December 22, 2023
Passing of Professor Sempa Dorje
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message after the passing of Professor Sempa Dorje.
A transcript of the letter follows.
Dear Dharma friends,
Our beloved Genla, Professor Sempa Dorje, has entered the final meditation of this rebirth. He passed into Parinirvana yesterday evening, on the 10th day of the lunar calendar, which is known in Tibetan as tsechu.
I will forever miss his presence, and there will never be another great and unique Bodhisattva like him in my life.
He was one of my greatest teachers, and one of the greatest gifts made to me by my late root teacher, His Holiness the 14th Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche.
‘Genla’ is a simple term of endearment, by which I used to call Professor Sempa Dorje. The meaning of this term is ‘elderly’, not necessarily in terms of age, but more referring to the person’s knowledge and his paving the way to our realisation.
Just like myself, many fellow practitioners have had the precious opportunity to learn from him and absorb his treasures of Buddhist knowledge. I hope we will be able to honour him by being able to put into practice what he shared with us.
This afternoon around 6:30pm a light drizzle of rain fell from a sky that contained no real rain clouds. Maybe it’s my emotion, and maybe it’s not – but it was like a farewell blessing. Not that anything truly ends, but it was like a gentle touch of affection.
May we follow in his footsteps, and the footsteps of so many great masters – the way they live and the way they pass away.
His path from now on will be a myriad of paths, like that of so many great beings.
But we won’t witness them in our lifetime, not in the way we think we will. Yet, if we put what he has passed on to us into practice, then we can be sure that he will be with us all the way to enlightenment.
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa