Passage of Time

Passage of Time by Sherab Gyatso Alex, on the heartfelt effects of meeting with Penor Rinpoche, the grand lama of the oldest lineage of Buddhism in Tibet. -An article published in LEVEKUNST art of life. And a small write-up on the picture from 2004.

Passage of Time by Sherab Gyatso Alex, on the heartfelt effects of meeting with Penor Rinpoche, the grand lama of the oldest lineage of Buddhism in Tibet. -An article published in LEVEKUNST art of life.
“I journeyed upstate to ask with my head bowed and palpable taste of angst: “Rinpoche, I really would like to become a monk and there seems a lot of obstacles to that”. With very happy air Rinpoche bowing his head in approval again and again spoke smiling, telling me that I should not worry, for it is clear to him that over time, slowly, slowly all the obstacles will be resolved and everything will be better.”

About the picture of Kyabje Penor Rinpoche (1932-2009) in the armchair outside the main temple of Palyul NY Upstate Retreat Center.
2004, or according to the Tibetan lunar calendar year of the Wood Monkey and Rinpoche turned 72 it was an interesting experience in the Upstate Retreat Center. Up to that point we were instantly used to Penor Rinpoche leading all chants with the deep voice, coming to the Temple often, offering empowerments and teachings, even if you did not experience this for long this was instant polaroid-like picture of your “mental image” of how things are. In 2004 however, Rinpoche came to the retreat center at the time of Summer Retreat but was said to be unwell, resting at the residence and was seldom seen in the Temple, everyone was alarmed and in the same time it felt like Rinpoche is watching us all ever more attentively, there was a great sense of happy calm and in the same time of profound sadness. It was raining quite a bit and was also colder the usual. Palyul Tulku Thubsang Rinpoche offered most of the retreat’s empowerments. The picture is taken on one of the last days of this month long retreat when Penor Rinpoche came to the temple and people were taking pictures. Kongpo Lama Sonam Wangchuk (1959-2007) followed Kyabje Rinpoche with the camera and made a whole roll later giving me the roll to develop he told me that I can have any pictures I like. This one stood out because even 10 years later it reminds me perfectly of the these feelings of great calm and concern that permeated that time.

Dakini Day, in Namdrolling on May 12th, 2007

—– Original Message —–
From: Nyc
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2007 10:38 AM
Subject: [NYC] Message from Namdroling office

We received a phone call Friday from Lopon Tshultrim Tentar from the Penor Rinpoche Charity Foundation office in Namdroling Monastery, South India.

Lopon-la let us know that last week the late Dorje Lopon Lama Wangchuk’s estate was offered to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. His Holiness instructed that the funds instead be offered to the monks and nuns in the monastery to sponsor a grand Dakini Day Tsok Feast Practice, which took place this morning (about 10 PM EST, about 7 or 8 AM in Namdroling). All of the monks, primary school and high school, as well as Shedra participated. Because Namdroling has grown so much, the Nuns carried through their practice at the Ani Gompa itself, as it would not have been possible for them to fit inside the Golden Temple.

Khenpo Tenzin Norgey Rinpoche asked us to forward this news to you all.

May all beings benefit!

Memory of Lama Wangchuk

From an Australian friend of Lama Wangchuk: Please count me in on the prayers. I am there in spirit.
Hello to everyone too.
much love,
PS. I have many memories of Lama Wangchuk as we all do, 2 in particular to
share with everyone. One being the very direct striking on the head by Lama
with a long, thin box, enough to alter my brain patterns somewhat. This
followed by the simple words “Guru Rinpoche Story” uttered from Lama’s lips.
A mind changing moment. Another memory of a very joyous monk zooming around
on a lawn mower at Mc Donough preparing for Rinpoche, like a child enjoying
a toy. In the middle of the large expanse of grass he left growing a patch
of bright yellow meadow flowers, after which he exclaimed “I like yellow”.
Lama taught me through the way he lived as much as through the weekly
practices; spontaneously and with clarity, intelligence and simple joy. It
was sad to hear of his passing and I had a little cry but for just a short
time. When I really just sat with it, all that Lama was in his recent life
is still here. Each time I go to eat or drink there is the presence of the
teacher reminding me of offering. He is a clearly etched memory forever
associated with Dharma. Many thanks be to him.
Be happy,
Loving regards,

-If you would like to share something about Lama, i can always put it up here.

