Touch heart


This short teaching was written by Garchen Rinpoche at Gar Gon in August 1995  for Jimmy (James) Pittard, one of the first two American disciples who ever set foot in the remote and isolated Gar village in Nangchen, Tibet. Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche subsequently translated it at Jangchub Ling, Dehra Dun, India in September 1995, and this translation was first published in the newsletter ‘Dharma Wheel’  of the Tibetan Meditation Center  in the  Spring of 1996 under the name ‘A River That Cannot  Be Frozen.’  

Garchen Rinpoche has kept the passport photo that Jimmy gave him all these years, and showed it to the author during one of the very first interview sessions in 2003. Later, Jimmy told the author that he wrote down his name and address in America on the back of the photo in the hope of keeping in  touch with the Tibetan master. The Tibetan script   (Jig-me’) written by Jimmy Pittard at the bottom of the photo  is actually  the name “Jimmy. “

here to read Jimmy Pittard’s correspondence with the author about Garchen Rinpoche and his experience at Gar Gon. (coming soon)


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If the heat of devotion and compassion melts the frozen mind, one will realize there is no difference between oneself and Buddha. Therefore, the single most important source of blessing is devotion. It's like a hundred rivers going under one bridge.


When you look at your mind just after strong devotion, that awareness is the cause of attaining enlightenment. Within that, look again at the very face of the awareness. It dissolves into emptiness -- both subject and object. A beginner does not believe it, but this dissolution is Buddhahood.

Therefore, Tilopa said,
"Seeing nothing is the supreme insight.”

It will not last long, so meditate for a short time, again and again each session. This will dispel obstacles and enhance your meditation.


Devotion is the single essential point. When you practice devotion, visualize the Lama in front of you in space as actually residing there. The lama's mind is Buddha, so when you supplicate, the blessing will be definite, and the Lama will keep you in his or her own mind.

Pal-Chu River  passing through the lower Gar Gon  area

A  River That Cannot  Be Frozen   
By Garchen Rinpoche

“A few years ago when I was in my monastery in Tibet, an American visited me and asked for teaching.
I had a difficult time talking to him because I knew no English and the American didn't understand Tibetan.
So I composed this [letter] in Tibetan and gave it to him. He spent a week with me in the monastery.
He didn't know how to eat Tibetan food like tsampa and I had to show him. I had a nice time with him.
The [letter] I gave him was later translated [into English by
Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen].”  

You are so fortunate to have met the Dharma with devotion.  The essence of Dharma is the two Bodhicittas: Relative Bodhicitta is the noble mind focusing on others; Ultimate Bodhicitta is emptiness – looking at your own mind.

If you find it difficult to see your own mind, it is due to the obscurations that come from afflictive emotions. Transcendent wisdom dispels afflictive emotions.  That wisdom is the blessing of the Lama.

To receive the Lama’s blessings, you need the sun of devotion, which in turn gives rise to compassion.  A drop of tear by the force of devotion purifies or dispels a mountain of obscurations.

Generally speaking, Buddha and sentient beings are like one river. Buddha, however, realizes the nature of the self and, free of doubt, sees that all the activities of samsara are like a dream or illusion. Buddha's mind abides like the nature of space -- like a river that cannot be frozen.

Sentient beings, on the other hand, have not realized their own nature, and their minds are influenced by conditions which cause afflictive emotions. This is like meeting very cold water and freezing, the ice then becoming like a rock that cannot be broken.