Living in L.A.

Dance, Dharma, Dance…

Tsem Rinpoche posing

Tsem Rinpoche posing

While living in L.A., Rinpoche would go out to many clubs in one night, driving around Sunset Boulevard and West Hollywood. He always looked too young for his age and the doormen often thought his ID was fake. He had a 1972 VW bug, which he would “sneak” out from the center by releasing the handbrake and letting it slide down the hill. Rinpoche loved to dance and his favourite artist was Madonna (she still is!).

“Everybody listened to Madonna. It was instant happiness.”

His best friend in L.A. was Eric, a surfer who lived at home with his parents. Both young men were tall and lanky, and would go running and do many other things together. Rinpoche used to wear really tight jeans and rock t-shirts, wanting to be like Jimi Hendrix!

He would come home to his rented room (which was just under Geshela’s) at about 6 or 7am, and “just crash”. Sometimes his friends would stay over but he did not encourage that since it was at the center.

Despite outward appearances as a fun-loving teenager, Rinpoche's priority was always Dharma.

Despite his busy social life, he would always come home to finish his sadhana. Sometimes he would rush home between clubs to complete his sadhana and then go out again!

Dharma classes at the center were at 10am the following day and Rinpoche always made it a point not to miss class despite his late nights. For Rinpoche, the Dharma was always of utmost importance; everything else was secondary.