About as geographically isolated from members of my community as one can get, I was despairing a bit recently, one of many times over the past few years since I moved 2,574 km from anywhere. I found myself wishing again that I had a trusted friend with whom I could collaborate, someone who is without doubt in the 2nd statement of GD sense of the word.
In doing this, I remembered a story that ChNN has told about his uncle Togden Ogyen Tendzin. Reading it last night inspired me to relate the story and throw this question out there:
"Is there anyone reading this who is able, and willing, to walk with me to Sengchen Namdrag?"
For whatever reason, at this time and in this "place" that isn't a place I have a feeling something good will come from asking.
I'm not Togden Ogyen Tendzin, obviously, nor do I expect a Togden to respond. I have confidence that there are more "good practitioners" in the west than some might think. The principle in the story is an important one, and in my case right now, the need is the same as it was long ago.
From ChNN's "An Oral Commentary on Longchenpa's Precious Ship"
"Adzam Drugpa said: "Now you go back to your country, and there is a rock called Sengchen Namdrag", a famous rock that is considered a holy place ... You go on this rock, and there is a cave called the cave of Vairochana. You go there and stay in a long retreat for some years, until I call you to return to me.
Then my uncle agreed to go there. But before he left, Adzam Drugpa said: "You must go back to your country with one of my disciples". And then Adzam Drugpa sent one of his disciples, a Togden, a good practitioner, to accompany and stay with my uncle. So they left, my uncle and the Togden. Normally, if people go straight from Adzam Drugpa's place to my uncle's country, it usually takes four or five days. If you were to go very, very slowly, then it might take ten days, at the most twelve days, but no more than that. But then that Togden disciple of Adzam Drugpa was a practitioner of Chod. Every day he was going around to special places. One day he said: "Oh there is a cemetary; we shall go there," and then he would do some practice in the cemetary. And then on another day, he said, "Oh, there is a forest; we shall do some practice there". In this way, they went everywhere and it took more than three months to reach my uncle's place.
But there was really great meaning in this. Because every day the Togden was walking with my uncle and talking with him, nor really teaching formally, but always talking about anything. Slowly, slowly, talking, talking for many days, they finally arrived at the rock and by then my uncle had perfect knowledge of contemplation.
Then they did a retreat, and after one or two years, Adzam Drugpa called them to come back and when my Uncle returned, Adzam Drugpa asked him many things. He was very satisfied and said to my uncle: "Oh, your practice and understanding is perfect".