As stated in my bio, I have been lucky to study with some of Tibet’s greatest scholars, starting with His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14 Dalai Lama of Tibet, whom I took refuge with in 1980. I consider him to be My Root Guru, or ‘Tsawa Lama’ as the Tibetans would say.
Ven. Dhubthob Rinpoche, who stayed with me, guided me during my darkest times, and spun the prayer wheel of my life, lives at the center of the mandala of many of my beloved Tibetan family, and continues to bless me long afterhis maha-samadhi in 2011′;
Geshe Lobsang Khenrab
and Geshe Thupten Dawa,
whom I consider to be my spiritual grandfathers.
Geshe Yeshe Topgyal, one of Tibet’s greatest calligraphers, who gave up all kinds of esteemed offers to teach and chose to come to one of the poorest monasteries in Nepal, where he taught young monks the arts of debate, calligraphy, and logic. He was the moral ruler for me during a trying time in my non-profit management.
Tenzin Ngodup, the Medium of the State Oracle of Tibet, who ran in and out of my dreams for at least 20 years before we met, is the glue between so many of my teachers, and asked me to help him start the Nechung Buddhist Center of the Bay Area. To you I owe so much.
Lama Tharchin, whom I also took refuge and a lot of teachings with;
Geshe Gendun Tsepel, Geshe Karma, Chagdud Tulku, and many many more of the early lamas who came to the United States and gave teachings before there were even adequate translators!
My early spiritual formation was and continues to be! greatly influenced by Sri Ramakrishna, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and most primarily, pervasively and consistently, Neem Karoli Baba Maharaj.
In addition to these teachers, I would like to cite Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tze, Ta’o Chien, Su Tung Po, Confucius, Mr. T. Y. Pang, Mencius and Wang Wei for providing me with the foundation for my love of the Dharma.
A gigantic thanks to Gina Rose Halpern, founder of the Chaplaincy Institute, Artist, Visionary, Interfaith Shaman and Peacemaker, to you I owe the branch of my life that took me to so much today.
Last but not least, I bow to the energies of Tara, the Embodiment of the Feminine Divine, Tara in all forms, Tara who informs me about the qualities of fierce compassion as well as ever so gentle and honest self-inquiry, Tara who has come to me in prayers, visions, and dreams, Tara who my own lama said I was united with. Tara who has shown up in other times and places in my life as Kuan Yin or Mother Mary. Tara who accompanies me into Death Row with a bullet proof vest and an open heart, Tara who guides me with the sound of a horse’s nicker, the gentle patter of spring rain, the whisper of mind upon awakening, the nectar of bodhicitta.
Om Tara Tu Tara Ture Swaha!
It is on my ‘bucket list’ to study in person with Robert Thurman. May it be so!