Touched by Grace: Dream with Venerable Tharchin

I had a dream two nights ago where I met Venerable Tharchin. He was very, very old, and with the help of about 4-5 assistants holding up each limb, he was doing Tai Chi with what I understood to be him fine tuning his very last last inner winds before his death. I spontaneously went to hug him and did so for several seconds, which I can still feel now like a direct lived experience. Then, in the dream, I thought I had woken up and I ran into a dear Sangha friend who was also very close to Tharchin. I told her that I had just had a dream with Venerable Tharchin and, surprised, she said that she too just had one. I asked her what she had dreamt, and she was about to tell me, but then I woke up from that dream into my normal waking state.

I was then left with a clear feeling that Venerable Tharchin might be near his death (how near, very hard to say) and that I should contact my Sangha friend about this dream. She replied that at almost that exact time of my dream, somebody was falsely accusing her of something, and instead of retaliating as she normally would have done, she felt touched by grace and responded with wisdom instead. Around that time, she also for some reason thought of me and was feeling warm and close (we haven’t seen each other in years and have had little contact).

What does this dream mean for me? Clearly some sort of karmic convergence occurred.

In my dream, I was left with the feeling that he might be near the end, but he was just in the final stages of fine tuning his mind and his winds before he does. With Thich Nhat Han dying and everything else happening in 2020, it wouldn’t surprise me if he soon passed. I’m left thinking perhaps everything happening in the world is actually just pre-purification of them practicing taking and giving in the world before they do. I remember Venerable Tharchin once saying it only takes a handful of truly holy beings in this world to create a safety net preventing the world from completely sinking into samsara. Them dying doesn’t mean this protection will disappear any more than Jesus dying did; in fact, it might be when their protection rises to the next level.

I’m also reminded of what Venerable Tharchin once said about Sangha. He said the inner Dharma center is the realizations of the people who attend the center bound together by the love they feel for each other and the closeness of the karma they have together. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Kadampas have been deeply touched by Venerable Tharchin’s presence in this world. I have always for very inexplicable reasons had a very close connection with many of his former students, especially the Sangha friend of my dream. Tharchin lives on in this world through us and our connections with each other. I think his former students have a responsibility to stay close to one another, even if life takes us apart. We have special bonds.

I’m also reminded of the story of the last time I saw Ven. Tharchin. It was 2 years ago at the Summer Festival. He has terrible Parkinson’s right now. I walked into his room, he was lying on his bed shaking uncontrolledly, drool running down his mouth, he could barely speak above a whisper, etc. We started talking, this went on for a while, and then I asked him, “so how are YOU?” He then said without missing a beat, “despite all appearances, I’m doing quite well thanks.” He had always spoken of, advocated for, and taught extensively retreat. He was on a long retreat once and he felt like he was close to attaining enlightenment, and he went to Geshe-la and said if he could stay in retreat a little bit longer, he could do it. Geshe-la told him, “if you stay in retreat, you could attain enlightenment, but you would become a ‘useless Buddha’ because you have no karmic connections with others.” Geshe-la then asked him to leave his retreat and go teach. From that, many of our most Senior teachers have emerged. I’m guessing in his mind, he was going to spend his twilight years in deep retreat, or at least that is what I had always imagined. Then he got Parkinson’s. But after speaking with him, I felt that learning how to transform his Parkinson’s was his final retreat, just in a different form. Such is the power of his mind and example for us all.

I’m reminded that Venerable Tharchin stayed at my friend in the dream’s house when he visited Geneva for teachings and empowerments, and we all had lunch together once on her patio. My wife was pregnant at the time with our third child, and he blessed the baby. Shortly before my wife became pregnant, a nun and former student of Tharchin’s died of cancer, and after my child was born, another Sangha friend – also a close student of Tharchin’s – said she had a strong feeling our child was this nun reborn. My wife did her Vajrayogini close retreat while pregnant with this child, and literally not 20 minutes after she finished her retreat, she went into labor.

