Vignettes

My life with His Eminence Lakha Rinpoche

September 2020. By Dakpa Tenzin, Tibetan-English translator for Pia Kryger, and former Manager of Tibet Charity in Nepal.

My name is Dakpa Tenzin. I was born in a Tibetan refugee Bawa-family of nine children during a time where all Tibetan parents were living a life filled with hardship due to the communist Chinese occupation of Tibet. Bawa, or Bathang County, in the Kham province in eastern Tibet, is blessed with her head Lama, His Eminence Ba Lakha Lama who is very compassionate and highly respected. He is considered as holy as H.H. the Dalai Lama in that region and even small kids call out his name when they stumble. Even among Bawa-children born in exile, H.E. Lakha Lama is on their tongues when they pray.
 
I became a monk at the age of eight and, while I was studying at a monastic school, I studied very hard to learn English with the aim of being a translator for H.E. Lakha Lama’s wife, if they ever were to travel to the Bathang region. I had this thought from a very young age, although I had not much idea of their lives in a western country. This thought was so precious to me.
In 2000, when H.E. Lakha Lama traveled for the first time from Denmark to visit our monastery, all the monks from the four Bawa Khangtsens in Drepung and Gaden Monasteries felt honored to arrange a grand reception. And most of all for me, being assigned to be the interpreter for his wife was without doubt my life’s dream come true. I was a bit nervous at the rare opportunity to be the interpreter for the first lady of the Bathang County. However, since then I have become their closest disciple and friend. Rinpoche is the 20th reincarnation of Lakha Lama and the senior-most lama in the region. We are all nervous about approaching him, but he is so humble and down to earth, and so is his wife Madam Pia. I am the luckiest person from Bawa, to have had such a precious time to serve them. Since then, I have traveled with them to so many places in India and Nepal. The most precious time was in the Bathang region in Tibet where I was their interpreter. Bathang is my late father’s birth place. If he was alive, he would be very proud to see his son serving his root lama.
 
I have witnessed the close bond between Rinpoche and the Bathang people in Tibet. People were dying to receive his blessing. Everyone, from the youngest kids to the oldest people cried when they had a glimpse of him and his wife. There are so many true accounts of sick and depressed people recovering after being blessed by him. Most surprisingly, not only people from Bawa itself, but also nearby regions, want a piece of his clothing – even a sock – to protect them from evil spirits. Sometimes I was kept busy changing his socks every minute. I cannot write everything here since I have limited space, but one night in Zongtsa town people were lying on the road to stop Rinpoche’s car and begging him stay overnight in their town. Months with Rinpoche are not enough for Bawa-people, they all wish for him to return to Tibet forever. Madam Pia also wishes that Rinpoche could spend more time in Bathang, but the Chinese administration does not allow it, which is very sad.
 
I have had the great privilege of serving H.E. Lakha Lama, Madam Pia, and their charity organization, Tibet Charity, for ten years. These have been the most precious years of my life. I have also been invited to his residence in Denmark several times. I always pray that both of them have a healthy and long life. Through them I have so many good friends in Demark and Sweden to whom I am always thankful. Rinpoche and Madam Pia have done great humanitarian work for the neediest, and not only for Bawa-people but for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. I love them both so much.