlative teacher who invites us still, to give up our fantasies
and enter into the light of the real.. in this present moment.
How wonderful!

No Name! Excellent
no name
Presenting a present to
Your mind; a light show
Of uncontrived eccentricity.
"I am light, plus…
Who are you?"

- Jangchoub Reid
la pleine lune, janvier, 2009.


1. adjectif faramineux Familier. Étonnant par son importance.
colossal, effarant, extraordinaire, fantastique, formidable, fou,
gigantesque, gros, incalculable, incroyable, inimaginable, inouï,
phénoménal, prodigieux, stupéfiant, terrible, - familier: astronomique,
énorme, fabuleux, furieux, mirobolant, monstre, monumental:

2. Etymology: Middle English fantastic, fantastical, from Middle French
fantastique, from Late Latin phantasticus, from Greek phantastikos
producing mental images, from phantazein to present to the mind, from
????? <> (phain?), to show in light,
from ??? <
redlink=1> (phôs), light.

3. Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
i. a: based on fantasy <>:
not real, b: conceived or seemingly conceived by unrestrained fancy,
c: so extreme as to challenge belief:
unbelievable <>;
broadly: exceedingly large or great.



This is a non-profit publishing project, initially aimed at stirring
up memories and sharing insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche, his
teachings, and the experiences of students. From the materials gathered a
book will be prepared for publication, with any subsequent revenue being
donated to a Namgyal centre or cause. Quotes from this remarkable Teacher
and notes from his talks are of special interest, while the inclusion of
date, time, and place would help us establish a chronology and context.
Please send contributions of stories, comments, and queries about the
CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT to the Editor: ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar.

NOTE: David is nudging me to wrap this up and get on with the
book, but I don't know.. the stories keep coming in and many
people like getting this newsletter! (And I enjoy doing it).
So, this newsletter might keep coming for a little while yet,
time permitting, as we focus more on actualising the book.

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please
reply to sender with the message "UNSUBSCRIBE".

E-Post #26, 18 Jan 2009 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 22 Jan 2009 06:06

A CRYSTAL COLLECTION: The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project
David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)
Website: <>

A Rose Garden In Assissi -o- Prue Vosper
Faith, Light, Generosity -o- Steven Gellman

- Prue Vosper

I was a student who from the first meeting with Rinpoche would ask
questions. They would pop out of my mouth spontaneously, with no
fear or hesitation. Somehow his presence released that in me. And
the questions weren't always on the subject, nor always with a
respectful attitude, and sometimes he had to stop this in order to
keep his flow.

So one day during a small course in Assisi — I had brought three
people from France after a family disaster, a suicide of a l9-year-
old, but that day they all stayed home and when I arrived for class
alone, he turned to me and said, "Oh, this morning is not for you
today. Go and wait outside!"

Quite a simple and natural thing to say. And why not have a welcome
break from yours truly! But of course it provoked a nest of coiling

I went to the garden with all good intentions, wondering what would
be the most appropriate way to use this time? Well, of course, I
could meditate. Only I couldn't. I kept thinking, "What could he
possibly be talking about this morning that he didn't want me to
listen to? Higher teachings? What was I missing? Why couldn't I be
there? And why, and how, is it that I can't just sit and meditate?"

So I tried enjoying the garden. But it wasn't very interesting, just
roses formally laid out with paths, and I certainly don't remember
the flowers. (Surely they must have been flowering — it was summer-
time?!) As my feet repeated the circuit around the garden I was
hopelessly entangled with these repetitive questions while only a
little distance away the others were enjoying his presence. It was
the most uncomfortable morning of my life. I was excluded, like a
naughty girl at school, only I didn't know what I had done nor why
I couldn't be there. I spent an hour reliving all the feelings of a
four-year-old who has been wrongly — or was it rightly? — accused
of breaking the rules, like ringing the gong too soon before lunch.

Then towards the end of the class, Terry was sent to call me in.
There was no hint of what I had missed nor why I was now allowed to
join the class again. What we witnessed was a simple and novel
strategy for dealing with the student ego. Rather than a back-hander
that would rebound and spread panic and fear throughout the class
and leave the recipient a little (or permanently) bruised, it was
confinement in a garden of roses.


- Steven Gellman

While driving Namgyal Rinpoche between Lake Taupo and Lake Rotoiti,
I became quite concerned about my level of faith and trust in the
Teacher and I voiced it to him, "Sir, I have read the stories of
Milarepa, Marpa, and Naropa and I am struck by their absolute faith
in their Teachers. Maybe because of the modern era we live in, maybe
because of Western society’s individualism, I am finding it quite
difficult. I really wish I could have that kind of faith!"

He answered, "Steven, in this teaching faith comes from experience."

This was during a three-month meditation retreat at Lake Rotoiti,
New Zealand (June - September 1973). The Rinpoche would take a day
off periodically and on this occasion I was his driver and attendant.

We arrived at the hotel on Lake Taupo and I helped him get installed
in his room. Towards evening I knocked on his door to ask him what
he would like for dinner. He said that he would prefer Chinese as
there was a Chinese restaurant not far from our hotel. So I happily

About an hour later I returned with the food and knocked on his door:
silence. I waited and knocked again: silence. I was about to leave
when I thought I heard his voice from afar, "Yes?"

"I have brought your dinner", I answered. As I opened the door I
suddenly experienced a distinct chill in the room temperature. The
room was filled with a cold blue light and was charged with an
otherworldly energy. The Rinpoche was sitting cross-legged on his
large bed. He said quietly, "Leave it there and go." I did.

