With continuous waves of birth, old age, sickness and death as long as we read and write here or there it is possible to feel like a “survivor”. But that situation may present further complications, lets try to quickly glance in direction of what may lay on the other side of the threshold.
Within the 20th and 21st centuries we had some of most interesting Buddhist Masters of Buddhism as a whole and certainly of Tibetan Buddhism in particular. The image of the Great Stupa of Tibetan Buddhist traditions founded, built and then broken and swept into the vast ocean of all of humanity is for sure very unique period of Buddhism and Buddhism of Tibet. As a result we had some of the most celebrated masters pass away in places like France, in case of Dudjom Rinpoche, Nepal in case of Chadrel Rinpoche and farther still, Upstate NY in case of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and Shenphen Dawa Norbu Rinpoche. As well as many others. While I can not say that I am dedicated disciple of Shenphen Dawa Norbu Rinpoche, I did endeavor to visit Rinpoche’s center in NYC and in Upstate NY as much as possible and was able to meet and observe this great master over 10 times. So, while I am not well placed to say anything, it is still an opportunity to try and publish general, meritorious talk for all to read and for myself to contemplate.
In a way of list I set out from these, following markers.
What did we come to think of the act of Historical Buddha’s passing. And how we work with it today. The 12 deeds of Buddha is the life example teaching that we can work on directly, without too much study. Emulating the glorious example in our own life.
What Chardel Sangye Dorje Rinpoche (June 18, 1913 – December 30, 2015) left us in the his last testament was a few short lines and one of them was: “Do not be sad“. This was a kind of Master that one would feel devotion to, without having ever met them, at least in my case. So, it is not easy not to feel sad, it is also difficult to know what some of the direct disciples felt.
Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-1987) amongst so much brilliant writing left us with volumes of books that stand apart from all others. And in the famous Prayer to Recognize my own Faults we receive very clear information on the direct focus of the spiritual practice. On the actual work of correcting things with our own view.
And to the reason for writing these few notes out. In Greenville, NY state (not far from Albany) Kyabje Shenphen Dawa Norbu (born February 17, 1950) entered into tukdam meditation on Sunday, 15th of April at 12:02AM
-How not to be sad about that!
How to engage in the correction of the faults of the view that may feel as parting?
In the Glorious Arya Nagarjuna text Praising the Twelve Events in the Life of Lord Budda, in Dharma Samudra translation when we come to the end we read:
In order to motivate those who are complacent in dharma practice,
At the pure ground of Kushinagara
You reached the deathless vajra body.
We praise your deed of passing into parinirvana.
And just like that if we perfectly adjust the view of the Lama to be non other then Buddha himself, with direct sharpness of Lord Nagarjuna we are left with nothing to do but abandon the sadness as much as possible, however hard it maybe, all in favor of practice of view and conduct that actually emulate these great beings that come again and again to guide us on the spiritual path of arrival in certainty that Buddha is always within and never apart, thus can not really ever leave us.
Pictures are from 3rd month and 10th day in Upstate NY, August 13th, 2016. Above, Rinpoche is with his son, during Tsog offering, Tulku Namgyal Dawa Rinpoche. Below is Rinpoche’s seat during the short afternoon break.
With condolences to the Dudjom family on this momentary parting from this brilliant guide of all beings. With aspiration for Rinpoche’s quick return.