An Email from Julie Dawson

September 15, 2009

Dear Tsem Rinpoche, I found you quite by happy accident on YouTube one day, but then they say no snowflake ever falls in the wrong place. I cannot tell you what a great help your teachings have been to me. I have studied alone trying to understand Buddhism for many, many years, but have not really been able to decipher and understand many of the cryptic and esoteric things I have read or heard and I have never found a guru. Some of these things actually sounded dark and frightening such as speaking of “the void” and “nothingness”, things that almost caused me fear and aversion to. Who wants to disappear into a void of nothingness” after all? This sometimes made me feel Buddhism was in some way a nihilistic venture because I did not understand so much of it. And yet I understoood enough other things that resonated within me and which I instantly recognised to be truth that I kept at my study of it and tried to put it into practice. But all the time I really needed a good teacher to help me with this. When I watched your video on “What is Spiritual Practice”, for the first time I was able to receive clear, concise teaching that was completely understandable and therefore accessible to me. It helped to dispel my fears, and has been so very helpful to me in doing Dharma practice, and in expanding my understanding and awareness. I also found that I love your very edgy, straight-forward, modern approach and fabulous, flamboyant sense of humour. Before I knew it, I was feeling such great devotion and love for you as my Dharma teacher. Though I am in the United States, and cannot be near you or attend your teachings in person, I have watched many of your videos. I am so thankful they are available to me, I listen to at least one each day, I look forward tremendously to each next one, and each one is so wonderfully, clearly insightful and helpful to me. I can never repay you for the service you have done for me. In one of your Dharma talks, you said a Buddha can be many places at the same time, appear in many forms and ways, and that we should never limit the idea of what a Buddha can and cannot do. Buddha has allowed me to find you, to teach and help me through you. I feel that I have been very blessed to have been allowed to come to find you and learn from you. Even though you are far from where I am in miles, you reside in my heart and mind and have deeply touched my soul. I revere you tremendously. I can now let go of my ignorant fears of being “annihilated into the void” and instead view Buddhism whole-heartedly as a method of Enlightenment through great love, wisdom and compassion. A million Thank You’s Rinpoche, for all the hard work, and years of training and practice and sacrifice you have gone through in order to be able to teach us and help us. May you live a long life so that you can help many. With great love, respect and devotion, Julie Dawson