In 1980 His Holiness Karmapa came to many Vajradhatu Centers in the United States. I first saw him when he visited RMDC in Colorado, (now Shambhala Mountain Center, home of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya). I’d been practicing less than a year and had just driven in from Texas.
Before the Black Crown ceremony, he blessed a new retreat cabin, where a tree was being planted to honor the occasion. I was late and was running down the dirt road in high heels from the main area up to the top of a rocky hill. A small crowd of American student types were standing around. Someone was digging a hole and there were some people in robes. I didn’t know what was going on or anyone there. Then, I noticed one man, a monk, who was so very still. He was just standing, completely at ease. I stared at him, feeling anxious, breathless and confused. And through that crowd of people, I felt he looked directly at me. Everybody was talking or moving about, but for me, everything stopped. There was nothing, just cessation. I had no words then and few now to describe that feeling of clear open space. I learned later that day, at the Black Crown Ceremony, that the monk was His Holiness Karmapa.