The next day when driving him I asked, "Sir, what was that?"

He replied, "You aren’t my only students you know."

Another time, around 1970, Rinpoche and a group of his students were
travelling in the Mexican highlands. We were all walking across a
small village square when he spotted an elderly woman in traditional
native Mexican dress sitting on the corner and begging. Rinpoche
immediately took off his hat and went around the group asking us all
to put money into it. If we put in a dollar he would say "more!". In
fact, no matter how much we put in he would ask for more. There were
about 20 of us. When the hat was full he put it before the woman and
indicated, "This is for you". The woman beamed with gratitude and awe.
I don’t imagine that she had ever in her life been supported so



This is a non-profit publishing project, initially aimed at stirring up
memories and sharing insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche, his
teachings, and the experiences of students. From the materials gathered a
book will be prepared for publication, with any subsequent revenue being
donated to a Namgyal centre or cause. Quotes from this remarkable Teacher
and notes from his talks are of special interest, while the inclusion of
date, time, and place would help us establish a chronology and context.
Please send contributions of stories, comments, and queries about the

CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT to the Editor: ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar.

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please
reply to sender with the message "UNSUBSCRIBE".

E-Post #25, 11 Jan 2009 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 22 Jan 2009 05:58

The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project
David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)


Namo Guru Manjughosaya-Namgyal! - Lama Mark Webber
Well Story - Daisy Heisler

Namo Guru Manjughosaya-Namgyal!
- Lama Mark Webber (19Dec2008)

This morning when I woke up, I especially felt the great blessings of Dharma
riches and jewels that were literally pumped into my veins by that great
teacher. In fact, this discovery is a beautiful mystery - that nothing really
got pumped in however much is revealed, and it is available to all; like
pealing back layers of gauze. It brings mist to my eyes to consider how deeply
shaped and influenced I am by his vast mind, ideals, and principles. Like a
bright kernel in my heart and a stupa above my head, I am so often speechless
with joy. He was a big guy in so many ways!

Namgyal Rimpoche was a great father to me, always encouraging my talents, not
letting me slip into what was easy. One day in Norway, when I was 20 years
old, during a walk, Rimpoche asked me what I wanted to be? I replied, "like
you, a meditation master!" He said. "That is OK, but not enough!" For one week,
everyday we would go for a walk. (Perhaps this was the last few years he would
do that: go for walks!) And he would ask me again what I wanted to be. I would
reply, "If not a meditation master, then a such and such". Every walk I would
offer something of my history, another becoming that I could see myself taking
on like a costume: the ‘meditation master’, the ‘doctor’, the ‘acupuncturist’,
the ‘chemist’, the ‘biologist’, etc. And everyday he would say, "That is OK,
good". Then he talked about the occupation’s merits, "But try again!" At the
end of one week, he turned to me and said, "Mark, become no-thing!" My god!
What a momentous instruction! Like a nail driven through a wall. I really
heard it. An instruction I have kept close to my heart.

He was remarkable. A few words of his, here and there, of pith and essence,
support and unsupport, testing and retesting, could shift your being deeply.
He raised the banner of question and determination, challenge and enquiry,
love and wrath, compassion and bright clarity throughout my being. He was
great. He constantly challenged everything - everything you were holding on
to. He always taught and demonstrated the essence, non-clinging awareness,
one minute with fierce determination, the next moment with love and humility,
the next with pride and mystery, then with abandon and humour. Above all he
kept raising the banner of victory for all who had the eyes to see. Namgyal
Rimpoche had the highest of ideals and some quirky notions, some I don’t even
agree with to this day, but that does not matter a drop. What was really
important was that he did not miss a moment of awareness of Dharma, probing
to the very heart of the matter. If you did well, there was always more. If
there were profound experiences, then there were more discoveries to be
unearthed! And so too, he never stopped questing and discovering. That was
so beautiful to witness. I enjoyed watching the joy in his voice and face
when he unearthed another gem of realization, another way to teach liberation,
a new sparkle of the natural state. Namgyal loved to teach, as he said to me
before he died, "That is my duty". He was very compassionate, so awake and
so utterly human.

No phenomena and no Dharma was ever stale to his mind. He had the most
wondrous ability to cut away all chaff and penetrate to the essence. He
drove right to the heart of liberation and understood in a continuous
stream the unity of the path and the fruit, the factors of enlightenment.
He kept raising the banner of victory, often fearlessly, showing the
investigative mind unified with mindfulness and awareness. He was a great
explorer. He blessed everything in his path - sometimes by dissolving
everything in his wake! Yes, he was fearless, he understood that liberation
is not about institution building but both building and dissolving. He
really practised and manifested non-clinging. And that could frighten the
boots off many and bring anger to some! He lived the ancient tradition of
the bhikkhu, the wanderer in search for truth and to teach freedom; always
more discoveries to be made.

Rimpoche did not make it easy for some of us to meditate, but that made us
stronger. He always pointed to awareness, not to the meditation, even while
teaching the most arcane points of technique. He was a tracker and a hunter
of detail to bring out the majesty of God. Rimpoche was a big collector too!
He loved to collect things, so to better gain understanding and share the
amazing splendour of nature and the crafts of beings. He displayed and
discussed the joy of life and the wonders of all that is; detail, detail,
detail. He brought forth a universe of gifts for all manner of people and
creatures to experience, but above all he showed, from the moment I met him,
the vast Guru Mind, Buddha nature.

