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Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
fall 2005| 24 |buddhadharma My grandmother’s eldest son, Samten Gyatso, was my root guru and ultimate refuge. He was also, of course, my uncle. I feel a bit shy telling stories about him, because I don’t want to sound as if I’m indirectly praising myself by lauding a family member. A disciple who emphasizes signs of accomplishment, clair- voyant abilities, and miraculous powers in stories about his own guru, may − instead of honoring him − end up discrediting him. Yet though he was a relative, there is no way I can avoid praising him. I don’t mean to be crude, but I’m related to him like excrement is related to fine cuisine. Within the Barom Kagyü lineage, Samten Gyatso was regarded as an emanation of Four-Armed Mahakala, one of the more prominent guardians of the dharma. Moreover, the second Chokling of Tsikey once had a vision of Samten Gyatso in which he saw him as an emanation of Vimalamitra. From the time I was young, I respected my guru deeply. In his conduct, Samten Gyatso kept the monastic precepts quite purely and strictly. He never tasted alcohol nor ate any meat. In his attitude, he was always in tune with the bodhisattva trainings. The Kind of Guru I Had The late Dzogchen master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche recalls the profound influence of his teacher, Samten Gyatso, and the early teachings he received from him on the nature of mind. jean-maRieaDamnini