Back to Theo and his encounter with the tulku. Tai Situ Rinpoche had made a critical point — that those on the path to moksha become the targets of dark powers. After Gautama had slipped permanently out of his slimy grasp, Tai Situ Rinpoche added, Mara appointed certain ferocious demons to focus on hindering those who’d set their sights on freedom.
One such was the demon of smoking; the tulku described this demon as a wizened imp with frizzy hair the color of straw. He could actually see this imp, hovering a few inches above Theo’s left shoulder. The Rinpoche ended by advising Theo on how to get rid of the demon, warning him to keep the instructions private, for they applied specifically to him. (All of this I report from memories of old conversations; I hope there are no serious inaccuracies.)
Unlike the thousands of sceptics who roam this earth rejecting all that conflicts with their system of rationality, I didn’t laugh when Theo related this fascinating experience. It’s always struck me as bizarre that “rationalists” so easily accept that a six-foot-six bodybuilder can be felled by an invisible flu virus, but will banish outright all notions of invisible entities — positive and negative — hovering around us. I myself had never had such credibility problems; ever since I was a child, I had had my brushes with both angelic and demonic forces. Continue reading