I remember the first time I met him. In the early 1970s Chorpel Dolma, my
first Dharma teacher invited Rimpoche to bless Savaka House in Toronto.
I was vacuuming and tidying up the teaching space when a tall man entered.
There was instant recognition, a smile and a warm hello, "Oh, you, hello
there". As if we had known each other for many years. But what really struck
me was the feel of his mind in my experience - like water merging with water
it was like tasting a clear bright crystal field. There was no doubt at all
in my mind that this being was highly awake and I wished to study and learn
from him as much as possible. I had been waiting a whole year!

Rimpoche was very human in his quirks and ways, yet with the combination of
extraordinary awakeness, knowledge, and wisdom he was an astonishing presence.
He lived an awake vivid life without stories and rarely referred to his past.
Liberation flowed naturally in his cells. This was a palpable experience for
us and was not something he had to think about. One day, after a class in
Rossland, he turned to me and told me how much he enjoyed teaching from his
direct experience and not having to read, rely on ancient texts or the
writings of other teachers.

His legacy will live on not because of anything particular at all; no
institution, no religious dogma, and no scientific theory. But like a perfume
or essential oil, so gossamer and refined - a legacy and dedication to vast
exploration, to the joy of knowledge and sensing, to discovery, to visiting
all places and worlds, to challenging every idea and tradition, to non-
sectarianism, to fierce or gentle compassion based on realization, to
contemplative mind and continuum of awareness - these are some of the main
notes of the oil that lubricates this precious thread. Like Namgyal Rimpoche,
any attempt to organize, define, ritualize or structure it, will of course
deaden this spirit.

I rarely ever think about what I have learned from Namgyal Rimpoche or
stories about him. Now that I am prompted to do so, a few simple words
emerged. Via this precious transmission I have grown to love blowing the
conch shell of Dharma and discovery, for as many as possible, in the midst
of confusion and misery, joy and laughter.


Well Story
- Daisy Heisler

I was a founding member of the Dharma Centre, a meditation centre in Kinmount,
Ontario. In 1966 We bought four hundred acres of beautiful rolling land with
forest and a small lake, two log cabins needing a lot of repair, and a stone
well that was dry with dead porcupines in it. The well was cleaned and the log
houses were restored to a livable rustic fashion without modern conveniences.
I was chosen to live in the main house with my four children, one just a tiny
baby in cloth diapers, and my partner, Jim Bell. Besides looking after my own
family, my duties were to look after hundreds of people, and Buddhist monks
from Tibet and Thailand, coming and going, making sure they were all fed and
looked after.

The well remained dry. Our only water source for household use, cooking and
washing, was a sparkling, pretty little stream that came out of the ground
like a tiny fountain between some rocks on our land. To get water meant a
long walk hauling the water in jugs or pails far down the road, over a large
hill. One of the meditators suggested a solution to water storage as he watched
me work in the kitchen. He was able to get oak whiskey barrels from the brewery
he worked in. So the barrels arrived and were filled with water from the stream.
Life seemed easier with two large oak barrels of water with taps sitting in my

Then came the weekend a few weeks later that a lot of people arrived and I
cooked meals for them as usual, then they left. I thought it had been a
successful weekend until, during the next week, my teacher, Ananda Bodhi,
told me that many people had become ill after the weekend, and I was blamed.
I was told that I had probably cooked their meals with an improper frame of
mind, causing illness. I knew this was not true and water tests did reveal
mold in the barrels. Then I did become desperate.

I went to the dry well and talked to it. I asked for water. My family slept
in the top floor rooms of the cabin and I was in the habit of looking out
the window to view the countryside first thing in the morning. The next
morning I went to the window as usual, looked out to a beautiful sunshiny
morning and saw the well filled with water.

I ran out to the well filled with so much water that it overflowed, covering
the ground for several feet around. I could not get close. I thanked the well
for the water. I talked to the well about too much water. I told the well I
wanted the water to be about a foot below the top of the stone wall and not
all over the ground.

The very next morning I looked out the window again and saw that the ground
was dry around the well. I ran out to the well and sure enough, the ground
was dry around the well and the water level was exactly as I had requested.
But I looked at the water and it looked a little dirty with dry leaves and
bits of dirt floating on top. I thanked the well for giving me water to the
measurement that I had requested, and for the dry ground around the well.
Then I asked the well for clean water.

The very next morning I looked out the window at the well and it looked good.
I ran out to the well and it was sparkling clean, to the level I had requested
and the ground around was dry. I thanked the well and started to use the water
that day. It tasted really good and clean. The level of water maintained itself
as I had requested.

We did send a bottle of water for testing and the test came back clean. Then
I found I could get water but not everyone could get water. Some people were
not allowed to take water from the well. Their pail would not turn over and
fill with water no matter how they tried. Only certain people could get the
water. I heard that when I left the meditation centre, the well went dry.

So, there is the true story just as it happened.



This is a non-profit publishing project, initially aimed at stirring up
memories and sharing insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche, his
teachings, and the experiences of students. From the materials gathered a
book will be prepared for publication, with any subsequent revenue being
donated to a Namgyal centre or cause. Quotes from this remarkable Teacher
and notes from his talks are of special interest, while the inclusion of
date, time, and place would help us establish a chronology and context.

Please send contributions of stories, comments, and queries about the
CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT to the Editor: ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar .

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please
reply to sender with the message "UNSUBSCRIBE".

