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Revered Buddhist Scholar and FPMT Founder Lama Zopa Rinpoche Has Died

Lama Zopa Rinpoche. From

The revered Gelug master and Tibetan Buddhist scholar Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, perhaps most widely known for founding the international Buddhist community Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), died in Nepal at 9:30 on Thursday morning. Close associates reported that Rinpoche had been traveling at high elevations in his native Nepal and had been affected by the altitude.

FPMT shared details in a public notice published on their website earlier today:

Our precious guru is sitting in meditation at Kopan Monastery. 

Rinpoche had been up in the mountains in the Tsum Valley since Monday, and had to be brought down urgently as Rinpoche was experiencing altitude sickness.

On arrival back in Kathmandu this morning, Rinpoche stopped breathing. The main doctor at Karuna Hospital tried for some time to revive Rinpoche, but that was not  successful.  Rinpoche entered meditation at about 9.30am Nepal time, today Thursday April 13th.

His Holiness has been informed, and is giving advice.

The lama gyupas and monks are taking turns in sessions offering Cittamani Tara with Rinpoche, as advised by His Holiness. Other pujas and prayers are being offered here in Kopan.

Khadro-la has advised that this is a most important and precious time for students.  Khadro-la went on to advise that the best thing for the students to do at this time is to practice bodhicitta in particular, as well as impermanence in the context of the lamrim, and then also as much as one can to help fulfil the guru’s holy wishes.

Khadro-la insisted that we should take this opportunity to try to achieve all or some of the lamrim in our own practice.  Meditating and praying to the guru to receive his blessings and guidance is very important. And to try as much as possible to complete Rinpoche’s projects and holy wishes, so already to generate that wish that we’ll be able to do that.

Please pray and dedicate for Rinpoche to be reborn as quickly as possible in a place where he can be very quickly recognized and be of most benefit to sentient beings.

Please keep trying to fulfill Rinpoche’s holy wishes, especially to practice impermanence and bodhicitta in the context of the lamrim.  Fulfilling the gurus’ holy wishes is a very important part of inviting the guru to return.

As you know, Rinpoche was the embodiment of bodhicitta, and always stressed the importance of remembering impermanence, and the essential need to put the teachings into practice.  This is what we can do for our precious guru now – please try to follow Rinpoche’s heart advice. We can all connect with the guru and receive the guru’s blessings in this way – NOW is a very important time for this.

We will be sending out further updates regularly.

Our hearts are breaking, we take all our support from Rinpoche’s teachings, and the guidance of His Holiness and our teachers, and in our FPMT family.

Rinpoche landed at Mu Monastery and Rachen Nunnery for a short time on 11 April before moving onward to Tsum Valley. From

Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born in the Everest region of Thangme, Nepal, in 1945, and was recognized as the reincarnation of the Sherpa Nyingma yogi Kunsang Yeshe, the Lawudo Lama, at the age of three. When he was 10 years old, Lama Zopa Rinpoche traveled to Tibet, where he studied and meditated at the monastery of Domo Geshe Rinpoche in southern Tibet. In 1959, Rinpoche was forced to seek safety in Bhutan.

He subsequently traveled as a refugee to West Bengal in India, where he first met Lama Yeshe, who would became his closest teacher. The two lamas relocated to Nepal in 1967, where they established Kopan and Lawudo Monasteries.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche founded the FPMT in Nepal in 1975 with Lama Thubten Yeshe, and began teaching Buddhism to Western students. In the years since, the FPMT has grown acorss the globe, with Dharma centers, projects, and activities in 37 countries. Lama Zopa Rinpoche had served as the FPMT’s spiritual director since the passing of Lama Yeshe in 1984.

Telo Tulku Rinpoche with Lama Zoe Rinpoche. From

In a public message on social media, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, previously the longest-serving supreme lama of the Republic of Kalmykia shared:

My sincere condolences and deepest prayers to the international sangha members of FPMT and the global Buddhist community for the sudden lose of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Of course we all know the dedication and hard work Lama Zopa Rinpoche contributed to spread the Dharma and benefit as many sentient beings locally and internationally. I have many fond memories of our meetings and it was a honor to host him in Russia on several occasions along with FPMT center in Moscow. His unconditional kindness, care, love, and compassion will be missed in our world.   May we all pray for a swift return. Om mani padme hum

As well as working actively as a Dharma teacher and an accomplished meditation master, Lama Zopa Rinpoche was a prolific author, with numerous books to is name, among them: How To Enjoy Death: Preparing to Meet Life’s Final Challenge without Fear (Wisdom Publications 2016); The Four Noble Truths: A Guide to Everyday Life (Wisdom Publications 2018); and Bodhichitta: Practice for a Meaningful Life (Wisdom Publications 2019).

Death could come any minute so transform your life into Dharma. — Lama Zopa Rinpoche

See more

Lama Zopa Rinpoche (Facebook)
Lawudo Gompa
Kopan Monastery

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