Shamarpa 1986 small

You don’t have to fear to swim against the stream

Michael den Hoet

Having the chance to bid farewell to the great Kunzig Shamarpa in idyllic Renchen-Ulm, I realized clearer than ever how much Rinpoche had inspired me. I received both my first Bodhisattva promise and my first tantric buddhist initiation from him in 1986; his ‘retour-smile’ to me then reflected just joy. When in later years we met several times at group talks concerning PR activities in favour of Karmapa Thaye Dorje and on other occasions, he was always both charismatic and hands-on, completely honest, clear in his words, but as polite as possible and absolutely well-acquainted with the western mentality. Besides this, I liked his kind of humor very much.

Kunzig Shamarpa’s life was dominated by his responsibilities for the Karma Kagyu tradition at exciting times and under hard circumstances. His struggle for a free and authentic Karmapa deserved highest respect. We learnt: When, after thorough pondering, you are convinced of something, you do not have to fear to swim against the stream. What an example of courage and loyalty!

The days after Rinpoche’s passing visitors saw many rainbows, aureoles around the sun and highly unusual cloud formations in and around Renchen. Kunzig Shamarpa’s body may be gone, but not his blessing. I feel overwhelmed by gratitude.