The Rug Merchants Tab

The RUG MERCHANT'S TAB

Oliver Harte

Trying to do the Lord's work with Rinpoche was like trying to pin a rug dealer on a low price. He would just sidestep wherever you were going. Or as Scott would say, "there is no one there". So perhaps it was not so much a matter of sidestepping; rather, he was quite often completely invisible. One would try to move with him through a dialogue of deductive logic, and suddenly notice oneself marching purposefully forward, utterly alone. And, if you ever had the temerity to dilute his independence in any way, expect to find yourself pinned down, having to explain who the hell you think you are to make such assumptions.

I once had the Dharma Centre pick up his tab for gas, during a period that he was driving to the Center to teach a couple of times a day. For him, this was a slippery slope. "I am NOT the Dharma Center", he would say. In other words, do not presume. But, as Richard would say "there is no grass growing on our teacher". After making his point to me, Rinpoche pursed his lips and ruminated out loud, "Well, I suppose it COULD be seen to be appropriate, under the circumstances", which I took to mean that I shouldn't make a habit of that kind of thing, but that just this once he would let us buy him a tank of gas. As he would say, "for the benefit of students".

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