Faith, Light, Generosity

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 obliged.

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 generously.

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