“You should arrive at the station at least two hours early. Then you can practice meditation there, on the platform, for 2 hours. It is the very best place for meditation”. This was the smiling advice of Dorzong Rinpoche. (Photo 2)
He said this 16 years ago, on the day before we were leaving TashiJong, a monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas. My wife and I had been staying as guests, arranged by her father who had lived there in his youth and taught the Tibetans English.
Each morning we had sat and meditated with a 90 year old Togden Yogi called Atin (photo 3, by Thomas L. Kelly). His presence was magnificent. He had been in retreat from the age of 15, living a life of meditation and Togden practice.
While sat in his ragged and humble room, we fell silent. His mind was almost unrecognisable to me, deeply human and at the same time, with a super human clearness in his eyes - kind, welcoming, simple and wide as the sky. Yet at the same time, he was quite ordinary in his interactions with us and the monks and nuns of the community.
As I mentioned, we were drinking tea with Dorzong Rinpoche in his garden on the day before our departure. He found it funny that we were sitting with Atin. He joked, “I hear you’ve been meditating with Atin every morning? Why don’t you take Atin in the car with you?”. He laughed very loud. “Then you can meditate all the way to the train station!”. This became a koan for me. A smiling laughing riddle. I love the Tibetans for this, to teach and tease at the same time.
In the beginning we meditate, in the fullness of time and practice, meditation is life itself, continuous as it is.