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Tenzing Norgay Sherpa
Jamling Tenzing
Excerpt from Touching My Father's Soul

Touching My Father's Soul - Book by Jamling Tenzing Norgay
Jamling Tenzing Norgay
with Broughton Coburn

A N...O M I N O U S...F O R E C A S T

Rimpoche bunched his mala rosary into his cupped hands and blew on it sharply. He withdrew it slowly and inspected it, turning his head slightly and squinting, as if trying to peer inside each individual bead. He looked up at me.

"Conditions do not look favorable. There is something malevolent about the mountain this coming season."

I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach.

Rimpoche sat on a wide, flat cushion, and he adjusted his robe and began to rock back and forth, as if he too had been surprised by the divination. He clapped his hand loudly to call the attendant monk. His clap broke the silence the way a guru's clap in a Buddhist teaching is meant to trigger awakening to the nature of emptiness, sparking a flash of recognition that all life is impermanent, containing no inherent existence. I experienced a narrow, momentary space of calmness, a millisecond of emptiness, then felt my stomach again.

A monk padded in quietly and served us tea, gently lifting the filigree silver cover from Rimpoche's jade teacup, which sat on a silver stand. The monk then offered me some fried breads from a woven bamboo tray. I declined, then accepted after the third offer. Such trays are always kept heaping full, and I had to concentrate on not knocking the other pieces off. My hand was shaking.

In early January of 1996, I had traveled here to Siliguri, West Bengal, for an audience with Chatrul Rimpoche, a respected but reclusive lama of the Nyingmapa, or ancient sect of Tibetan Buddhism. His principle monastery was located in Darjeeling, where I lived with my wife, but Rimpoche's patrons and supporters had built him a small monastic center in the northern plains of India, several hours away by jeep. The West Bengal landscape is relentlessly flat, far from the remote monasteries that the Nyingmapa Buddhists established, beginning a millennium ago, across the Himalayas. I felt fortunate to have been born on the south side of the Himalayas, safe from the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Since the late 1950's, Tibetans have been crossing their border into Sikkim, India and Nepal, for refuge. Partly as a result of their unerring devotion, Tibetan Buddhism continues to flourish along the south side of the Himalayas.


T O U C H I N G... M Y... F A T H E R ' S... S O U L - Jamling Tenzing Norgay with Broughton Coburn Order a copy of Touching My Father's Soul or write to the writer directly by Clicking Here!

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