Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, what is your vision for Vajrayana Foundation in the Hawaiian islands?
I want to tell you a story to show you that karma is very interesting. Unbelievably good things usually happen without planning. Five years ago, when I was living in Spokane at Chakdud Tulku's request, I was thinking, for the most part, that I would eventually like to go back to Nepal. Yet for some reason, I wrote down a few notes about how I would take care of the buddhadharma if I stayed in America .
Then a while ago, while I was at home, someone asked me for a particular text. When I found that text, inside, I also found those old notes. I read that I had had an idea for a three-year retreat, and even for the program for that retreat, and I even gave the retreat a name; I had also written about creating a college with a full-time seven-year program of studies and I gave a name to the college too. But all this time I had forgotten about my notes and plans. Now, as you know, a three-year retreat is now underway at Pema Osel Ling.*
A similar thing happened in Hawaii. I never even considered having a center there. But while we were practicing in a cave, Lama Wangmo expressed an idea to build a Guru Rinpoche statue there. Although I never really thought we were going to build it, I said yes anyway. We built that statue and most auspiciously, Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche came to Hawai'i and stayed with us for a month during that time. Also at that time, a lady came from Nepal to see His Holiness on her way to the mainland. As we were talking, she told me that Chadral Rinpoche had told her that Hawai'i was an important place for the Nyingma doctrine and that a center should definitely be established there. She added that Chadral Rinpoche had also said that there were two lamas in Hawai'i (which I took to mean Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and myself). At that time, Dungse Thinley NOrbu Rinpoche said that Hawai'i was a dakini realm (khandro ling) and he described many wonderful things about this pureland. I considered what that woman said as a direct message from Chadral Rinpoche to me. Still I never thought about really establishing a center right away. A short while later, at the end of summer retreat, a few students from Hawai'i requested me to establish a branch of Vajrayana Foundation. We also had the fortunate circumstance that Lama Yeshe Wangmo was living there and so it was easy to establish a center. When this kind of auspicious coincidence happens it is a sign of a connection with wisdom phenomena.
For most of my life, my personal desire or goal was to have a simple life and my aim was to do my own practice. After His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche told me to take care of the doctrine, in my dreams, I received teachings from my uncle, Lama Sherab. In these teachings I was told that in this life, in my next life and so forth, due to my previous prayers, I would be an activity holder of Guru Rinpoche. After that dream, my circumstances completely changed.
His Holiness said he would pray that I would have a long life because in the west there is a genuine need for pure dharma teachers so that students do not learn politics before dharma. He said he would pray and that all the lamas would pray. The result was that effortlessly, at a later time, we all connected with Chadral Rinpoche's vajra speech and a Nyingma center, Vajrayana Foundation Hawai'i was established. It is clear that both Chadral Rinpoche and Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche have a strong intention for Hawai'i.
Our Sangha in Hawaii is small and that is totally fine. The first holder of my lineage, Palchen Namka Jigme, was told by other lamas not to be too strict or he would not have many students. He replied that one person keeping samaya was enough and in fact better than a hundred students not keeping samaya.
I am looking at motivation. We can make a connection with whoever has good karma, so that they can come to Buddhahood. That is good, and if not, that is okay, also. We are already in Hawai'i. It is only necessary to pray without pushing, without high expectations, without losing motivation. I think that we can grow, slowly, slowly. His Holiness asked me how many people stay with you? How many go away? He said that it was a shame that I put a lot of effort into teaching and students go away. I told him that I do have a few practitioners and that if ten out of one hundred words are of benefit to someone, then I don't feel bad. We cannot expect everyone to practice perfectly; we simply keep going. Once, a Hindu guru came to Pema Osel Ling and wanted to have tea with me. He asked me how many students I had. I said that I had many. He asked me how many good students did I have? I said eight or nine. He said, "That makes sense."
What I am saying through my stories and such is that we don't have
to develop a big center in Hawai'i. If it comes, it comes. Be flexible
inside and the outside will manifest. Times are changing and ripening.