Michael Rotondi
It’s All One Thing
100 Notebooks

Subject: Venerable Lama Chodak Gyatso Nubpa, parinirvana
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 20:51:53 - 0700

hi son
This is the lama I have been working with for the last 7 years on various projects in Tehachapi.

He was very sick the last 6 months with a flare up of recurring hepatitis he got in india many years ago. Even when he was ill, he still served. The last time I saw him was 4 months ago in Tehachapi where the mandala will be built one day.

He was suffering but doing all he could to camouflage it. What a gift it has been to be able to spend time with someone who embodies such compassion and wisdom and totally a ‘cool’ guy. We had wonderful conversations and walks around the canyon site talking of so many things. One time as our conversation focused on the design of buildings on the site, he asked me, “what should they look like,” trying to help him understand the limits of ‘style’ I responded, “they should be invisible.” He stopped in his tracks and turned to me and asked me to explain how this was possible, I turned and pointed to a huge extra ordinary cedar tree that we had just walked by without noticing it and said that this tree was an example of invisibility- it was hiding in plain sight. Again he asked me to elaborate. I continued that this tree, in its full character had become what it was because of its context which created the conditions for this tree to manifest as it did. It was inevitable.

Inevitability and invisibility are the same. He smiled in a way that made it evident that he already knew this. I realized that what I had just said, having spoken extemporaneously, was inevitable as well.

The context of being there at that moment in that natural environment walking and talking with him created the conditions for these thoughts which I had the opportunity to express another mini-epiphany.

Being around some people, you can not help but learn. True learning is an act of discovery of something that was always present.

I am sad at the moment but reflective.

It helps being so close to nature, here in Kyoto. The campus is in the hills on the edge of a forest. I went for a walk among the huge cedars this morning, and thought of the lama.

I love you very much and miss you.