AKONG RINPOCHE The Coat (1)

‘Will you make me a coat

that looks respectable and rich

yet able to keep out

the winter of Eastern Tibet.’

We began to make a coat

gold brocade on the outside

three linings on the inside.

Rabbit fur, moss green wool

and a silken peacock blue

for the final trim.

We stitched and tacked and tailored

and stayed up nights

till we were sure

it would keep out the chill

of the winds, the cold of the snows

and still look respectable.

Finally we fitted him

with the coat before he left.

To top it, a matching hat.

Months later

when the snows had melted

he returned without the coat.

And when I asked him, he said

‘I never intended to wear it.

It was for the old man

high up on the plateau.’

—By Angela McCabe.

[Angela is a devoted student of Akong Rinpoche who resided at Samye Ling during the 1980s. She now works at Jampa Ling, Cavan with Ven Panchen Ötrul Rinpoch—a fellow student and lifelong friend with Akong Rinpoche.]

All at Jampa Ling are reciting prayers and mantras for Rinpoche, his nephew and attendant monk at this tragic time.