The Yogini Project Interview with Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel

Elizabeth Mattis Horse Girl Power

Elizabeth and I met in Nepal. We were very young, deeply in love, and learning about life, as well as learning how to integrate the Buddhadharma into our lives. I was in the privileged position of knowing more about the Buddhist teachings, having had exposure to the study and practice of the Dharma with many great masters of our time. I was able to share that with Elizabeth, and she became my first Dharma student.

Over the many years of our life together, which included coming to the West, raising our son, and starting Mangala Shri Bhuti, our Dharma community, we made an effort to be true to ourselves in the vision of the Dharma, amid a worldly life. In keeping with these principles, Elizabeth was able to do an immense amount of study of the classical texts of Indian and Tibetan philosophy. While in school, she would rise at four o’clock every morning in order to have a full session of practice before the family awoke. Later, when we moved to Crestone, Colorado, she began seven years of intensive practice, at her retreat cabin in the mountains near the family home. Throughout this time, she continued to contribute to our community by serving as an example and guiding students in retreat. Her dedication to study and practice has paved the way for many others to move forward on their paths.

In recent years I’ve encouraged Elizabeth to step up and become a teacher of our lineage, and for whomever seeks her guidance. I suggested that it would be wonderful if she were to write a book, because Buddhism in the West needs to be established by Western teachers who are able to fully embody the wisdom of the lineage and the teachings. Elizabeth has put her heart and soul into bringing the teachings to life in her own experience, and I feel now is the right and auspicious time for Elizabeth to step forward as a teacher. I’m so glad she is traveling around to teach and this book has come to be.

Her book captures all that she has learned about the Buddhadharma, without watering down the meaning. She makes clear how relevant the teachings are to one’s own transformation, and I’m confident that others will be easily able to relate this to their own experience. I’ve read ‘The Power of an Open Question’ thoroughly, and I highly value its essence and the meaningful effect I can foresee it having on others.”

~ Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche
from his Foreward to “The Power of an Open Question