For as long as I can remember I have always had this image of myself sitting on the ledge of a cave. In front of me is this frail old figure. He is seated meditating. He wears a light colored robe. In the distance are the snow-capped mountains, and below us, it seems within walking distance are little postage stamped sized plots of cultivated land. It reminds me of rice fields because they look so green.

I always thought the scene was somewhere in China. Once many years ago when I was in Hong Kong, my friend CARMEL GREENWOOD invited me to a Past Life Rregression seminar with DENISE LINN. At that seminar I saw the cave again, more clearly than earlier... I thought then I must have lived in a cave in one of my past lives.

When I met Rinpoche the first time in Bodghaya, he had invited Master Yap Cheng Hai and I for lunch. Over lunch he described what I later learned was the Lawado Cave to us.

To this day I do not know if he was testing me but he made two deliberate "mistakes" in the description of the cave... and I instantly corrected Him. He said the entrance to the cave was quite large and I said "No it is quite small and low - you have to bend to enter... and then He said the inside of the cave was quite spacious and I said "No it is quite small..." and then he asked me how I knew and I said quite truthfully that I hadn't a clue! For a long time I wondered if I had lived with Rinpoche in a past life and thus had some kind of a karmic connection with Him.

Now I am positive, that not just me but all His students must have lived with Rinpoche in past lives before. Rinpoche is the reincarnation of the Lawado Lama - an Enlightened Being who lived in that region in the first half of this century.

I was facinated with the thought that I too might have lived with Him in Lawado. I was desperate to go to Lawado... but Rinpoche is wise and kind. He worried that I might not be strong enough to withstand the altitude, and I think maybe he also wanted me to develop non attachment to the idea of this specific past life connection...

It was almost 18 months before Rinpoche at last took me up to the Lawado Cave with Him. We flew there by helicopter, to the Solu Khumbu region of the HIMALAYAS - very near to the Base camp leading to Mount Everest. This is the holiest part of the mountain range where it is believed the Founder of Buddhism in Tibet also known as GURU RINPOCHE or PADMASAMBHAVA is said to have buried sacred secret texts.

The scenery of Lawado was familiar. I recognized the high mountain peaks and what I believed to have been rice fields were potato fields... More significantly the HORSE ROCK which looked so familiar. Later I was told that the Lawado Lama's original cave was under that rock but that he had moved to another cave because He had no felt comfortable to live under an overhanging rock... feng shui? Past life? No I did not dream dreams nor did anything come back in a flash of brilliance... but I felt closer than ever to Rinpoche.

These pictures of Rinpoche with the reincarnation of his mother were taken at Lawado in June 1998.

As word spread of Rinpoche's visit, more and more people made their way to the Gompa at Lawado to pay their respects as well as to get bloessings from Rinpoche.
Lawado was a mind-blowing experience. I saw Rinpoche relaxed and happy and marvelled at the easy way he had climbed up the mountain while Derek and I succumbed to altitude sickness.
Rinpoche had told me that he would help me find out if I had indeed lived in Lawado in my previous life. He told me I should talk to some of the old residents of Lawado.
I discovered in Lawado that it was no longer important to me whether I had lived there before or not. What was important was that I had found Rinpoche again in this lifetime.
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"When I went to Lawado in June of 1998, I met the reincarnation of Rinpoche's mother ... he was a beautiful boy, and i felt instantly drawn to him.

Rinpoche said that His mother had chanted hundreds and hundres of thousands of Om mani peh meh hone during her lifetime.

She could not read or write but that did not stop her from chanting this holy and powerfully purifying mantra to the Compassionate Buddha Chenrezig all her life ... "