E-Post #24, Dec 28, 2008 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 30 Dec 2008 06:11

The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project
David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)


In this issue:

"Cornflakes Or Weetabix?" - Sonia Moriceau
The Young Mothers Of Invention - Pamela Hyatt

Rab Wilkie

Welcome to our Rinpoche stories. And if this is a surprise, because
you weren't expecting more stories or had no idea they were being
written in the first place, please forgive me, my computers, and the
world situation. I accidentally deleted our subscribers list and
eventually re-compiled another with guess work. You might therefore
be getting this newsletter, unsolicited, for the first time. So if
you'd like to bow out from further transmissions, do let us know
(reply: UNSUBSCRIBE), and if not, stay tuned. And if you know someone
not on the our elist who might like to be, please pass on to us their
email address so we can ask.

To recap, last January David Berry and I began sharing some of the
anecdotes and stories about Namgyal Rinpoche (1931-2003) that we have
been collecting for a book of personal recollections by his students
while studying, travelling, or just being in his presence.

During the first four months of 2008 we sent to our subscribers 22
e-posts with around 40 (slightly edited) stories written by 21 different
authors, and posted them on our website for the rest of the world to
discover. Meanwhile, we have continued to edit these and many other
stories coming our way, along with photographs of, and artwork by,

During this second round of story sharing we hope to stimulate more
memories and get more of your writings archived. If all goes reasonably
well, we will have a book of them published in 2009.


- Sonia Moriceau (England)

Long before I was to meet the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoche I heard of a
tall Canadian monk from my first teacher, John Garrie Roshi, through
a story which impressed me a lot at the time. Little did I know then
that decades later I would be at the receiving end of similar exchanges,
being in fact a mode of communication our teacher used.

The story that the Roshi told took place during a retreat in England
led by Namgyal Rinpoche, then known as Bhikkhu Ananda Bodhi. The two
of them had a conversation at night during sleep/dream time. Rinpoche
was 'standing' at the end of John Garrie's bed and asked him, "What do
you want for breakfast, cornflakes or Weetabix?".

Come breakfast time Rinpoche turned to John Garry and said, "It was
Weetabix, wasn't it?", to which John replied. "No, cornflakes!".

This type of communication, these mind exchanges between Rinpoche
and his students were I believe common. Over the years I have worked
with Rinpoche, especially during the one-year retreat I undertook in
2001 in Canada, many times I was in communication with him in this
way. There is no doubt that this is how he was able to communicate
individually and simultaneously with a large group of students all
gathered to listen to his teaching and be in his presence.

Imagination? Illusion? Rinpoche could be quite specific and practical,
as in the story with Roshi, leaving you in no doubt that some words
had been exchanged without needing to voice them aloud or even be
in the same room! One simply heard Rinpoche's voice very clearly, for
example asking you to pass the water, close a door, or giving you his
preference as to what sort of accommodation he'll require when next
in England.

I remember when, during one of those wonderful evening events at his
home in Kinmount to raise money for the Dharma Centre, he 'asked' me,
without needing to move his lips or even look in my direction, to pass
a plate of food around. As I clearly 'heard' the words, I stood up and
reached for the plate, glancing at him for some reassurance that I had
'heard' correctly. I was then met with his very satisfied smile!

His ability to communicate in this way was also how he knew in details
what was going on in one's practice. During an insight retreat I was
alone in my cabin practising a particular aspect and meeting some
difficulty. The following day he looked directly at me and told me how
to approach this quite specific point, yet I had not spoken to him. I
was merely inquiring in the privacy of my own mind.. or so I thought!

The list is endless and all 'conversations' could be verified. It was
a wondrous form of intimacy in communication, so clear, direct, and
consistent, so unencumbered, yet also scary. In his presence I had to
be careful or mindful of what I'd think or wish for. As in my experience
all wholesome wishes I made in his presence were fulfilled. Similarly,
all my shortcomings were vividly exposed.

Do I dare use language to describe this oh so fine ability of an
Enlightened Mind? His was the pure state of Dharmakaya, a clear,
luminous Mind from which there is nothing to hide, nothing to add
or take away. Just surrendering, and allowing one's mind to fuse with
the Teacher's Mind in Bliss and Emptiness. This was the biggest teaching
I received and am still receiving from Namgyal Rinpoche. Although his
physical presence is no longer here, his voice is still manifesting


- Pamela Hyatt

What a kick to hear about Anna recently.. (sorry kids, I only
knew her as Anna, not as Wangchuk)..FABULOSO red hair LEAPT out
at me in my mind's eye (wherever the heck THAT is!) and I saw
her grinning gleefully from a deckchair on the foredeck of the
Hellenic Lines freighter, SS Livorno, as we crossed a cold
Atlantic, then a warmer Med bound for Piraeus in the Spring of

A gaggle of Dharma dames and kidlets, aiming to chase Namgyal
Rinpoche, around Crete. All of us on that wee ship, the only
other passengers being a Lyndon B. Johnson doppelganger mitt
Texan accent, (swear ta God!), and some honeymoon couple who
appeared solely for meals. Pauline Fediow, Pat Evans Malham
(preggers) with daughter Anna; sister-in-law Barb Malham;
Francie Downing with five-year-old son, Michael; Cheryl
Reitappel, also preggers, with Steven's chile; Freyda Olsen —
not yet preggers by Jeff; and there were some other women
whose visages are captured in my photo album but am embarrassed
to say their names have departed my cranium; my 8-year-old son,
Carson T. Foster (sharing a cabin with Michael — what a kick
for those lads), and myself with eight-month-old Zacharias Ward
next door.

