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Lions Roar : March 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2012 30 The letter, written in Tibetan, explained that from a young age Mingyur Rinpoche had wanted to practice by traveling alone from place to place in the style of a wandering yogi, and that he’d finally made the decision to do so. “Though I do not claim to be like the great masters of times past,” he wrote, “I am now embarking on this journey as a mere reflection of these teachers, as a faithful imi- tation of the example they set. For a number of years, my training will consist of simply leaving behind my connections, so please do not be upset with my decision.” He urged his students to continue practicing in his absence and not to worry about him. More than eight months have passed since Mingyur Rinpoche disappeared, and still no one knows where he is. Cortland Dahl is the president of the board of Tergar International, a network of meditation centers and study groups under Mingyur Rinpoche’s guidance. When I ask Dahl if he has any guesses regarding his teacher’s whereabouts, he tells me that the short answer is no, but that there have been rumors. “I just heard on Facebook,” Dahl tells me, “that he was seen at Tso Pema, which is a famous pilgrimage site in northern India, and I heard someone else say they had an unconfirmed sighting in Ladakh. I have no idea if they really did see him. But if anybody did, and he got the sense that people knew he was there, I’m sure the first thing he would do is pack up and head somewhere else.” THE OLD MONK Lama Soto knocked on Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s door. Then he knocked again. It was noon at Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya, India, and Lama Soto was bringing Mingyur Rinpoche his lunch, just as he’d done for the past five days, ever since Mingyur Rinpoche had announced that he was going to intensify his practice and remain alone in his room, eating only once a day. Their cus- tom was that Lama Soto would knock on the door; in response, Mingyur Rinpoche would open it a little, then Lama Soto would walk in. But on this day early last June, Mingyur Rinpoche did not open the door and no sound came from his room. At one o’clock, Lama Soto pushed open the unlocked door and on the bed he found a long white ceremonial scarf and a letter. Mingyur Rinpoche was gone and he had taken nothing with him—not money, not a change of clothes, not even a toothbrush. Lama Soto nearly fainted. Above left: Mingyur Rinpoche at seven with his father Urgyen Rinpoche, brother Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and mother Sonam Chodron. Above: Mingyur Rinpoche at eight in Nubri, Nepal. Far left: Mingyur Rinpoche at thir- teen with his first three-year retreat group at Sherab Ling. Left: Mingyur Rinpoche participating in meditation research at Richie Davidson’s Wais- man Laboratory for Brain Imaging at University of Wisconsin. LABPHOTOCOURTESYOFWAISMANBRAINIMAGINGLAB,UNIVERSITYOFWISCONSIN-MADISON