Garchen Rinpoche speaks to crowded audience at Crossroads Center

Holly Rillovick
Staff Writer

Prescott College’s Crossroads Center was jam-packed on March 8 with people who came to hear H.E. Garchen Rinphoche, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, speak about learning how to love.

Upon entering the Crossroads Center, each person was given a small yellow booklet called “The Thirty-Seven Bodhisattva Practices.” Inside, groups of people bustled around the room to find good seats. Almost all of them were filled by 5:30 pm.

Everyone fell silent when Garchen, draped in a red robe, entered with his interpreter and entourage. Garchen and his interpreter took up their post before the audience.

“My friends … many of you I’ve known for many years, so we are all friends,” began Garchen. “Some of you are new friends. But in reality, there are no old or new friends … You are like my family. And I love you all, just like my family.”

The interpreter translated each segment only after Garchen spoke himself in his mother tongue. Understanding the interpreter proved difficult due to the combination of a thick accent, the echo from the microphone speakers, and a wailing toddler. At times, it almost sounded as if the interpreter, too, was speaking a foreign language, but it seemed that the rapt listeners were able to understand enough for the experience to be valuable.

“Whatever the experience, [it] is the embodiment of our actions,” said the interpreter.

Garchen and the interpreter spoke for about an hour and a half.

When Garchen finished his talk, some assistants handed out regal-looking red stickers with a mantra written on them in gold script. Below the mantra, the stickers read, “In the kutagara Sutra it said that if the crown of one’s head passes once beneath this mantra, the misdeeds of a thousand eons will be purified.”

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