The Guru is everything. He is the priceless gem we neurotically seek, the jackpot we incessantly dig for, the fulfillment of our heartfelt dreams, our deepest yearning’s completion.
When starting the cancer treatment, I didn’t quite know what to expect. No one prepares you for what you are about to enter into. The surgery with all its complications was just nothing in comparison. Whilst I had been feeling like a zombie during the last 20 years, I now transitioned and mutated into a ghost.
When we think of chemo we associate it with being attached to some kind of drip and to lying in a sort of chair for hours on end, expect nausea, hair loss and fatigue. The truth is quite different. Only to start with getting hooked up to the drip, you receive around five different injections through the device implanted into the strongest vein of one’s system in preparation, and they don’t go by without irritation. With every drop of poison entering your system you feel your life essence fading away, feeling weaker every minute, paler by default, dark rings evolving under your eyes, freezing to numbness, unable to lift yourself off that fatal chair with eyes that show little life.
No one tells you that your entire nervous system and muscles will be badly damaged, hands and feet not only completely numb but like a frozen piece of wood, combined with the sensation of a nearing explosion, walking impossible, all movements like that of a Parkinson’s patient, nerves multi-neuropathically damaged and if ever again, it will take many years for a new nervous system to rebuild. One is unable to speak, rather slurs, with body coordination lost, food and drink like the most acid vinegar in one’s mouth and one is in need of help for the barest necessities just like showering or dressing. Your organs on the brink of giving up – kidneys, lungs and heart simply trying to refuse to work, a stomach that is so destroyed that drinking a few sips of water bring forth the wildest cramping, let alone getting any food down, your teeth trying to jump out of your mouth just to escape the toxins, all senses ground zero, all mucous membranes in your body more or less destroyed, thromboses, embolus and so much more. In brief, one’s body is wrecked beyond recognition. I’m not all too bothered by pain. After surgery I stopped painkillers, both epidural and IVs after three days and opted for some tests without sedation, very much to the shock of my doctors. A clear mind is always my first option. But this was different. The chemo infusions and 30 daily pills, a third being chemo pills, the rest tablets to deal with the most severe side effects, definitely left their mark. Such incidents open one’s eye to the crumbling falsehood of multi layered scenarios into the fresh lightness of intrinsic being. Our human bodies are so very fragile! Impermanence at its best.
To sum it up, the beginning was chaotic and with every new problem arising – and I needed to go to hospital every few days with new complications unfolding – you are unsure if it is normal or something you must pay attention to, bearing the potential to develop into tragedy. My cancer is stage 4, very aggressive and most likely likely to return. The last staging was clear, closely monitored loads of regular tests lie ahead. Without dharma I guess there is chance I would suffered heavily just like a lot of us “corpses” during treatment do. During the infusions I heard people listening to new age self-affirmation tapes whilst going through the gravest fears, others crying out in pain and so much more. One does “sleep” 80% of the day, if it may be called sleep. A day was more like a never ending cycle of 1-2 hour dozes throughout the 24 hours. Since having left th most pressing affairs to some people for a brief period they created almost irreversible damage, therefore during that time, too, instead of just resting I was dealing with companies, the bank, ordering material, giving instruction on the construction of our Retreat Institute and more which deems difficult if one’s voice is so fable that it is almost unheard and a brain that is so heavily drugged that it is hard to keep one’s eyes open, let alone think clearly and linear.
During this period all I would do was to hang onto my Guru’s vast heart. He so often called me and lifted the heaviness of uncertainty into the lightheartedness of a small child: The Buddha himself caring for someone as inferior as me is an experience I have no words to describe. Being embedded in the holy dharma, held tight by our glorious Guru is the jackpot all the others are so frantically seeking without of course knowing they ever were.
The Guru is everything. An authentic guru is the greatest miracle existence holds for us. Especially these days where there is so much fake and harmful endeavors around, seducing insecure seekers into their personal abyss, so hard to fathom. I strongly believe in karma and the simple truth is: everyone is swimming in their own pool of it. In all sincerity, all we can do is offer a helping hand. And I love to be of help. One of my worst scenarios is to spend a life useless to others. Still, it’s up to everyone if they take this hand or continue digging deeper into an unbecoming future. Not even Buddha can liberate us, it is we who have to go through the process of purification to uncover pristine perception.
Even though all I could think of was our Precious Lord, day and night; before the Sun of my life, I confess intrinsic love slipping out of my hands so often I can’t even pin it down in figures, not really fit to benefit myself, not to think of others.
Our Supreme Guru Vajradhara is the universe’s crowning. His kindness exceeds all longing. He is the never ceasing light extracting you from the busyness of neuroses, the fragrant hue of truth pervading all tragic, the only valid refuge in this storm of unsettledness, all I care and have lived for, for more than half of my life.
May impermanence, karma cause and result, our precious human body and samsara become a living truth and our Glorious Lord live unerringly long bearing the health of an invincible adolescent. May we always be allowed to remain at his holy feet to be of the littlest of service for his love spreading into all atoms of existence.
Chöje Lama Palmo
P.S.Actually, I had hoped to talk to you briefly on Zoom but have to admit it won’t be feasible for some time to come. A single phone call exhausts me in such a way that I need to spend long time in bed afterwards. Therefore I am requesting you all to practice in accordance with the instructions you received from your teacher and, even if so far you had not had a regular, daily routine in your practice, to get started now as it is never too late to enter the journey to our hearts, center of all being. Know, you are in my prayers – until we shall meet again, all the very best to you all.
pictures from top to bottom:
Guru Vajradhara during New Years’ celebrations
Guru Vajradhara during online transmisson
Guru Vajradhara teaching in Palpung Yeshe Rabgye Ling Nunnery
Guru Vajradhara acepting body, speech, ming activities offering form Lamala during Mahamudra transmission in Delhi
Guru Vajradhara in Assisi during Peace activities