I wanted to be ordained from the first moment I heard about it. I loved the idea of making this my whole life, of being so hardcore, focused like a laser beam. I wanted a relationship where everything was real, where my teachers would deal with every aspect of me and nothing would be secret or hidden. They would find all the dark corners of my personality and illuminate them with their insight. I wanted to be given a task of tremendous difficulty and danger, like living in a box for a month without food or swimming across the Atlantic Ocean in pyjamas. I wanted to be trusted with a great challenge and it would be hard, and scary, but I would do it, and it would turn me into a different person. I did not expect to be advised to buy a largest pair of Tibetan cymbals available anywhere. I was with Ngak’chang Rinpoche in India – in a place called the Red Fort. I wanted to get a pair of Tibetan cymbals – but I wanted nice medium-sized ones, like the ones Rinpoche had. The shop had many different pairs of rolmo, in all different sizes. I found a beautiful pair, just like I wanted. I crashed them together – they had a great sound. Rinpoche looked over at me and said, “Why is it you think you must have small rolmo?” I just did not have an answer. Everything I thought of saying sounded puerile. He handed me some that looked ridiculously huge. I didn’t even bother trying them out. I was overcome by the thought that this was a big mistake. Rinpoche was making me get large cloddish rolmo when I wanted the smaller, elegant beautiful ones. It’s funny how I always thought in terms of being asked to walk straight up Mt Everest and back in a day – but it never occurred to me that the advice of the vajra master might be something as annoying as buying the ‘wrong’ cymbals. Its funny how small personal decisions are so hard to change. I bought the big rolmo. I didn’t like them—didn’t want them—but I was trying to be a good student and take my teacher’s advice. The funny thing is they actually sound great. They sound amazing. I never would have picked them but they’re better than any of the ones I would have chosen myself. This is only one tiny thing – but maybe you see what I mean.

< Prev