We shared the news of the passing of Arbie Thalacker here earlier; now we share a remembrance of him by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, dharma teacher and president of the Karmapa Foundation.
I have known Arbie Thalacker for many years. He was a wonderful person and a devoted practitioner, full of wisdom and love. Arbie worked tirelessly for very many years to enable, befriend and protect the development of an American dharma in the United States. He gave most generously of his time, talent and financial resources. The establishment of the dharma in the West is also one of my heart aspirations, and so I am very grateful to Arbie for his efforts and contributions.
At the request of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Arbie joined the board of the Karmapa Foundation in 2010 and has been serving as Chairman. His work ensured that the Foundation will continue His Holiness’s activity without obstacle.
I worked closely with Arbie in this capacity for His Holiness. It is safe to say that Arbie was instrumental in preparing for His Holiness’s visits to the United States. In particular, he worked closely with me on both visits, in 2008 and 2011, to ensure that everything went smoothly. He was also invaluable in supporting the whole spectrum of individuals who welcomed His Holiness to the U.S., from dharma students to government representatives. It was here that Arbie’s qualities of equanimity and love shone, for he was equally at home with all sorts of sentient beings.
I know that Arbie served the Vidhyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and Shambhala International with great devotion, love and care. He was also an important supporter and servant to Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD), North American seat of His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa. For many years, Arbie worked with KTD to ready the home for Karmapa in the U.S. As a lawyer, he and his firm represented KTD through enormous obstacles and challenges, guiding it safely into continuous service as the Karmapa’s seat in North America.
Arbie has a kind and loving family and my thoughts are with them at this time. He and his wife Deb created a welcoming space, in which the dharma in the U.S., especially focused in New York, has come to flourish.
I understand, as well, that Arbie was a highly acclaimed lawyer for a large firm in New York. I have always been impressed with Arbie’s skill and professionalism whenever I have had to call on him. Accordingly, I imagine that his clients benefited enormously from his work.
We are all now benefitting from Arbie’s devotion to Karmapa, and from the wisdom that continues in the hearts of those he touched and in the organizations he built.
May his aspirations and wishes be fulfilled. May his legacy continue to shine in this world.
—Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche