On New Years day, I wake up before dawn. It is 2014.
I realize I had a dream of my teacher who died in July of 2013.
In the dream, we are at the Dharma center in the Santa Cruz mountains, the place my teacher founded. It is just after dawn, the light a bit misty. We are in a field, and there is a line of people waiting to get a blessing from my teacher.
I'm three back, from the front of the line, and off to the side a bit so I can see my teacher.
The first people in line is a couple I know very well, they have given the last 20 years of their life in the service of this teacher.
It seems they want to give my teacher an offering, some mark of special respect, but they don't have what they want to give to him. When I realize they are non-plussed, I go to them and say, here is something you can give our teacher.
I take off my mala, and I give it to them -- I tell them this mala was the last thing I possess from our teacher, that he blessed with his own hands.
Our teacher puts the mala on, and the couple begs him for a blessing.
Our teacher says "Of course -- I have a good one! A special one!" and with a huge smile on his face -- the biggest radiant smile I've ever seen, he grabs the bottom of the mala and rips it downwards and breaks the mala so all the beads on the top fly through the air.
The whole mala is falling to the ground, I dive to the feet of my teacher to grab the beads before they get irretrievably lost. I grabs some beads and I see ringsal is there too, so I have some beads and ringsal.
Then I vividly see my teacher kneel to the ground over me, seizing my wrist. I look at him, and he is about 35 years old, young and strong and smiling. His grip is very strong.
"What are you doing?" he asks kindly, intently.
"Its okay! I'm gathering the beads so your blessings won't be lost for all of us. I've broken this mala before, and I don't want to lose any more beads."
My teacher smiles, happy to hear what I said. He looks up, still kneeling over me, and says "See, all of you -- what an excellent practitioner this boy is."
When he says this, I begin to cry, because I would rather have my teacher back and well and alive -- than have this dream where my teacher says such shocking things.