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One can only be utterly grateful

From  1979: Even your enemy who tries to kill you is your best friend. by Adele Hulse, Big Love author:

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1979, Australia

Peter Kedge was not having a good time. “Lama was getting at me in Australia. As usual, I was very clean around him, like a surgeon. I washed my hands after I touched anything and prepared his food so cleanly. I just about sterilized the cutlery, but still he picked it up, spat on it as though it was dirty, rubbed it and put it back. I’d cook something so carefully and he’d say it was disgusting. And so it went.

“It wasn’t the first time Lama had played with me in this way,” Peter explained. “Once, when we were in a hotel in Delhi I was absolutely exhausted from Lama pulling my wires and just couldn’t take any more needling. I had made Lama’s bed so many times that day—in the morning and after his rest, once more when he’d pulled it apart again. This time, while I was making it up yet again, he came in and said, ‘One more thing…’ and I just left the bed half made, walked out and slammed the door, to my shame.

“Another time we were in London and Lama wanted to buy artificial flowers at Harrods, which has a wonderful selection. Silk flowers are everywhere now but they were quite special back then. Tibetans love them and Lama wanted to offer some to his gurus in India. So we were going through London and being English, I knew how to get to Harrods. But Lama insisted I stop people along the way and ask them directions. Of course this bugged me like anything, really offended me. He would say to me, ‘You don’t know. Ask this person.’

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1979, England, Lama Yeshe

“On other occasions he’d be searching for an English word in a talk or at a meeting and he’d ask for suggestions. French and Spanish people would suggest words for him, but when I’d suggest a word he’d say, ‘Phoo! You don’t know English!’

“Once in a public talk Lama was talking about pollution from aircraft and used the example of a jet trail, saying it was pollution. But being a Rolls-Royce–trained aircraft engineer I said that water vapor is actually more evident than any exhaust from a gas turbine engine. Anyway, I was rubbished for that in front of 200 people. This constant abrasion of the ego became very tiresome, but of course it was also essential and part of the process for which one can only be utterly grateful.”

Peter continued. “Lama used to get terrible sneezing fits. Instead of sneezing into his elbow or hand, as I felt was the right thing to do, he sneezed quite openly. I frequently got drizzled on when sitting in front of him taking dictation or discussing something. I’m sure it was on purpose. It was quite painful not knowing whether to feel disgusted and to point out how gross this was, or to feel that it was really a huge blessing.

“Lama was extremely sensitive to dirt and uncleanliness. If a place was dirty he sneezed continuously and his eyes ran. He seemed to pick up on dirty vibrations and could get sick from a number of things— the food, the person or people preparing the food, a dirty cup, a bed or just the ‘vibation’ of a place. When we stopped at roadside chai shops in India and drank from cups that were not properly washed, that sort of dirt never bothered Lama. He would just take the cup or spoon or whatever and say Om Ah Hum Om Ah Hum Om Ah Hum and sort of half spit half blow on the utensil or food. He said that purification always did the trick. One time I tried to do it on Lama’s behalf, to save him the trouble. I got howls of derision for the quality of my Om Ah Hum and blowing.”

 

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