Our captain was a gorgeous guy, so delighted to have a plethora
of smiling dames on board his vessel that on our first (maybe
second) night out of New York harbour, he set off a gazillion
red emergency flares to welcome us. ZOOM! BADDA BING! US Navy
jets streaked overhead, not amused. Tres exciting.

The Atlantic was rough that early April, major storms, not fun.
Quel treat when we steamed thru the gentle Straits of Gibraltar
one sweet sunny evening, Morocco to our right, Iberia to our left.
Damned if the silent lounge radio didn't leap to life with the

Arriving in Piraeaus, we three mums (Francine, Pat, and I)
clambered into a large cab with our various sons and daughter,
asked the driver to take us to a downtown, inexpensive hotel that
welcomed children. Hotel Minerva, a huge suite, with cribs and
ample beds. Nifty view of that darling hill opposite the Acropolis,
topped by a wee temple where Saint Paul had waxed eloquently about
his fave philosopher. Lycobetus?

Every day we'd wander out into Constitution Square, sit at one
of those vast sidewalk cafes and watch the passing parade, which
inevitably produced a couple of Dharma bums hot off a plane, train,
or bus. Rumour had it that Rinpoche was up on Mount Athos with the
inner circle lads, (you know the gang: Tony, Jeff, various Brians),
and eventually they'd be coming to Athens.

So yeah, we did our sightseeing of the Parthenon, the main museums,
the Plaka. Heaven bless Cheryl and Freyda. They chose to visit
Delphi for a three-day sojourn and kindly invited Carson to join
them. He was eight, he'd been avidly reading books on Greek
mythology since I announced our family outing, so was hot to trot
to the oracle's abode.

Two weeks into our Athens sojourn the word whipped round the
Dharma Centre gang that Rinpoche's group had gone directly to
Crete, so MOVE ON OUT! We did, that night, on the overnight ferry
to Heraklion. Inside cabin (no porthole, arghhh), four bunks
wherein lay moi and infant Zack, Pat and toddler Anna, Francine
(and, I think, Michael), and Carson. The stuffiness of that cabin
propelled my blond son up to the main deck where he curled up in
a big stuffed chair and slept soundly. Can't recall if Michael
joined him. Do know that various dames were seasick. Not moi.

Heraklion at last. Pat and I found a cheapo hotel, washed diapers
in cold water till I finally threw in the ecological towel and
bought disposables. Lovely days on a nearby beach, nifty
explorations of the charming Knossos Palace, and of course,
wondering WHERE WAS HIS NIBS?!!

At last, word filtered through the grapevine, "Rinpoche is at
Sitia! GO!" Everyone raced to rent cars. None of the men wanted
to travel with pregnant dames and kids, nor did the non-preggers
females. I had an international driver's licence, hence was awarded
the delectable task of being the sole driver of a rented Volks
beetle transporting Pat beside me (Anna often on her lap), Cheryl
behind me with Zack on her lap, Carson beside her, and Freyda
behind Pat. (Yeah, she switched with Pat and Cheryl vis-a-vis
toddlers perching on her knees).

That Volks had problems, kept cacking out then resuscitating itself.
Final straw was when it gave up the ghost enroute up the last hill.
A pickup truck approached, three lads leapt out, pushed us UP AND..
pointing waaaaaaaaaaaaay down towards the seashore, shouted 'SITIA',
gave a final heave and down we drifted.. allllll the way, and came
to rest in a parking spot by the beach. Uncoiling ourselves from
that midget vehicle, sweating like stuck pigs, we were startled to
hear a familiar voice from above and behind us:

"Well, Pamela, it took you long enough!"

There stood our teacher, on a small balcony, grinning down at us,
Tony beside him, equally cheshire cattish. "Come up here and see
what I've painted!"

Right away, he spun our heads in a new direction, away from the
hassles we'd just experienced dans l'auto, heck, away from all

That night I recall sitting on the beach, Zack asleep in his snugli
on my chest, Carson's head on my lap. Almost a hundred students
listening raptly as Namgyal, perched on a large rock, spoke of karma,
touching on so many aspects of it. Pitch black sky above, festooned
with brilliant stars, planets, wandering satellites, the Aegean
lapping softly beyond us, the mournful horns of distant freighters,
a balmy night — utterly wondrous!

Of course, the next day was nuts. Where's the teacher? FOLLOW!
FIND HIM! DRIVE, HE SAID! So we packed fast, leapt into the Bug,
drove east until we located his car at some motel, checked in,
flung ourselves into bathing suits, (he was often in the water),
and joined the group. I cannot tell you the names of the villages
in which we stayed.

With the exception of the final one, at the eastern end of Crete:
Chania. Such a sweet curved harbour, the town had strong Venetian
influences, along with a deserted minaret which Carson and I climbed.
By this time, wee Zacharias Ward was beginning to be feverish,
taking in food and expelling it almost immediately in liquid form.
Rinpoche had just announced he was off to Egypt, whomever had the
money to join him was welcome.

Much as I wanted to explore those pyramids with our teacher, Zack's
condition was too serious. I flew back to Athens with the children,
went to their Sick Kids Hospital, learned that Zack had dysentery,
(something even Greek kids get); was told to get him OUT of the
Mediterranean immediately. Treated the boys and myself to a Wagons
Lit compartment (three bunks at night) and we entrained for Lausanne,
my favourite Swiss city, former home of my favourite uncle.

