Senior monastic leaders across the Vajrayana world have begun to pay their last respects to the physical remains (kudung) of Venerable Yongdzin Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.
Born in 1933, Thrangu Rinpoche was one of the most senior and well-known lamas in the Kagyu school. He served as tutor to His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. He had been hospitalized since early May due to ill-health. His remains are currently at Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery (also known as Namo Buddha Monastery), southeast of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. He had passed away on 4 June at the age of 91.
The Gyalwang Karmapa had advised that the news of his death be sealed for four days to allow the ideal space for him to pass into the state of tranquil tukdam meditation. The formal announcement of his death was circulated on 9 June 2023 (2566 of the Buddhist calendar). On the same day, the Gyalwang Karmapa composed a prayer for Rinpoche’s swift return, which was translated into English by David Karma Choephel. (Thrangu Rinpoche)
Official commemorations began on the 9th after his Parinirvana was made known to the public and media. Thrangu Lhaksam Nepal, an organization of disrobed monks and nuns that continue to serve the Thrangu institution, formed a service team to assist with Namo Buddha Monastery’s pujas every week, with ten people taking turns to serve the participants of the pujas. Rinpoche’s remains were first cleansed at 5:00 a.m. in a critical ritual. At 8:00 a.m., Venerable Gyalton Rinpoche and Tsewang Drapa, general secretary of Palpung Sherab Ling, came to conduct pujas and make offerings to Rinpoche’s remains on behalf of Vajradhara H.E. Chamgon Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche, along with the senior monks of Thrangu monastery. (Thrangu Rinpoche)
9:30 a.m. saw an offering of khatas from more than 400 Thrangu monastics. From 10:00 a.m. onwards, a long stream of well-wishers came to offer condolences, including representatives from Kagyu monasteries in Nepal, four delegates from the Nepal Buddhist Federation, and emissaries from all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. In the afternoon at 3:30 p.m., local people from the area around Namo Buddha, including students and the local women’s Buddhist studies group, arrived to pay respects. (Thrangu Rinpoche)
On the 10th, well-wishers continued to visit Namo Buddha Monastery, including Venerable Tulku Rinjung Rinpoche, the representative of Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and H.E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche’s personal attendant Tashi Yulgyal. Among many others were Venerable Geshe Thupten Jigdol, chairman of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation’s Buddhist Philosophy Promotion and Monastery Development Committee, and Mr. Hom Bahadur Dong, executive director of same ministry. (Thrangu Rinpoche)
On 11 June, Namo Buddha Monastery, acting on the instructions of the Gyalwang Karmapa, began holding the Amitabha puja, led by Venerable Zuri Rinpoche and Venerable Lodro Nyima Rinpoche. (Thrangu Media) Notable figures came to pay respects to Rinpoche’s remains on the 11th, including Buddhist musician Anu Choying Dolma, representatives of Drikung Kagyu’s H.E. Nubpa Rinpoche, and Mr. Kripasur Sherpa, ex-minister of culture, tourism, and civil aviation. The Drikung Kagyu school’s H.E. Nubpa Rinpoche and attendant Tsering Norbu, as well as Geshe Ngawang Tsultrim, representative of Palden Gyuto Tantric monastery, also came to pay their respects. (Thrangu Media)
On 12 June, a stream of monastics and lay disciples continued to arrive at Namo Buddha Monastery, including Khenpo Gyurme Tsultrim and other khenpos and lamas from Shechen Monastery, Dzogchen Rinpoche of Ngagyur Dzogchen Shri Singha, and Lama Tsultrim Palbar and Lama Tsering Tashi from Kagyu Samyeling. From across Nepal came Venerable Metteyya Sakyaputta, vice chairman of the Lumbini Development Trust, Mr. Sam Purna Lama, former chairman of Boudha stupa development committee, and Dr. Tsering Phuntsok, president of the Tsum Welfare committee. (Thrangu Media)
Thrangu Media reported on 13 June that several leadership figures from Zurmang Monastery came to Namo Buddha Monastery to conduct the Milarepa Guru Yoga sadhana. They included the 12th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, Zurmang Monastery’s general secretary, senior staff, and khenpos. The report went on to say:
The principal and staff from the late Khenpo Tashi Tsering’s school also came to pay respects; Mayor of Namo Buddha municipality Mr. Kunsang Lama and his team came to offer kata; the Lumbini Vietnam monastery’s abbot and sixty disciples made prostrations outside Rinpoche’s residence and continued by paying respect at the main shrine hall. In addition, four representatives from Taiwan’s Tzu Chi Foundation and the representative of Neydo Tashi Chöling Monastery also arrived to pay respects.(Thrangu Media)
Commemorations were not held only at Namo Buddha Monastery. Tributes have been sent from around the Buddhist world, with condolences coming from Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong, Hwa Yue Foundation in Taiwan, Gompa Tibetan Monastery Services, and many monastic seats, including The Central Executive Office of Densa Palchen Chosling, Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat, Kagyu Monlam in Bodh Gaya, Tekchokling Nunnery, Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling (Shechen Monastery), Nyidey Monastery in Bhutan, and many, many more.
Abbots and representatives from Thrangu Monastery’s centers around the world will be continuously reciting “Calling the Guru from Afar” before Rinpoche’s kudung until the end of the official 49 days of mourning. From the 9th onward, viewing of Rinpoche’s physical remains has been open to the public for this period, daily from 9:00–11:00 a.m. and 1:30–3:30 p.m.
Paying respects to the physical remains (Kudung) of the Very Venerable Kyabje Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (Thrangu Rinpoche)
Second Day of paying respects to the physical remains (Kudung) of the Very Venerable Kyabje Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (Thrangu Rinpoche)
A Prayer for the Swift Return of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (Thrangu Rinpoche)
A Reminder and Aspirations of True Words Offered by H.H. Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche to Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche on His Parinirvana (Thrangu Rinpoche)
13 June commemorations (Thrangu Media Facebook)
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