19. Happy Backpacker


Happy Backpacker


I am a happy backpacker who travels merrily on the Buddha path, life after life.

With my Precious Root Guru, Three Jewels and Three Roots always in my heart,

I never feel lonely!


In my backpack, there are only textbooks and a mala, bits of food and a little drink,

But it is a pack full of loving kindness, compassion, wisdom and blessings.


I appreciate all the people I meet on my way, young and old, black or white.

I join the crowd with a peaceful smile,

I laugh with everybody from the bottom of my heart.

I listen to everyone carefully with an open mind,

I talk to everyone sincerely with a gentle voice,

Then I depart with a carefree heart,

Leaving behind only my best wishes and blessings of the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion.


I am truly grateful for all the opportunities I get along my way,

for sharing loving kindness and knowledge.

I send out limitless blessings to those who need encouragement and support,

Share authentic teachings of the Buddha with those who want to know the truth,

Lend a helping hand to those who are in need,

Offer my loving kindness and care to those who are miserable and in deep suffering,

And share my joyous Dharma experiences with those who are interested.


I have no particular possessions,

But I enjoy all of the precious natural world of our earth.

I meditate on the majestic snowy mountains with a joyful heart,

I roam around the open plains, singing songs of liberating wisdom.

I watch the waves of the deep ocean with my loving eyes, thinking about Mahamudra,

I embrace all the seasons with my grateful heart, with impermanence in mind.

I supplicate to my Guru earnestly within my heart on a serene starry night,

And I sing to Him with my longing prayers.


I have no special preference for any particular kind of food,

But end up enjoying all kinds of food everywhere I go,

Vancouver, United states, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Nepal, India, and of course, Tibet!!


I have no attachment to any particular friends, disciples or places,

Every being on earth is my family, my friend, and everywhere is my home!

I breathe in the air of freedom and breathe out the air of impartial love.

I share my stories with all my friends around the world,

I share my knowledge and experiences with all my students on this earth.

I share with everyone my deepest wish for reaching enlightenment within this life time.

I share with all sentient beings my deepest wish for happiness, health and prosperity.


Maybe you will say, it is easy for a monk to enjoy this kind of freedom and carefree style of life, but we lay people all have a family to take care of, and we all have so many worries and problems to deal with. My friends, please remember, we all come to this world alone, and all of us surely will go into the bardo on our own! Why not just make this carefree style of life a habit? Of course we need to repay the kindness of those sentient beings that have taken care of us, and helped us all along the way from the time we were helpless babies until now.  But our attachments cannot liberate us from the cycle of suffering, we are attached to them because we have expectations, we want to make sure they know we love them, and probably we want them to show us their appreciation and gratefulness, and return our love and care!  This is not the unconditional love of a Buddhist practitioner.  “Bodhichitta”, or the aspiration of altruistic compassion towards all sentient beings is, whether sentient beings appreciate it or not, we care when they need care, we help when they need help! These sentient beings include our family, friends, loved one and our Guru!!!


No matter how much money we have made, how many possessions or how much fame we have acquired, it makes no difference when we come to the end of life.  Everyone will go empty handed; we were born naked and we will leave this world naked, the only difference we can make is how we make use of our opportunities and resources. If we leave things in the hands of those that have no wisdom or compassion, what we have will only create more trouble and suffering. Sometimes we have to be a little smarter with our investments; we earn our money by sacrifice of our time and comfort, so of course we should want to benefit more beings than just one or two.


You may say family gives you support, friends give you happiness, and possessions give you a sense of security.  These are all apparently justifiable, but the bottom line is, all conditioned things and circumstances are subject to change, nothing is permanent. Only unconditional support, selfless care, impartial love, altruistic compassion towards other beings will lead to lasting satisfaction and contentment.  When we don’t bother about gain or loss, a proper response or recognition, blame or praise, we can sleep without fear and worries, and taste the joy of freedom!


Like a dream, like illusion, like a heavenly city,

That’s how our birth, our living, and our dying, are to be seen.

If one can practice, the teachings of Mahamudra,

And know how to see nothing, something will be seen.

With the power of Kindness and Compassion,

And with the altruistic vow of the Bodhi-heart,

One can see direct and clear, the truth of the enlightened path,

No hope, no fear, and no confusion,

These are the quintessence of accomplishment.


To see all appearances and things happening around us as a dream or illusive magical display is the best way to keep our mind free from hope and fear. We will not tangle with the afflicted emotion once we realize it’s only a dream and we will not be frightened by the enemy or hovering danger in the magical display either! When we do not feel attached to or bothered by people and aren’t confused by the things happening around us, then our mind will always be free, just like the moment when we wake up from a dream, nothing is left behind!  Do not fill your backpack with the heaviness of expectation, suspicion, anger, jealousy and fear, and then you can move on and enjoy your life journey as carefree as a happy backpacker!!


As the Maha-siddhi Tilopa said:


Don’t reflect, don’t think, don’t anticipate, don’t meditate, don’t analyse,

Just rest naturally.


The moment we see something or hear something, our mind’s wakefulness will realize the display very clearly with a sense of knowing, but just leave it as it is, that is the pure nature of our mind’s projection. As our precious Root Guru Drubgen Rinpoche said, ”If it is nothing, let it be nothing, if it is something, let it be something.”  Whether we feel something or do not feel anything, keep this mind state as stable and as strong as it is, because this clarity won’t last long.  As a person with an ordinary samsaric mind, the next second after we hear or see something, our confused mind will try to find out why, and the duality aspect of an ordinary mind will label it as good or bad, then all the confusion of the three times kicks in.  We try to dig into our memory, and try to relate this fresh experience with our past experiences, and our habitual tendencies of all the six poisons arise, our concepts restrict our judgement, and all kinds of worries and impending fear come to life, just because our mind is so deeply confused by the limiting values of worldly dharma.


If our mind is stable enough or have have achieved some degree of tranquility through meditation, the moment these afflicted emotions and fear arises, we can recognise it immediately with our awareness. Think about our precious Guru, think about impermanence, think about our Bodhisattva aspiration, and think about our next life, and these worries and fears will melt and disappear, just like snow flakes fall on the warm surface, without leaving a trace!  We have more important accomplishments waiting for us to achieve, either worldly or beyond worldly, it is not worthwhile to waste time and energy on these trivial personal concerns. A Bodhisattva embraces the whole universe selflessly, and is only interested in the activities of benefitting all sentient beings, never indulging in just tiny personal matters!!


Just like a happy backpacker, we enjoy everything on our journey, without attachment to any people, places, comfort or belongings.  We are flexible, able to accommodate anything and anyone as we move along.  The whole world is only one being, our best wishes of liberation from suffering and achieving ultimate happiness apply to all sentient beings, not one in particular, and no one is left behind!  Tashi Delek!!!  

By Happy Backpacker Rimay Gyalten Rinpoche