When Zack was fully restored to health, I took the lads up to Leysin
Fedey, above the eastern end of Lac Leman in the High Alps. There we
stayed in a nifty hostel - Club Vagabond, owned by two Canadians,
catering to English-speaking bikers and hikers, $1.50/day bed &

Two weeks in that emerald meadow setting, snow-capped peaks guarding
our valley, the sound of cowbells and distant Vespas the only thing
to break the silence. It was THERE that I really MET my sons, saw
that they were very old friends. There was nothing and no one to
intrude upon our companionship: no household tasks, no jobs, no
zooming from one place to another. Hearts opened in very new ways.

I wish I could tell you the specifics of the talks that Rinpoche
gave in Crete. I just know it was an amazing experience. What I
discovered on that journey, was that I was a very competent
individual, capable of finding shelter and food for my sons on a
daily basis, and I did not need a man to direct me. That sounds
simplistic in this year of 2008 considering all that women are able
to do on their own now, but I was born in 1936. I'm from a generation
that was taught that a woman MUST be led by, approved by, a man.
Besides which, as the daughter of a travel agent, I'd hitherto
travelled with precise itineraries, everything arranged in advance.
This trip was extremely empowering for me.

Incidentally, a sidebar here. On Crete, when swimming one day, I
asked Rinpoche if he knew what the oozing red sore above my right
breast might be. "Shingles", was his reply. I winced, remembering
my dad had had an horrendous case years ago.

"It's an indication that there's something you haven't taken care
of emotionally. It's a warning. Be grateful it's on your surface,
much better than something interior and more serious."

Those words have enabled me to view the periodic recurrence of that
unpleasant itchy stuff with gratitude and awareness.

The trip continued, for my sons and myself, to England and visiting
many relatives. I discovered, to my immense joy, that my wildest,
most eccentric cousin, Greville Hyatt, was designing furniture for
Idries Shah's estate in Kent and was, in fact, a devout student of
Shah's. What a treat! Finding that another Hyatt was also engaged
in studying the high teachings! Sonofagun, my heart rejoiced!



This is a non-profit publishing project, initially aimed at stirring up
memories and sharing insightful stories about Namgyal Rinpoche, his
teachings, and the experiences of students. From the materials gathered a
book will be prepared for publication, with any subsequent revenue being
donated to a Namgyal centre or cause. Quotes from this remarkable Teacher
and notes from his talks are of special interest, while the inclusion of
date, time, and place would help us establish a chronology and context.

Please send contributions of stories, comments, and queries about the
CRYSTAL COLLECTION PROJECT to the Editor: ten.orobretep|bar#ten.orobretep|bar .

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please
reply to sender with the message "UNSUBSCRIBE".

It seems the harder we try to stay out of it the more we are drawn in!

Interesting and funny story!

Re: beautiful! by Marcel BauerMarcel Bauer, 15 Dec 2008 22:57

E-Post #22, May 8, 2008

The Namgyal Rinpoche Stories Project - 2008
David Berry (Producer), Rab Wilkie (Editor)

To view Crystal Collection articles: <>

In this issue:

A Small Story - David Pooch (2008)
The Galapagos Shipwreck II (1969) - Henri van Bentum (2008)

Rab Wilkie

Fittingly, I would suggest, with this 22nd newsletter since last January we
bring this phase of our project to a close. There are 22 trumps in Tarot,
and the class notes by our Scribe, the late Ken Long, have run out and the
rest of his 'notebook' is blank. Around this time in May, 1971, the Dharma
community in Toronto evacuated en masse for 'A Journey To The East',
inspired to wander forth with the Venerable Ananda Bodhi.

Stories, however, continue to arrive and are being written, and all in our
archives have not been included in these newsletters. More will appear
later, for your enjoyment and edification subsequent to editorial scrutiny
and refinement. In the meantime, we have some transcribing and organising
to do in preparation for the next phase, about which you will be informed in
the very near future.

So do keep on writing, or gearing up to write, one of your own stories (or
sagas), and send them as always to the Editor. The book is huge as an idea
and beginning to bulge, literally, as an actual manuscript in progress.


Dave Pooch
Auckland, New Zealand

In 1982 Rinpoche was leading a retreat at Yoshino, a mountain village close
to Nara in southern Japan. At the time I was on a business trip to Japan and
had told Rinpoche I was able to stay for only the first day of the retreat.
I had done my calculations carefully and knew how long it would
take to run to the Yoshino railway station and the time of the last train
down the mountain to Nara.

It was about half way through the afternoon class. I checked my watch every
few minutes and finally, I guess my mental agitation caused Rinpoche to

"Oh, you have to go, do you"? He said.

"Yes sir, I must," I replied, swelling a little with pride at the gentle

"Well then" he said, "go then and seek your fortune if you must, but
remember a fortune is of value only if put to good use".

My ears burned. I rose, walked to the door, put on my shoes and starting
running down the hill. My ears burned with those words all the way down the
hill, all the way on the train to Nara, and I remember them even now.


Henri van Bentum,
Victoria BC, Canada

Guyaquil, Ecuador
We all booked into the Humboldt Hotel. The boat that would take us to the
Galapagos Islands was the "Cristobal Carrier". The vessel had been making
the trip for 30 years and was an icon and legend. The Bhikkhu, Irwin Burns,
and I went down to the dock to take a look at the ship.

There we found an old-looking, wooden vessel painted a dull grey. Ananda
Bodhi, ever-mindful and aware, said as soon as he spotted the ship, "There
are not enough lifeboats. Henri, tell them."

