Three summers ago, I went to a talk on “Being Radically Happy” by former Silicon Valley guru Erric Solomon and Tibetan yogi practitioner Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche. As I was introduced to Rinpoche, an honorific applied to Tibetan Buddhist teachers, we shook hands and he said to me, “We have met before.” I assured him no, we had not. He looked closely at me, nodded ever so slightly, and mystically said, “Oh yes, we have met before.” I have since traveled to Rangjung Yeshe Gomde Meditation Center Cooperstown and Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling in Kathmandu, where he is Vajra Master at the home base of his uncle, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, to study with the jovial Rinpoche, who has a robust love of life and learning — and for good hamburgers and steak, which often make it into his metaphors as he teaches. In addition, he is responsible for many other monastic and teaching responsibilities that you can explore here, while his popular online courses, including Dharma-Stream, can be found at Samye Institute.
The thirty-seven-year-old married father of two will be back in New York City this week, hosting two programs on August 1 at the Rubin Museum. At 1:00, Rinpoche, whose book with Solomon, Radically Happy: A User’s Guide to the Mind, will be published in October, will lead a Mindfulness Meditation, consisting of an opening talk, a twenty-minute sitting session, and a closing discussion, all centered around a specific work of art in the museum’s collection. (The continuing series is presented by the Hemera Foundation, Sharon Salzberg, the Interdependence Project, and Parabola magazine; upcoming teachers include Tracy Cochran, Kate Johnson, and Salzberg.) At 7:00, in “Stories of Padmasambhava,” Rinpoche will share tales from the life of Guru Padmasambhava, the precious master who incarnated fully enlightened, as well as his student Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, recognized as the Mother of Tibetan Buddhism. The program will be preceded by a curator tour of “The Second Buddha” exhibition at 6:15 led by Elena Pakhoutova, and the stories will be followed by a Q&A and closing meditation. Rinpoche is an engaging, enthusiastic storyteller, so this should be a very rare and special evening.