Passing of Lama Wangchuk

Lama Sonam Wangchuk was born in Lower Kongpo region of Tibet in the year of Iron Tiger (1950). It was not known which month Lama was born on, but i think it was April, he marked his birthday every year on the Tibetan New Year, the Losar. And also counted extra year, as per Tibetan Custom. He would have marked 58 years in 2007 on the Losar, which falls this year on the 18th of February. I have called Lama last time on the phone on Thursday the 1st of February at about 5AM. On that same day Lama stopped eating at all and in a week’s time we had e-mail which you can read below. Most of this last conversation Lama took his time asking me to say thank you to several people in NYC that helped him out while he was in NYC and more recently in India.

—– Original Message —–
From: Palyul Ling
To: List Member
Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 9:32 AM
Subject: [Palyul NYC] In Memory of Dorje Lopon Lama Wangchuk

Palyul Changchub Dargyeling

Prayers for the Passing of Dorje Lopon Lama Wangchuk
Tonight, Friday, February 9, 7:00 PM
Saturday, February 10, 10:30 AM
Sunday, February 11, 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM
Thursdays, 7 PM:
February 15, 22, 29; March 8, 15, 22
Special practice on March 29 at 7 PM

Dear Friends,

Dorje Lopon Lama Wangchuk completed his intention to benefit beings (Gonpa Dzok) at 4:30 AM on February 9 at Namdroling Monastery in South India. This would have been 3 PM on February 8, New York time.

We will gather to recite prayers for Lama Wangchuk as per the schedule above. Every seven days is a significant day to practice after someone we are close to has passed away. On the 49th day, we will complete our prayers and hold special practices. Khenpo Tenzin Norgey will be available to answer any questions you have about the practice.

Regarding the details of his passing, for the last two weeks, Lama Wangchuk had difficulty eating food. Six days ago he stopped eating and his monk attendants continued to provide him with fruit juice and take care of his needs. When it became clear that he needed specialized treatment, he was brought to Apollo Hospital in Mysore. He stayed in the hospital until yesterday when the doctor advised that his time was near. He was released from the hospital and returned to the monastery where he could complete his life’s work, surrounded by the monastic community.

Because he was an esteemed member of the monastery, his body was placed in front of the Temple of Guru Rinpoche (Zangdokpelri) and the community of monks gathered to recite prayers. A tulku from the monastery performed Phowa, and His Holiness Penor Rinpoche has been informed. Prayers will continue at the Monastery for the next two days and then every week until the 49-day Bardo period has been completed.

Please join us to practice for our dear spiritual friend over these next few weeks.

If you have images of Lama Wangchuk that you would like included in a memorial slideshow that we are creating for the website, please send them to Write if you have any trouble sending these. Current slideshow here.

Nyingma Palyul Dharma Center
121 Bowery, 3rd Floor
At Grand Street

Directions: Take the “B” or “D” train to the Grand Street Exit. Walk to Bowery, one block. The M103 bus also stops near the center.

May All Beings Benefit!
Send to the following interest groups:
Palyul NYC Group
Palyul New York
Summer Retreatants
Please forward to those who might be interested.
Palyul Ling International Mailing List Address:
101 W. 23rd, Mailbox 2336
New York, NY 10011
Fax/Voicemail: (509) 272-1908

Collection of open letters from Lama Wangchuk

6. (This e-mail had picture of the Lama, that you see attached to the post).
—– Original Message —–
From: Lama_wangchuk
Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 10:24 PM
Subject: message from Lama Wangchuk

Dear Friends,

Since my last email, I’m doing about the same, no better or worse. I thank you very much for the prayers you have made on my behalf and for the medicine and money you have sent. Here, I am practicing and praying for you

I will be out of email contact until Tibetan Losar on February 18th. If you need to contact me, please call me by phone.

