Through my relationship with Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen I have come to feel exhaustively and adequately situated – squarely in the middle of my life. Vajrayana Buddhism is inherently paradoxical. We are born without language or education – and even though in some sense we are complete and perfect, there is a sense in which our experience of the world is incomplete and imperfect. It takes many years before we have gained sufficient experience to operate independently, and to nominally qualify as adults. Prior to this point, we live in a restricted world, shielded from certain incomprehensible mysteries – both by our parents and by the world’s inherent organisation. The process of picking our way through these mysteries (after which each successive layer no longer seems so) is known as growing up, and represents a deepening communication with the world. This communication begins with our parents. It includes formal education, relationship to our country: its history and culture, discovery of art, music and literature, perhaps romance and marriage. According to the view of Vajrayana Buddhism, the final communication – which requires total commitment, and by which we become initiated into the always-existing world of spiritual adulthood – is that with the vajra master. This relationship never loses its mystery.

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