December 21, 2010.
All my dear brothers and sisters who have been helping with the library work for our kindest wish-fulfilling Gene Smith,
It was quite a surprise that our dear Gene passed away. I don’t remember one hundred percent, but last time I met him in New York, he mentioned that he felt he would die soon, that he would not live very long. I have a feeling of this but don’t fully remember.
Again I don’t remember one hundred percent, but perhaps one or two weeks before Gene’s death I had the thought that he might be passing away, but of course, my thoughts are just like an Indian train, filled with people inside and outside, hanging out of the windows and doors.
I first met Gene at the Darjeeling Hotel in the late 1960s. The first I heard of him was from Zina Rachevsky, the Russian-American “princess” who was our first student. Lama Yeshe may also have been there but I don’t recollect clearly. We also met the guru that Gene served, Drukpa Kagyü Tuksey Rinpoche, who was the guru of Drukchen Rinpoche. We also stayed at his monastery for one or two days and met Gene there again.
While Gene was living in Delhi, he collected Dharma texts of all four Tibetan traditions and much later, in the USA, helped our Wisdom Publications for several years. I met him at Wisdom and a couple more times in New York. In one of our conversations he told me that he was concerned for our Kopan Monastery, in Nepal. The eldest son of Khentsey Rinpoche, Rabjam Rinpoche, whose monastery is in Nepal, established a monastery in India to move his monks to in case Nepal became insecure, referring to China taking over Nepal. I am reminded of that.
When I would see rare texts of great, realized lamas, I would ask Gene if he had them and if so, could he please send them immediately. If he didn’t have a particular text he would ask His Holiness the Dalai Lama or other great, realized lamas who have much knowledge that others don’t have.
Whenever I wrote to him I always addressed him as “My Dear Great Wish-fulfilling Jewel Gene Smith.” That was how he lived, helping many great lamas, professors and the like. He was like a wish-fulfilling treasure storeroom, house and vase. Whatever you asked for you would get. And because of that, he didn’t die from a heavy, prolonged illness lasting for many months or years. He just passed away quietly, not wanting to cause any problem to anyone.
According to my Mickey Mouse observation, his rebirth looks good, which is as it should be. He was extremely fortunate as he worked with texts that bring enlightenment, teachings whose light clears away the darkness of ignorance.
I have done many prayers for my most dear friend and wish-fulfilling jewel Gene Smith and continue to do so—prayers that due to the past, present and future merits collected by me and all the three-time buddhas and bodhisattvas, may he be born in the pure land of Heruka and become enlightened there or, if not, may he never again be reborn in the lower realms, receive a perfect human body, meet perfectly qualified Mahayana gurus and quickly become enlightened and perfectly fulfill the wishes of all sentient beings.
Again, thank you very much to all the brothers and sisters who have been helping Gene. Please continue to fulfill his wishes, according to how he wanted this wish-fulfilling library to benefit all the great lamas and all six realms’ sentient beings.
With much love and prayers,
Lama Zopa Rinpoche