If I am still here at Losar, I will send another email then.

Tashi Delek,

Lama Wangchuk

—– Original Message —–
From: Lama_wangchuk
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2006 7:14 AM
Subject: On behalf of Lama Wangchuk

Dear Dharma Friends,

Thank you for doing practice on my behalf. I feel lucky when I hear that there are so many people practicing for me. Please continue to pray that I will be able to recover.
Right now I am doing a little better than before, but still not back to normal.
I have been able to go kora a few times.
I am also praying that all of you are happy and praticing well.
If you would like to call me, my number is: 91-99800-01089

Thank you,

Lama Wangchuk

translator’s note: Although it is not possible for Lama to respond to all the personal emails he receives, I have conveyed your well wishes and news to him.

—– Original Message —–
From: Lama_wangchuk
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2006 10:48 AM
Subject: A message from Lama Wangchuk

Dear Friends,

You have all been very kind to me. You have done some practices for me. And you have sent a lot of money. From the the depth of my heart I bring my hands together and say thank you very much. I had to stay for ten days at the hospital in Mysore. At the moment, since I am a bit better, I’ve come back to stay at the monastery.

I asked Rinpoche to do a ‘mo’, it indicated that many pujas should be done for me. So these have been done for me at the monastery. So with the power of both the pujas you’ve done for me at the NY center and the pujas Rinpoche recomended, I was able to get a bit better by staying at the hospital..

If we can’t meet again in this life, I pray that we will meet again in the next life. And I pray that just like in this life we will be able to meet with such a holy lama as Penor Rinpoche and practice the dharma together. We have had so much good foturne in this life. So please pray that we will be so fortunate in the future, and I will pray for the same.

If one does not practice the Dharma when one has the chance, then when one becomes like me it is not possible to practice and meditate, and then death comes. Some of you are younger and some are older, but there are none of you who haven’t received teachings from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche.

Just as it is said in the morning prayer: “Wake up now, don’t go falling into the sleep of ignorance,” Please practice now while you can, and follow Rinpoche’s advice. Rinpoche always says, “Make Dharma the most important thing” We have to work at this until we die, we have to make it the most important thing in our lives.

For the practice of dharma it is not necessary to have a nice house or a nice place to stay, the most important thing is ones own mind. The most importan thing is not to forget what Rinpoche says, until we die, not forgetting the instuctions, we should practice.

I don’t know anything, but I’ve receie quite a few teachings from His Holiness, so on the basis of that I am giving you this advice.

We should never forget the root teacher from whom we receive the teachings. The root teacher is the one who shows us the path to Buddhahood. Without relying on the root teacher there is no other method to become Buddha. But I don’t need to tell you this, you probably already know this. So please keep it in your hearts.

If I die, then this is my final testament to you.

Unlike before I am getting weaker. And there is not much I can say. If I don’t die, then we can keep emailing back and forth and keep in touch.
Although we are different races, our minds are the same and we are all students of the same teacher. Thats all I have to say for today.

Tashi delek to everyone.

Lama Wangchuk

—– Original Message —–
From: Lama_wangchuk
Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2006 5:01 AM
Subject: on behalf of Lama Wangchuk

Dear friends of Lama Wangchuk,

Lama is still at the hospital in Mysore. He says he should be coming back to Namdroling on Monday and be able to stay a 3 or 4 days before returning to Mysore for a checkup. The fluid keeps returning to his stomach, so it has to get pumped out. He may also be receiving chemotherapy.

He says he is feeling a bit better. He knows that everyone has been worried about him and he says thank you from the depths of his heart for all your prayers, well wishes, and concern. And also special thanks to those who have sent money, medicine, or other things.

