Story of the Blessing on the Road to Darjeeling, India (Orange, black, and white butterflies, North of Ft. Bragg, California, USA), a photo by Wonderlane on Flickr.
Accompanied by American sangha (Buddhist congregation members) the senior Tibetan Buddhist Lama from Seattle, His Holiness Dagchen Sakya traveled overseas to Darjeeling, India in 1999 to give Sakya Lamdre, a series of initiations into highest yoga tantra - advanced meditation. While on their way to the Sakya sect 'Ghoom Monastery', an older monastery nestled high in the Himalayan foothills above Darjeeling something fun occurred when he stopped on the road to give blessings -- which illustrates prejudice and removes it in the wise.
Traveling from the US, and after several days arriving from New Delhi at the small airport nearest Darjeeling, His Holiness Dagchen Sakya, his family members, and entourage were escorted by about 15 Range Rover trucks driven by monks and festooned with Buddhist flags and white silken ritual khataks (scarves) tied onto their mirrors, loaded with the traveling group and attended by many monks and supporters. Driving up the steep Himalayan mountain road the monks had the entourage stop twice for the benefit of the Tibetan Buddhist crowds eager to see the famed lama, once at a store, and once in an open space on the road.
When Dagchen Rinpoche's vehicle stopped he recited a Buddhist blessing to the crowd, and accepted more than a few hundred khataks from the welcoming crowds. Those who were not able to get close to him threw the long white scarves towards him, and these were added to and thrown by others which looked like piles of snow flung towards the sky - coming closer and closer until the fluffy white khataks rolled in piles at his feet.
The masses of people were so numerous they covered the rough and rocky landscape like huge flocks of sheep going off to the distance along the long mountainous road.
Because the caravan had stopped arbitrarily going up the hill large numbers of Tibetan people ran up just to catch sight of HH Dagchen Sakya, or to offer him a khatak, or touch him to obtain his blessing. Just seeing him once is considered very good luck. Many people surged towards him, so the monks protected him from being overwhelmed by his well-wishers and admirers.
In a Range Rover right behind Dagchen Rinpoche was an American (white skinned, blue-eyed, brown haired, female) long time student Sherab Wongmo - she jumped out of the back of the truck when they stopped.
As Dagchen Rinpoche gave the powerful blessing there wasn't enough access to him - his blessing transferred to her like a power station - she stretched out her arms and the blessing poured through her.
Dozens of Tibetan people came up and touched her lightly with their fingers and hands as the power of the Buddha's blessing flowed through her like electricity - especially though her outstretched arms. They clung to her arms like many butterflies clinging to a flower from all angles. They nestled up next to her body under her arms like children. More people touched the people who were touching her in a chain.
When HH Dagchen Sakya completed reciting his blessing the people touching Sherab Wongmo were a little embarrassed that they were clinging to an Injee (Westerner) like that. They chuckled and smiled and looked surprised and embarrassed and began to walk away. But there was no doubt that they had the blessing in this way. Some older Tibetan women smiled and clicked their teeth in a sign of approval ('you did it! we received the blessing!').
Tibetan high school girls wanted to examine this Westerner lady more closely, so they asked to see the silver ring she wore that had a symbol of the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) on it. But the teenagers weren't so eager to return it - the ring fell onto the road, and Sherab Wongmo chased the ring rolling down the steep wet Himalayan road while they laughed.
With the monks chanting her name in fun she grabbed the ring up off the muddy road, and ran up the hill to catch up with the entourage, and jumped in the back of the Range Rover just as it sped off for Ghoom Monastery high above Darjeeling, in West Bengal, India to encounter more adventures.