Wisdom Quarterly ran this story about the well-known Tibetan Buddhist teacher Mingyur Rinpoche and his decision to leave his role as a "rock star" monk behind, returning to the old tradition of being a wandering monk. I had not heard about this, or if I had, it somehow did not register.
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (b. 1975) is a meditation teacher in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the youngest of three sons of Tulku Urgyen (a highly respected teacher). He had a bestselling book (The Joy of Living) a few years ago and last year he released Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Wisdom. He has a monastery in India and has established Tergar, an international teaching and sangha organization based in the United States.
Tergar has a "center" here in Tucson - and Rinpoche has been here to teach a few times I believe, at least one of which I was able to attend. I found him humble, very intelligent, and also quite funny. He exuded a calm that I would love to embody.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
Mingyur Rinpoche was living comfortably with a retinue of attendants. He was in high demand as a teacher and admired by developed world devotees in particular, for his interest in the scientific implications of meditation -- specifically its effect on brain function and the nervous system. He already had 10 years of solitary meditation retreat behind him and Tibetan Buddhist aficionados were impressed with his personal qualities.
But Mingyur Rinpoche was not content to rest on his laurels. Nor was he interested in becoming yet another celebrity guru, living in luxury and spoiled by the adulation accorded to important lamas. One morning in June this year his attendants knocked on the door of his room at his monastery in Bodhgaya, India, and when there was no response they went in to find it empty – except for a letter explaining that he had left for an indeterminate period to become a wandering yogi, meditating wherever he alighted in the Himalayas.
"He took no money, and no possessions," explained his brother Tsoknyi Rinpoche. "He didn't take his passport, his mobile phone, or even a toothbrush."
In his letter Mingyur Rinpoche said that from a young age he had "harbored the wish to stay in retreat and practice, wandering from place to place without any fixed location." He advised his followers not to worry about him, assuring them that in a few years they would meet again. To this day no one has any idea of his whereabouts and he has not been in touch with his family.