December 22, 2023
Parinirvana of Togdan Rinpoche
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following messages about the parinirvana of His Eminence Choje Togdan Rinpoche.
A transcript of the message follows:
Dear Dharma friends,
His Eminence Choje Togdan Rinpoche, the spiritual leader of the Drikung Kagyu lineage in Ladakh, has entered Parinirvana.
I would like to express my deepest condolences to all of his disciples, and to all those who had the good fortune of being close to him in life.
I too have heart-warming memories of precious time spent alongside him, particularly during my visit to Ladakh in 2015, when I was fortunate enough to visit many of his over 50 monasteries there and thus get a first-hand impression of his vast Dharma activity. During that time, I also had the pleasure of receiving Dharma transmissions from him. Moreover, apart from his being a highly accomplished spiritual master, I also remember him as a practical and down-to-earth individual. In this way, he obtained excellence in both the spiritual and the so-called worldly life.
With his passing, another great practitioner has departed from this visible world; when we are faced with such a loss, it is very natural for us to feel a sense of sorrow.
However, we should not let ourselves be overwhelmed by this sorrow. Instead, we should use it as a cue to deeply reflect on the fleeting nature of life – the fact that our human condition is ever-changing, and that everyone, without exception, is subject to this condition.
The real sorrow is the non-acceptance of this fact, for it is this denial that keeps us stuck in our ever-repeating thoughts and patterns, in other words in cyclic existence.
Thus, the passing of such great teachers is a skilful method employed for our sake, for it has the power to wake us up from our delusion of permanence, and give us an opportunity to realise that the only thing we can rely on is the complete acceptance of the ever-changing and fluctuating nature of the condition that is ours.
So, dear Dharma friends, let us honour Rinpoche’s life example by allowing the sorrow we feel to open our heart to the realisation that there is nothing solid to hold on to in this cyclic world.
This, I feel, is the best way to do justice to his legacy. May we all be able to do that.
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa