Words cannot express the sadness we and the entire family of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery feel this week as we share the news of the passing of our beloved teacher, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.
After a short period of illness, Khenpo Rinpoche passed away early Sunday morning October 6th at his home at KTD’s Three-Year Retreat Center, Karme Ling, in Delaware County, NY.
Khenpo Karma Tarchin Rinpoche (Karthar, for short) was in his 96th year, having just observed his birthday at KTD Monastery in September. Born in the same year as the 16th Karmapa, Khenpo Rinpoche passed away on the same lunar calendar day as the 16th Karmapa (8th day of the 9th lunar month) but in a different year.
A Buddhist master without parallel, Khenpo Rinpoche was a source of wisdom and love for everyone he met. He successfully transplanted the wisdom of the Karma Kagyu lineage in a new land, and fulfilled the wishes of both the 16th and 17th Gyalwang Karmapas. There is no way we can repay his kindness, and we are praying he will swiftly return to guide beings in this world.
For the first three days of Khenpo Rinpoche’s resting in thukdam, or meditative repose, the KTD family has been providing a quiet atmosphere for our master’s meditative rest at Karme Ling. Three days of prayers from the “Rain of Wisdom” realization songs were conducted by a small group of lamas and Karme Ling residents.
This past Wednesday, on the third day after Khenpo Rinpoche’s passing, Vajra Master Lama Tobden visited Khenpo Rinpoche’s room and emerged saying that Khenpo Rinpoche was still resting in thukdam and encouraged us to maintain a quiet atmosphere at the Lama House at Karme Ling.
Meanwhile, letters of condolence have been pouring in from all over the world, as devotees and other religious leaders honor the example of our beloved master. Visitors from near and far have been visiting the shrine room at Karme Ling to meditate in the same building where Khenpo Rinpoche is resting in thukdam and to make offerings to a special throne set up for him there.
Fresh prayer flags are being raised around the property and a special shrine is being assembled in the Lama House Shrine room for the three days of visitation with Khenpo Rinpoche’s Kudung, or body relic, beginning Thursday October 17 and ending on the cremation day, October 20.
Students at various dharma centers are following Lama Topden’s advice to receive Rinpoche’s blessings through the practice of Guru Yoga.
The schedule for the events of October 17 to 20 is still being developed. Watch this newsletter and the www.kagyu.org website for updates on the program.
“In thukdam, a master of mahamudra meditation rests in the unity of the Mother and Child Clear Light,” Lama Karma said. “At this time, Khenpo Rinpoche’s mind is all-pervasive, and it is a good time to practice Guru Yoga and merge your mind with the mind of your teacher as part of your practice,” he said.
A major part of the 49-Day Observances for Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche is a special set of pujas at the Karme Ling Three-Year Retreat Center in Delhi, NY that will be dedicated to Khenpo Rinpoche’s swift rebirth and vast dharma activity. KTD sangha and friends are invited to join the pujas or make offerings as they are able.
Here are the dates for the Seven-Week Pujas:
The Seven-Week Pujas
October 6 – 12: Amitabha
October 13 – 19: Akshobhya
October 20 – 26: Zhitro (Peaceful and Wrathful Deities of the Bardo)
October 27 – November 2: Gyalwa Gyamtso
November 3 – 9: Demchok (Chakrasamvara)
November 10 – 16: Dorje Pakmo (Vajrayogini)
November 17 – 23: Amitabha