Morning Coffee

Lisa Elander - (1976?)

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

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').

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