If you know of other people who would like to receive emails from Lama Wangchuk, please ask them to email him at . I will add them to his address book.

—– Original Message —–
From: Lama_wangchuk
Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2006 9:46 AM
Subject: sent on behalf of Lama Wangchuk

Dear Friends of Lama Wangchuk,

Lama asked me to let you know that he has gone to the Apollo Hospital in Mysore, about 2.5 hours from Namdroling. Last week he was having some bloating and other stomach problems and the local doctor recommend he see a specialist.

The doctor in Mysore said that Lama’s blood is deficient and there is also fluid accumulating in the stomach. Tomorrow Lama will under go a procedure to remove the fluid.

He askes everyone not to worry about him. He isn’t sure how long he’ll be in Mysore. I expect he’ll be back at the monastery in a few days. Apollo Hospital is the best place he could go in the area.

Once he is back I’ll help him reply to your individual emails.


Ani Damchoe Wongmo (lama’s email helper)

—– Original Message —–
From: Lama_wangchuk
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 9:37 AM
Dear Dharma Friends,

Hello everyone. I was very happy to hear from you. I got your emails and it made me very happy, thank you very much. I’m glad that you haven’t forgotten me. This is my new email address. You can write to me at this address and please share it with my other Dharma friends. We can keep in touch this way, you can let me know how you are doing and I will let you know how I am doing here.

My main hope for you is that since His Holiness is able to visit New York every year, even though it may be difficult for you financially or time wise, remember one’s own death and impermance, that you will be able to receive as many of His Holiness’ teachings and empowerments as possible. Even if you are only able to go for a week or a day. And whatever teaching you receive that you practice it constantly until you die. Whether it is meditation or reciting prayers, practice well, that is what I ask for you to do.

These days Lama Sochuk is able to visit the New York City Center. It is not far to travel for most of you. So please join him for practice.

These days my health is so so. I don’t feel very good, but it isn’t getting worse either. I
am able to go kora and practice. Through Rinpoche’s blessing I hope that my illness will be cured. Rinpoche advised me to go kora and accumulate the Seven Line Prayer, so I am doing that as much as possible. Please don’t worry about me.

At the moment I have some money, but not a lot. But it is costing a lot for my food and my needs, there is a lot I have had to buy and it is very costly. In the future, if I run out of money, I hope that all of you will give me some help, even if it is just a few dollars. I have one hundred percent confidence that you will help me when I need it.

I have nothing else to say, except to send my Tashi Delek. I hope that if we can’t meet again in this life that we will all meet again in the next life. It must have been from the effect of our past prayers that we were able to meet in New York and practice together for four years.

If there was ever a time when something I said or did upset you, please forgive me and don’t be uspet. I don’t hold it in my heart and neither should you. I just pray that you are able to carry about your practice well, for your whole life. Since we are all students of the same Lama, I wish you all the best from the depth of my heart.

Here is my phone number (91) 99800-01089. Please call me at any time, I will answer. I would be so happy to hear from any of you.

