Remembering Bhante

 

Bhante93Photo taken outside his rented house in Lathrop, CA in June of 1982

I came to California – arriving on Memorial Day Weekend 1982 – to study with Bhante or the Dharmawara Mathahera. In some ways I was ready to work with him – but in most ways I rebelled. A year later I moved out. Bhante gave me his shakti (spiritual energy from the guru) upon leaving and I used this to develop myself on my own spiritual path. Bhante and I remained friends. The photograph you see here was take when he was 93.  I saw him shortly after his 100th birthday (a second photo not shown here) and then again at 101 when he was living in Merced by the Merced River. I last saw Bhante when he turned 109 about a year before his death when he spoke in both English and lapsing into Cambodian in mid-sentence with a Monk to interpret.

About six months after his death I had this dream – one of those very real dream-time dreams –

I was at a small hut / temple in monsoon season in the midst of a rice paddy. It was night. The temple was on stilts to avoid being flooded. The Dali Lama was there.  I was bowing – and then on my knees kissing the hem of his garment.

“Get up, Frank,” The Dali Lama said laughing. “You’re one of us.”

I stood dazed and slightly disoriented:

“I am?”

“Oh yes.  Besides I am here as a bridge to open a way for this man…”

The Dali Lama pulled back a heavy drape.  There was smiling face with bright orange light all around. It was Bhante.

“How come you haven’t come to visit me before now?”

“Well, Bhante, I hate to tell you this, but you’re dead.”

“Do I look dead to you?”

“Oops…”

The dead are the death of bodies. Spirit lives on.

Bhante is with me and helps me in my work on an on-going basis.

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