When You See a Monk on the Street…

by thubten

Ven. Roger Kunzang

Ven. Roger Kunzang (and eagle tattoo) with Lama Zopa Rinpoche

It isn’t often that you see a Buddhist monk walking in a neighborhood, especially if you’re in the US. It is very common in places like Thailand and Nepal, but not in Portland, Oregon.

As I was walking up SE Hawthorne from 6th Avenue I saw just such a monk, dressed in the monastic robes of a Tibetan Buddhist tantric college graduate.  Usually when I see a monk out and about in a US city, I flag them down and make an offering of some sort. Today I was not prepared to make such an offering.

I decided to make this monks acquaintance anyway. He looked oddly familiar, and I thought that perhaps we had met while I was traveling throughout South Asia. We had met at Kopan Monastery near Kathmandu in Nepal in September of 1996. I didn’t figure this out until after I got home.

The monk’s name is Roger Kunzang, and he had been (and perhaps still is) the attendant to Lama Zopa Rinpoche of the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition), whose Maitripa College is in the very neighborhood I was walking through.

I recognized the eagle tattoo on Roger’s arm. I have one, too, and remember that we compared them when we first met. I am very glad that Roger is here, living above Maitripa. Having monks and nuns around, even if they’re about a mile away, gives me a feeling of security and comfort.

I sent Roger an invitation to tea, but haven’t yet heard back. Perhaps he has had more tea than one should. I may never know.

Blessings to you, Roger Kunzang!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar PDXsays December 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Roger is still attendant to Lama Zopa, spiritual warrior extraordinaire. Lama Zopa has a Facebook page. So does FPMT and Maitirpa College. I believe Roger was back briefly, traveling with the Maitreya Heart Relics Tour.

In fact, Maitripa tweets @MaitripaCollege. There is much information on the website that might aid you in connections, as the college is focused on outreach as well as certificate and accredited degrees in Buddhist advanced studies. http://www.maitripacollge.org.

Just recently, a lovely person took over the social media duties at Maitripa College, Sara Blumenthal.


Teresa AKA Kelsang Sopa AKA @PDXsays

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