December 22, 2021
On the passing of Khenchen Trinley Paljor Rinpoche
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares this message on the occasion of the passing of Khenchen Trinley Paljor Rinpoche:
A transcript of the letter follows:
New Delhi, 19 January 2022
Dear Dharma friends,
Khenchen Trinley Paljor Rinpoche, a great Buddha Dharma practitioner, has entered Parinirvana.
On this occasion I would like to share some thoughts of mine to all of his disciples, and to all those who had the good fortune of knowing him and being close to him in life.
Birth, living and dying are natural phenomena of cyclic life, and although we may be able to relate to them in an abstract way, they are not just abstracts. If we let them be only abstracts we are kind of postponing and ignoring something that’s truly worthwhile to realise.
Focusing on birth, living and dying as it is, or as it happens to someone – whether they be ordinary or extraordinary – gives us an opportunity to reflect on one’s own state. This focusing is what we Buddhists practice. On this very occasion of the Parinirvana of Khenchen Trinley Paljor, we have the chance to not only feel the loss of a great practitioner and to respect his passing (which is a noble social custom), but to view it as a mirror to reflect our own pattern of cyclic birth, living and dying. We regard that mirroring as ‘teachings’ for reasons of practical understanding.
So it’s a reminder that we too are eternally being born, living and dying. It’s such a precious moment that we can’t let it slip and postpone this chance. The Guru Yoga is the most appropriate practice to go with this occasion.
Guru Yoga practice will lift you up if you feel insignificant and minute against this imposing life. Guru Yoga practice will bring you down to earth if you feel that your dreams are too ambitious to realise in this life. Guru Yoga practice will slow you down if you feel too hurried by impermanence and karmic debt. Guru Yoga practice will motivate you if you feel lacking in inspiration.
In many ways, just as Buddha Shakyamuni gave the last Dharma before his Parinirvana, this occasion has the very blessing to realise for yourself that you have that same ability to go on to Buddhahood just as Khenchen Rinpoche did.
In this way, all of you who have had the good fortune to meet this great practitioner during his lifetime have abundant reason to rejoice that you were able to witness his teachings on how to live.
Degenerate Age or not, Khenchen Trinley Paljor practiced the Buddha Dharma and mirrored to all of you how you can practice regardless of the challenging situations and circumstances that seem to give you no space.
I personally rejoice in having had the good fortune of meeting him and receiving precious Dharma transmissions from him, and I will always treasure every single one of the precious moments I spent with him.
Offering aspirations for the fulfilment of his wishes by following in his footsteps is the most genuine practice, offering, and gratitude.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa