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The Story of Miffi's Hair

Miffi Maxmillion, April 2000

It started with a man ringing the centre with an Aussie drawl and asking "So how do you think this whole Lama Zopa thing is going to go?" I thought to myself, oh boy, another loony trying to muscle in on the ‘invitation only' afternoon, but luckily kept it to myself and replied with something like "well you can never tell with Rinpoche, we just do what we can, and then see what happens".

The conversation continued with some confusion of just who this was. Finally the bloke says "its Roger here" to which I exclaim, "Rinpoche's attendant Roger, the real Roger?!" To which he replies, "no, no the un-real Roger!"

So, with my foot firmly in my mouth, I explain about the arrangements we have made for Rinpoche's visit. Roger changes a few details, asking very slowly and very clearly "do you understand?" (no doubt used to last minute panics and white terror nerves!) Then he asks me what my hair is like now, as the last time I saw Rinpoche it was blue and orange. I say that it's really boring, just black, but lots of it is fake! Roger tells me that he is in the car with Rinpoche, and that Rinpoche has a request for me. "Are you up to it?" Well, what can I say? With a flash my life passes before my eyes. I remember all the stories of people asking for advice and coming back with a list of practices as long as your arm, I take a deep breath and say, "Yep! I'm up to it."

Rinpoche's request is that I put all my black hair up, and then coming out of that should come rainbow hair. And then on top of that I should have the eight auspicious symbols,and then tie it all up on top with a khata! Hearing this I thought that the guru sure knows exactly how bring happiness! So, once all the preparations are complete on the day Rinpoche is to visit the centre, I lock myself in the wardrobe for one and a quarter hours, and come out looking a little like a Chinese opera girl with a white mantilla.

Rinpoche liked it, Roger smiled, everyone else said "well you've truly out-done yourself this time." But if you don't dress up for Rinpoche, who do you dress up for? I got a taste of the meaning of the ‘virtuous friend'; being able to bring Dharma right into my everyday life, to carry out my guru's wishes -possibly the only request I have ever been able to fulfil. What a blessing that my years of costume design, fun and frocks can culminate in being able to joyfully and effortlessly make my guru a little present.

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