We knew that besides our big group were also many locals either returning to
work or visiting family on the Galapagos. There were chickens and all sorts
of cargo.

Somehow I managed to get the ship's agent to arrange for two more boats
which would serve as lifeboats.

It was a Saturday and we were scheduled to sail at 1700 hours.

Eventually, by 1900 hours, we were on our way. There was much fanfare and
cries of "Adios!" as we lifted anchor for what was to be another routine
sailing for the venerable 'Cristobal Carrier'. The two upper decks were
reserved for us. All cabins had upper and lower bunks, while AB had a
single-bed cabin.

We were happy to be on our way to these "Darwin" islands, the world-famous

Our group was an eclectic one with artists, ballet dancers, architects,
writers — a motley mix of Dharma bums.

We had a magnificent clear, starry night above. Everyone's spirits and
expectations were high and we'd all retired for the night.

In the middle of the night, it happened: BOOM! I was thrown out of my bunk
and was suddenly clear awake. What on earth could that huge noise have been?

I made my way up to the bridge. There was no-one there. The stars were
glittering above in the clear sky. It was four o'clock in the morning.

I looked over the railing and was shocked. Ananda Bodhi suddenly appeared.
"What's going on?"

"It looks like we've hit an island and we're shipwrecked!" I replied. "Would
you believe it? It looks like the bow of the ship is one-third up onto the

"Where is everyone?", I asked. "No captain, no pilot or officers on the
bridge — in fact, nobody."

The day began to break and now of course everyone was up and about. The
"Captain" had left the ship and was sitting on a rock with a bottle of rum
in his hands, shaking his head. He was a tramper captain, and could have
stepped right out of novel by Somerset Maugham or Steinbeck.

The ship began to list. I went below to get my passport and luggage, as did
a few others. Just in time, for now the ship was really listing to

The tide was low but AB ordered us to get to the highest point of what
turned out to be not a very high island.

Children were crying, roosters were crowing. Altogether quite a

Then I spotted some triangular-shaped fins in the water, telling us not to
go out for a swim!

In the meantime the radio operator, the "Marconi man" as he was called, had
contacted the mainland and sent out an SOS for help and some boats.

Any hopes of seeing the Galapagos were now smashed.

Ananda Bodhi told us to stay calm. Being the Spanish-speaking member of our
group, I was in communicado with the officials. A large schooner would come
soon from Posorja, a fishing village, to fetch the women and children first.
If no other vessel was available to rescue us, the schooner would return for
the men.

The schooner, with terracotta-coloured sails, appeared to everyone's relief.
All the women, children and the chickens were boarded and set off.

Many hours later, the men were also picked up and transported to Posorja.
There we found all the women and children huddled on the floor of a large
fishing warehouse. But not for long, the local people just disappeared, and
we men in turn sat down on the floor with the Dharma women.

All the luggage was forwarded to the Humboldt Hotel and AB told me to
arrange transportation to get our group back to Guyaquil. However, it was a
Sunday afternoon.

Using my best Spanish, I managed to get a big truck which was used to
transport fish. We negotiated a price with the driver and were told it was
about a 4-5 hour drive to Guyaquil. The teacher and I sat in the front, and
everyone else got into the back of the half-open truck.

By now it was getting dark, there were no lights, and the rain began. After
an hour the truck came to a halt in the middle of nowhere, pitch black
around us. I asked the driver, "Que pasa?"

"I'll take a look", he replied, getting out of the vehicle, lifting the hood
and appearing to study the engine.

AB looked at the fuel gauge on the dashboard which showed an empty tank.

Now what? No gasoline, in the middle of nowhere!

The rain turned into a downpour and half of our group in the back of the
truck was soaked.

AB was not amused and asked me for some swear words in Spanish.

"Caramba! Bandito!"

"Henri! Get out and hitchhike. I am not sitting and waiting here all night!"

And so yours truly, AB's humble 'dharmapala", got out and stood in the
pouring rain on a road 'from here to nowhere' with only the headlights on
our truck lighting a few feet of the road.

After awhile, a car stopped. I couldn't believe it — a black Mercedes!
(They seem to love Mercedes in South America).

A well-dressed gentleman opened the window slightly. "Que pasa?" he asked.
"What's the matter?" It turned out he was the former mayor of Guyaquil. (I
refer to this as Miracle Number Two).

When he heard we were the hapless victims of the "Cristobal Carrier" he
immediately became helpful; he had already heard of the calamity.

Realizing we were stranded (again!), he invited Ananda Bodhi and me to get
in the car. I was in the back, the Teacher in front. My companion in the
back seat was a large German shepherd dog who growled at me until the Senor
ordered "Calma!"

Senor knew friends who lived further up the highway and who might be able to
supply us with some gasoline. Also, he spoke English, which was a help for

So we told the students huddled in the truck that we'd be back and were
going to find some gasoline. No one believed us! Small wonder. Middle of the
night, pouring rain, just coming off a shipwreck.. no way AB or Henri would

After awhile the Mercedes stopped at a metal gate.

I was told to go and ring a long iron 'cord' which I had to pull several
times. It must have been around 1 a.m. by now.

Finally in the distance two dim lights appeared. I could see two Chinese
lanterns, carried by a Chinese man (!) with one long braid swaying in the
wind and rain. (I was not hallucinating!)

He was not amused that someone had awoken him at this hour. Then I pointed
to the Mercedes and the Chinaman seemed satisfied. He knew the Senor. I
asked for some gasoline, and he slowly turned around and went back along the
long path to his house.

