Rinpoche holding an owl

Ngak’chang Rinpoche

holding an owl – 1989

At the time when this photograph was taken, Ngak’chang Rinpoche was living in Dorset in the home of Ralzhig Pema Legden. Ralzhig Pema Legden had heard that Ngak’chang Rinpoche was interested in owls and so he took him to visit a place where owls and other birds of prey were trained.

Ralzhig Pema Legden recalls:
Ngak’chang Rinpoche loved holding the owl and they both seemed to be grinning at each other. Ngak’chang Rinpoche stood there looking at the owl for a long time – until the handler couldn’t take it anymore, at which point Ngak’chang Rinpoche apologised for having been remiss about the time, and thanked the handler for his time. I knew at the time that the Ojibwa medicine-man Sun Bear had given Rinpoche the Indian name Staring Owl, and so I asked Rinpoche what the connection was, and why he had such a liking for owls – but he just smiled and said, For certain reasons, which are—I must say—of a particular nature. It was only years later when Ngak’chang Rinpoche introduced me to Protector practice that I understood something about owls in relation to Ngak’chang Rinpoche.