Rinpoche began his 2014 teaching tour at Karma Shedrup Ling Retreat Center near Oslo, Norway (March 30 – April 4, 2014). Below are heart-felt impressions of “Liberating the Heart, Fearless Love: A Dzogchen Approach” by retreatant Heide Koch and exquisite portraits by Olivier Adam (www.olivieradam.fr)
“Six days of silent retreat in the Norwegian woods—what could sound like a romantic, cosy, maybe even self-indulging and in the worst case spaced-out piece of pleasant spirituality actually turned out to be tough work on the self-to-be-overcome—from the basic tasks of observance and mindfulness, healing and arriving in clarity up to the even harder part of letting go and non-doing and seeing the essence. Each of Rinpoche’s seminars is a new, fresh, and most inspiring experience on its own.
“What a perfect place for such a retreat to unfold its beneficial effects, Karma Shedrup Ling! This area is in the forest, quite remote from Oslo, so quiet and adorned by beautiful landscape, breathing the blessings of great masters who have come to visit, teach and guide the Sangha over the years. A group of dedicated practitioners built this centre out of love and are running it with great care and responsibility, including Lama Changchup and Ani Könchog Lhamo, who was happy and grateful for Rinpoche to return to Oslo for the third time after seven years.
“Sixty-five people participated in the retreat, mostly from Norway but also coming from Sweden, Scotland, Germany and the Netherlands. Norwegians, not being very talkative anyway, are good at keeping silence, which seems to match their temperament. Using his own well-known scale of meditation style, Rinpoche ranked the locals close to the Germans, meaning discipline was present, as well as intelligence, much to his satisfaction: ‘I think it was a very good retreat, from my view! You kept silence very well!’
“Rinpoche balanced the teachings impressively so that they suited the variety of his students: from very young and new in the Dharma—yet enthusiastic and highly motivated, to the older and sometimes very experienced Sangha members, including some Western Dharma pioneers.
“There was nowhere to hide. Rinpoche would point out to us our subtle misconceptions with utmost clarity, only to uproot and dissolve them in heart-warming humour and radiant compassion one after the other. He invoked the great realized masters and his own teachers in order to bestow pointing out instructions, but by this time most everyone had already generated such devotion to Rinpoche, representing himself what he was calling upon, that the blessing and inspiration were abundant. ‘You cannot teach devotion—it needs to happen!’ and, ‘It will change your relationship with sentient beings.’ Tears of gratitude and genuine appreciation were all around.
“Rinpoche hopes to return to Norway in the not too distant future: ‘I was very tired in Nepal, came here, rested, nobody came here to disturb!’ Thank you Rinpoche!”