I’m sharing all of this first to record it so I don’t forget, but also I know many people have a close connection with Tharchin and might want to know. My friend in the dream concluded her reply message to me by saying “a dream within a dream.” So many layers of truth in so few words.

13 thoughts on “Touched by Grace: Dream with Venerable Tharchin

  1. I thank you so much for sharing this as I have had a close karmic connection with Venable Tharchin
    I think it was 2003 or 2004 that I went to Tharpaland in Scotland and did a medicine Buddha retreat with him. I was also one of the three chosen to have a private meeting with him which was very special
    I was just looking at his picture the other day and feeling so much love and good fortune and having time with him. My first teacher was Gen Togden who was a student of his
    I’m feeling very fortunate and thank you again for sharing this

  2. Tharchin was my first teacher. It was 1992. The very beginning in Toronto Canada and North America and South America. Tharchin has entered into the path without sorrow he is at peace. We have a great task to follow hi. For the benefit of all living beings.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. Please keep us posted if you hear anything. My dear friend Kelsang Dachog, who turned 95 this year, feels close to him. He asked her to meet with him during the very special HYT festival in Berlin years ago and it really meant a lot to her. If there is news of him I’d like to pass it along.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I’ve always felt very close to Venerable Tharchin. I always feel close to him.
    Yesterday I was reviewing my notes from a teaching inGeneva and also the ones from Tharpaland in Scotland.
    So fortunate

  5. Years ago I went to Tharpaland and did a weekend course with Venerable Tharchin in emptiness.
    After the course I had the good fortune to have a meeting with him in his caravan. I was quite disappointed, because I had all these challenges to discuss with him and he seemed reluctant to talk about it.
    A few months later at the summer festival, after a great teaching – I was feeling all blessed and connected, and I saw venerable Tharchin and said hello. He waved me over to talk. He said remember when we chatted a few months ago and you wanted my advice? I didn’t say much because you were grasping strongly- but now your mind is blessed and full of merit; so now I’ll talk about anything you like 😊

    That had a deep impact on me; and taught me to always try to make important decisions with a blessed and connected mind.

  6. Thank you so much Ryan for sharing this blessed dream….Gen Tharchin is my 1st teacher Gen Togden’s 1st teacher so same “lineage”. He has always been very dear to me. I miss being around teachers like this who have sooooo much Wisdom it just radiates off of them ,and so accessible back then ,one could talk to them in person. Back then teachers never tried to “hide” the harsh reality of Buddha’s teachings of Samsara, Rebirth ,Death and Hell Realms. (A hard sell in Dharma centers so many went with “Happiness!”) Gen Tharchin is authentic, very precious to me and i feel honored to have gotten to meet him at all and talk with him and laugh with him in this lifetime. He has been so witty and so wise…Thank you again for sharing this with us…….

  7. I’ve only eve heard him teach once, and it was liking witnessing a master conductor of an orchestra who sounded like Donald Sutherland. Thank you for writing this.

  8. I’ve only eve heard him teach once, and it was liking witnessing a master conductor of an orchestra who sounded like Donald Sutherland. Thank you for writing this. I love hearing stories of old, like his conversation with Geshe-la. I will keep him in my prayers, although I think I should be requesting him to keep me in his.

    Thank you.

  9. Thank you, so wonderful to hear about this dream. A reminder of just how special Ven. Tharchin is. I remember one evening at my very first summer festival, I was sat in a cafe with Ven Tharchin sat with his back to me. I had no idea who he was but I had a strong urge to put my hand on the back of the chair that he was sitting on. I gently wrapped my hand around the centre slat of the chair, as soon as I did he leant back and positioned his back so that his heart chakra was squashing my hand. We both sat in that position for what seemed like an eternity. All the time this was happening, I felt like I was receiving the most extraordinary empowerment! We never spoke a word or even looked at each other that night. From that day on whenever I saw Tharchin and would instantly start to cry. Just being in his presence made me feel the most extraordinary compassion for others, and, on the occasions I had the good fortune to receive teachings from him, my concentration felt effortless. Such a special holy being

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