Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Remembering Gelek Rimpoche (1939-2017)


A tender moment with Philip Glass, Gelek Rimpoche and Allen, 1989


Today,  I learned of Gelek Rimpoche's passing, a sad event for his many students and people whose lives he touched. Born in 1939, Gelek Rimpoche was one of the last of his generation to be educated traditionally--a rigorous training from early childhood. He proved an effective Teacher to Americans having many prominent students such as Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, Richard Gere, and others. 

One day in 1989 when I had begun to work in the office of Allen Ginsberg, I remember well the first time I met Rimpoche and heard his unique voice (he favored the Rimpoche spelling as opposed to the more common Rinpoche) via a phone call he made asking to speak with Allen who was not in his office. He wanted to ask If Allen could be on his board of Jewel Heart or something official like that. I remember listing to him Allen's other dharma obligations. In any case,  he was quite engaging with very good English. Later I traveled a number of times with Allen to Ann Arbor, MI where Rimpoche at that time  gave weekly teachings in a small Gonpa above his garage. He was a marvelous master of Tsongkhapa's lineage and the lam rim  teachings.    Although,  I felt more drawn to the Dzogchen teaching, at the time, I really respected his methods and to this day employ his analytical meditation technique--which is extremely important as a base for one's understanding of the so called "nature of mind."



Gelek Rimpoche and Allen had a lot of fun. Often when Gelek Rimpoche stayed with Allen in his rather humble six floor walk-up apartment on East 12th Street, I would see them together while delivering Allen's mail. Gelek Rimpoche was especially fond of telling many ribald tales about the sexual practices of monks in Tibet which  Allen found amusing. They also shared a keen love of the daily news--Allen, the NYTimes and Gelek Rimpoche, CNN. 
I remember during the first Iraq war we were all watching George Bush Senior on CNN and Gelek Rimpoche saying that he (George Bush senior) had no idea of the karmic implications of his policies for America. 

My sincere regards to all of Gelek Rimpoche's many fine students who are among the most kind and generous dharma practitioners in America. The apple, as they say, does not fall far from the tree. To learn more about Gelek Rimpoche's teachings and Jewel Heart visit:


Jacqueline Gens and Gelek Rimpoche at Allen's kitchen table--
photo by Allen Ginsberg circa early 1990.s


Jacqueline Gens
February 15, 2017

*Photo taken with Allen Ginsberg's camera in Ann Arbor, MI 1989 by Gloria Boyajian

On Lion's Roar  you can read a series of articles by Gelek Rimpoche



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