Sincerely Yours,

Lama Wangchuk

About photo albums available here

This post is old… Yahoo does not host pictures no more, i had them transferred somewhere. Post to be updated.…
1st album is meant to be a collection of pictures used within the 360 page and the blog as well as additional pictures of views, deities and teachers.…
2nd album is dedicated to pictures of Lama Wangchuk that cover some of the times of his almost 6 year stay in America, 2000-2006.…
3rd album covers some of the events of Lama Wangchuk last 2 weeks in New York, just before he got on the plane in JFK to go to Namdrolling monastery in South India.
There are some pictures from the morning of the 30th of April, the Sunday when Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso offered White Unbrella Empowerment (Duk Kar) at NPDC, in the afternoon of that day we recieved continuation of teaching on Supplication to Guru Rinpoche in Seven Chapters. And later towards the evening some of us were able to gather in Congee Village restaurant, from that gathering there are also a few pictures available amongst 44 currently in the 3rd album. We also met up in the morning of the following day and did some Sadhana Practice together. On the 5th, the Friday we got together in NPDC early in the morning and towards middle of the afternoon i was able to accompany Lama upstate. Saturday happend to be Wesak according to Therevadin callendar and Sunday was the 10th day on which i was able to sit through Rigdzin Dupa Tsog offering to Guru Rinpoche in main temple of upstate retreat center. On the 9th of May lama flew with Air India out of JFK in direction of South India. And i did not take any pictures of these few last days. Lama Wangchuk was a very good friend of just about any one who would reach out to him. And it is next to impossible to believe that he is no longer in NYC.…
4th album is to share some of the various pictures of people that i find in my camera after taking scores of pictures, seemingly at random 🙂…
5th album is a collection of pictures of Buryat Hambo Lama Tashi Dorje Itigilov, from time before he passed into meditative state diring 1928 and now in 2002 and in 2005. His body remains flexible and is still with us.…
Kyabje Penor Rinpoche in carmel, NY on the 19th of August, 2006.

Lama Wangchuk Dinner

This is now “old e-mail” that was written by some one who knew Lama Wangchuk in NYC as we can see this is in many respects a personal message, from the heart, i am posting it here because it was made public on a public annocement list, hope authors don’t mind.

—– Original Message —–

From: Palyul Ling
To: List Member
Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 10:29 AM
Subject: [Palyul] Lama Wangchuk Recalled to India
Palyul Ling
May 3, 2006

Dear Friends,
As many of you may know, Dorje Lopon Lama Wangchuk has been recalled to Namdroling Monastery and will be leaving immediately on May 5. I thought to let summer retreat attendees know so you all could take the opportunity to say good-bye to Lama if you wished. We will also take up a small collection for Lama to help him in India (scroll down to see below).
There will be a dinner at Tsampa Restaurant Thursday, May 4 at 7 PM (9th Street at 3rd Avenue) and Lama will leave New York on Friday.
If you would like to attend the dinner, please take a second to RSVP at so that we can let the restaurant know of an estimate of attendees.

Dorje Lopon Lama Wangchuk earned his rank during the very first 3 year, 3 month, 3 day retreat His Holiness Penor Rinpoche granted at Namdroling Monastery in South India. Among his classmates was Dorje Lopon Lama Sochuk, whom we also all know from our upstate retreats. Lama Wangchuk was sent to the United States in 1999 and served in Los Angeles for a year before His Holiness Penor Rinpoche determined a need for him at the Upstate New York retreat center.
After entreaties from the students in New York City, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche generously agreed to grant the request for Lama Wangchuk to lead practice and give teachings in the city. Lama quickly became the foundation of the New York City center, winning the hearts of the students who appreciate his warm and nurturing approach to the courses.
The courses were first offered in Sufi Bookstore, then Dolma Carpet, and finally settled in Tsampa Restaurant on Sundays. Lama taught the students all of the chants traditionally practiced within the monastic environment, as well as torma-making, mudra, bell and dorje, chopon, and more. For the past year and a half, he has been leading practice in the Bowery Street Nyingma Palyul Dharma Center and carrying through all the daily practices as is traditional within the Palyul Nyingma tradition.
Lama also has been indispensible in setting up teaching programs in New York. He helped to lead arrangements for empowerment programs given by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, Tulku Thubten Rinpoche, His Eminence Khentul Gyangkhang Rinpoche, His Eminence Dagmar Rinpoche, Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche, Khenpo Tenzin Norgey Rinpoche and so on. Because of his help, the local center has been able to prepare properly for these special programs.
Lama also worked very hard every summer at the upstate retreat. As we all saw, his humility is profound and no task beneath him. Because of his rank he has earned the right to remain in the temple to practice. But not only did Lama practice, he also offered himself even for maintaining the grounds and cutting the grass, as well as cooking for the monk entourage accompanying His Holiness.
Yet despite all his hard work, Lama always has made himself available to students who wanted to ask his advice on practice or even personal matters. Lama has comforted many of us in our darkest times.
It is truly touching if you consider all that Lama has done for us and for furthering His Holiness Penor Rinpoche’s vision.
Letting Lama know you’ll miss him by email is possible. Please don’t hesitate writing and I will print out and give him your email.
It is possible to send the center assistance for Lama, if you so desire. We can collect credit card Paypal donations at the account, the center’s Paypal account. Funds from the donations need to be marked “Lama Wangchuk Fund,” which you can do from within the Paypal system. Funds will be transferred to India after Lama arrives to ensure their safety. Please click below to donate. Paypal
You can also just donate to the center at that Paypal address if you wish, just note your donation appropriately.
As some of our students do not use email, it is quite useful to let them know yourself. Please don’t hesitate to do so!
Please join me in wishing Lama Wangchuk farewell with wishes for his long life, improved health, and hopes that we may meet again some day soon!