It seemed like hours, but 15 minutes later he returned with a large yellow
can, full of gasoline. (Miracle Number Three).

"Quanto?" I asked.

"Nada, el Senor paga un otra vez." ("Nothing, the Senor will pay us some
other time").

Iit seemed as if we had stepped into the twilight of some fairy tale. We
returned to the truck where most of the students were asleep, but once they
saw the can of gasoline they gave a huge "Hurrah!" and applauded. Our driver
was astonished.

Ananda Bodhi and I carried on in the Mercedes and arrived at the Humboldt
Hotel very early that morning. During our ride in the car, the radio was
repeatedly broadcasting on the national news the disaster that had befallen
the legendary 'Cristobal Carrier' en route to the Galapagos.

The former Mayor seemed to be pleased to have had a hand in getting us all
safely back to the hotel.

After breakfast however, Ananda Bodhi called an urgent meeting. He wanted
all the money returned that we'd paid for the voyage. I believe it was $450
US per person. And, he said, he wanted the money in small notes! The late
Irwin Burns, who knew about finances, and I were delegated to get this done.

Mission impossible? First, we had to find out who owned the 'Cristobal
Carrier', or who were the ship's agents.

In the meanwhile, both local newspapers had published a tearjerker story,
"It was a foggy night, and I could not see my hand in front of me", the
captain was quoted as saying.

Foggy? The stars were sparkling in a clear night sky. And when I got up to
the bridge, there was no-one there. Furthermore, there was a lighthouse at
each end of the island.

So I called the media. Two reporters, one from each local newspaper, showed
up at the Humboldt Hotel. We told them the real story. They printed it. (We
still have the articles).

Now, mission $$$. I called the various consulates and embassies, (Canadian,
American, Swiss, German, etc.) but it was Monday and their offices were all

It turned out the ship was registered under various names and we had a heck
of a time trying to find the party responsible and who could authorize the
refunds (and in US dollars).

By now, nobody believed the captain and second mate. The print media were on
our side, so was the radio.

Cornered and nowhere to turn, the owner's representative arranged for the
local bank to fork over all of our money — mostly in five-dollar bills (as
AB had requested). I had bought a large leather shoulder bag, and stacked it
full of the money.

In triumph and with a big smile, Irwin and I returned to the Hotel.

It was now Thursday. AB called everyone to the hotel patio and handed each
and every one their ship-fare back.

Now, what to do with all our extra time? People had return flights home but
not for awhile.

I had noticed a sign somewhere that the 'Da Vinci', an Italian passenger
ship, would be in port the next day en route to Callao (Lima), Peru. AB told
me to go and find out if there was any space aboard the ship.

I found the ship's agent who told me there was room for six passengers.

The Teacher said the idea would be to go from Lima up to Cuzco and Macchu

So six of us sailed aboard Da Vinci and the rest travelled by bus, and we
all met up in Lima. From Lima we took the train up to the final stop in the
Andes — Huancao.

The Train

This train ride was something else! At least three dozen times we shunted
back and forth in order to gain the higher altitudes. A superb feat of
engineering. Later, I was reminded of this train trip when we boarded the
'toy train' en route to Darjeeling in India.. same principle.

The train was called 'El Tren del Sol' (the Train of the Sun) because two
hours of out Lima, we were over the clouds into a sunny blue sky and clear
air. Due to the altitude the train carried oxygen tanks.

From the train station we took a bus to Cuzco with its amazing walls built
of huge boulders fitted perfectly together — still a mystery today.

After visiting Cuzco and Oleobamba, we took another train to Macchu Picchu.
A new world, another era. (This was 1969, long before the site became the
heavily-visited tourist destination it is now).

After Macchu Picchu we all separated. Most returned by train to Lima then
connected back home by air.

Steven Gellman, Tony Olbrecht (Sonam, who was not on the Galapagos trip),
and one more student accompanied the Teacher from Buenos Aires on a
freighter around South America.

Thus ended what turned out to be an extraordinary journey supposedly to the
Galapagos but instead took us to Cuzco and Macchu Picchu, thanks to the
shipwreck of the 'Cristobal Carrier'.


List of passengers' names as reported in "El Telegrafo", Martes 20 de Mayo,

"Ted Bieler, Mr. L. Dawson, Mr. and Mrs. Henri van Bentum, Miss C. Boudreau,
Miss. H. Rigby, Miss C. Kwiat, Mr. B. Cowen, Mr. I. Burns, Mr. N. Kubota,
Mr. S. Gellman, Mr. B. Bamford, Miss Marina Hahn, Miss King, Miss A. Lee,
Miss J.Reilly, Mr. R. Malham, Mr. S. Palmer. Mr. S. Ennis, Miss D. Leonard,
Mr. P. Page, Miss L. Warner, Mr. Ron Olsen, Mr. Scott Maitland, Mr. Ken
Brook, Miss C. Jamieson, Dr. B. Goulden, R. Kalemiarian, Mr. Ed Dryer."



This is a non-profit publishing project, initially aimed at stirring up
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and notes from his talks are of special interest, while the inclusion of
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E-Post #22, May 8, 2008 by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 24 May 2008 06:18

That's a beautiful story, and well told. I can feel myself in the same situation, making the same chain of decisions, to the inevitable mucky conclusion. Thank you for sharing Russell!

beautiful! by Matt WilkieMatt Wilkie, 01 May 2008 10:46
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