Conversations With My Guru

Chapter 10: In the most difficult of times...

Chapter 10: In the most difficult of times...

Many people seek Gurus who are internationally famous with titles who are recognised and respected. I suppose it is beneficial to develop such a karmic link, but these very busy teachers - who travel the world with tens of thousands of disciples, students and followers - are typically very difficult to contact. I consider myself unbelievably fortunate as Singha Rinpoche makes himself available to us pretty much 24/7. I will now recount two instances - of many - when I was filled with gratitude that he was there in the most difficult of times.


In 1999, I was traveling abroad to see my grandmother who was about 100 years old. At that time, my wife was expecting our first child. She had been well enough in her early pregnancy and so I decided to take a trip. 

I came back to learn that, on Chinese New Year’s Eve, she had experienced a little bleeding and was very worried. She was alone and, despite friends and relatives being around in Singapore, she called Rinpoche whom we had only just met about nine months prior. On Chinese New Year’s Eve - a day typically spent with family - he was at our home in the evening, sitting with my wife, reassuring her and offering to bring her to the hospital. Others advised him that it was inauspicious to go to a hospital on Chinese New Year’s Eve, but he replied that he did not mind. Eventually, my wife said she felt better and decided that, since I would be returning in two days, she would wait for my return to see her attending physician together. Thankfully, all went well.


Ten years later, I was at the hospital and called Rinpoche and said, “Lama, my father-in-law just passed away. My mind is blank. I cannot remember what you told us – what should I do?” Rinpoche guided me to put him in the lion position, keep the room quiet and recite some prayers. He advised us not to gossip around him. Just this simple piece of advice gave me and my family so much reassurance and a much-needed sense of calm as we knew that we were being guided to carry out the best course of action.


I am sure there are quite a number of students and disciples with similar experiences of having Rinpoche there with them - physically or over the phone - in the most difficult of times, from being told of an illness to the passing of a loved one (including pets) and everything else in between. It is experiences like these that then also increased my conviction in the teachings of Buddha, for the result of practice is illustrated by Rinpoche’s actions. Someday, we all hope to be just as beneficial. 

This first stanza from the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva seems an appropriate conclusion to this edition of the journey.


I pay constant homage through my three doors,

To my supreme teacher and protector Chenrezig,

Who while seeing all phenomena lack coming and going,

Makes single-minded effort for the good of living beings.



2 Jan 2022