About Lama Wangchuk, Voice of Dharma of NYC for number of years….

Lama Wangchuk arrived in US in 1999 and was residing in California for about a year. Later to be appointed to North American Seat of Palyul Lineage Holder Je Drubwang Pema Norbu Rinpoche in Upstate New York. Lama maintained all rituals within the temple until persistent requests from NYC area students started bringing him to NYC on a weekly basis. While in the City Lama Wangchuk became one of the Tibetan Lamas of the community, that community was fortunate to have, you could meet him at funerals and weddings, at times people would invite Lama to perform rituals in their homes. While very small group of students formed around meetings that Lama unfailingly came to, even while not feeling well in middle of winter with a cold.

During last several years this was the schedule: Lama would arrive from Upstate towards the end of the week. At about 11:00 on Sunday from five to ten people would gather with him in front of a makeshift altar in a Tibetan Restaurant to retake Bodhisattva Vow, perform sadhanas of Riwo Sangcho, Vajrakilaya, and Tara. Then in the evening of Sunday a smaller group would gather in a cordially offered by a Chinese monk for the occasion Buddhist Temple on Bowery, in Chinatown. We would perform Sadhanas of Vajrakilaya, Tara and Chod. Always saying prayers for auspiciousness to pervade all of cyclic existence, for the benefit of every one. On Monday Lama Wangchuk would lead chant of the lineage prayers and facilitate Ngondro practice accumulation, we would recite Abbreviated Confession to the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities and recite Sadhana of Chenrezig in 6 realms

All of this prayers and Sadhana texts Lama could recite from memory with very precise melody and I have seen him do so on a number of occasions when he had to concede his book to some one who would arrive without one, whish I had recorded one session like that on tape, because they gave out (at least to me) impression of very best timing and melody.

Lama Sonam Wangchuk was born in Lower Kongpo region of Tibet in the year of Iron Tiger (1950).

-As a young man Lama followed his father Habso Lodoe and helped him to produce numerous statuary and decorations for many temples throughout the Northern India and later in South India, His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche was the root Lama of his father and on “the job” Lama learned ritual and craft at some point serving in the army.

Here is my narration of a story that Lama Wangchuk told me about his father.

At one point his father was working on a likeness of Ekadzati and Lama that had commissioned it knew just so precisely how it should look down to the face that he would not concede to anything else. So the statue had to be redone many times. Then at some point in the morning the Lama called the Sculptor in and gave him unelaborated empowerment and instructions on meditation also directing him what to do throughout the day. Sure enough the sculptor was able to behold Ekadzati in his dream that night and making sketch supplemented with verbal descriptions of the dream the following morning in front of the Lama made him very happy. Statue was about to happen in just the way Lama envisioned it…

By the age of 30 it was decided for him to enter monastery of Kyabje Penor Rinpoche and Lama became one of the first 10 retreatants in not completely finished but already operational traditional 3-year Samten Osel Ling Retreat facility. Retreat for all of the first batch of retreatants actually lasted for 4 years and our Lama received degree of Dorje Lopon. ~To be continued and corrected…~

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