When I was ten or eleven years old, my personal tutor, some friends, and I made a rare excursion from the monastery. I looked forward to visiting the great adept Kunzang Nyima Rinpoche in a valley two days away. Though I enjoyed my life in the monastery, it was so exciting to ride a horse across the spacious Ser Valley. For miles and miles, we rode through this untainted land, enjoying the sight of peaceful and beautiful animals. Butterflies dotted the air over the green carpet of grassland, and birds played and sang freely, in a timeless scene of natural beauty. It was the greatest feast for the senses of a little boy to enjoy, an unforgettable adventure for someone who had lived for years within the sanctuary of a monastic compound. Arriving in the evening, we reached a small, peaceful gorge walled by gentle green hills. In the distance, the majestic mountain of Ser Dzong seemed to preside over all of existence.
We camped in a beautiful field at a distance from Rinpoche’s big black tent. Early the next morning, we crossed the meadow to meet Rinpoche. He had a beautiful and powerful face with wide, smiling eyes, a brownish complexion, and long hair tied around his head and wrapped in a silk turban. He might have been in his fifties, and he had a strong, vital body. With a blossoming, flowerlike smile, he welcomed us as if he had just found his long-lost friends. He kept his treasure of writings close at hand, about forty volumes, most of which were his mystical revelation. I remember the feeling of unconditional and unpretentious love in his heart, which wasn’t only for me but for all around. Although his voice was powerful and far-reaching, he spoke in a stream of gentle and soothing words. He was someone who enjoyed the simple gifts of life with deepest contentment. I was a guarded and shy boy, but in the sunny presence of Rinpoche, I became so natural. There was no place to harbor darkness or anxiety anymore.
Rinpoche’s joy and calm seemed pervasive. Immediately upon meeting him and for all the time I was there, the world appeared to be a very peaceful place. As I looked around, I vividly felt that his presence had somehow transformed my surroundings, that nothing was separate from this wonderful peacefulness. The trees, the mountains, my companions, myself—everything was united in calm and peace. It wasn’t the mountains and people that changed, but my mind’s way of seeing and feeling them. Because of the power of his presence, my mind was enjoying a greater degree of peace and joy, almost a state of boundlessness. That feeling enabled me to see all mental objects through those qualities. For a while, no attractions or disappointments mattered. Even today, when I remember that experience from more than four decades ago, I feel joy and completeness. The heat of that memory helps me to melt the ice of obstacles as they come up on life’s journey.
From Boundless Healing