Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Lati Rinpoche (1922-2010) - First anniversary passing into Nirvana, Remembering a great saint-teacher

How time flies. Next week on the 12th April (Tuesday), will be the 1st year anniversary of our great teacher, His Holiness Kyabje Lati Rinpoche's passing into Nirvana.  The 3 great monasteries of Gaden, Drepung and Sera, with a total of 10,000 monks, will be conducting a grand guru puja and tsog offering ceremony to mark this occasion. 

Gaden Shartse Monastery has completed the building of Lati Rinpoche's statues and stupa. I caught a glimpse of a photo of Rinpoche's statue a couple of nights ago. The resemblance was uncanny. There will be 3 statues of Lati Rinpoche to be erected, one to be placed in the main hall of the monastery, the second one in Lati Ladrang in the monastery and the third one will be brought over to Singapore, to Dro-Phen Ling!  Earlier last year, after Rinpoche's cremation, DPL was deeply honoured to have received Rinpoche's holy relics from Gaden Shartse Monastery.  The Monastery has maintained that no other centre in the world was given Rinpoche's holy relics.  Again this time, DPL is very fortunate and privileged to be able to receive Lati Rinpoche's statue in Singapore.  Lati Rinpoche was very close to his students in Singapore, having spent most of his latter years coming to Singapore for teachings and initiations.

In Singapore, Gaden Shartse  Dro-Phen Ling will also be conducting a Guru Puja & Tsog Offering at 7:30pm on 12th April (Tue) to mark this occasion.  It will be a get-together to dedicate prayers for the swift return of Lati Rinpoche as well as to be reunited with Rinpoche's reincarnation as soon as possible.

If you would like to plant the seed of affinity to meet with Lati Rinpoche again, you may wish to contribute to this puja, and/or to the building fund of Lati Rinpoche's stupa and statue, please do so as soon as possible, preferably before 9 April 2011.  You can contact DPL at  65-63449521 for more information. 

If you have noticed on the right column of this blog, there is a link dedicated to the Loving Memory of Lati Rinpoche.  It is a compilation of my entries during Lati Rinpoche's passing into Nirvana last year.  

Let me recap....

Lati Rinpoche was recognized as a reincarnation of a great practitioner and became a monk at the age of 10.  He was the Spiritual Advisor to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, as well as the Abbot Emeritus of Gaden Shartse Monastery in Mundgod, South India.  In early April 2010, Lati Rinpoche was staying in Dharamsala at that time and he made a request to His Holiness the Dalai Lama that he would like to personally conduct a long life puja for His Holiness.  His Holiness at first refused but accepted on the condition that Lati Rinpoche sit side by side with him for the long life puja together. On 12 April 2010 early morning, Lati Rinpoche woke up, did his prayers and circumambulated His Holiness the Dalai Lama's monastery.  Then he requested for a bath, after which he told his personal attendant, Sopon-la, to leave his room, "It's time for me to go". With that, at about 5.30am, Rinpoche entered into clear light meditation sitting in the lotus position, with his hand in the Vitarka Mudra (which is the mudra of teaching gesture). His attendants noted that at this time, an Unisha had appeared on top of Rinpoche's head (an Unisha is a flesh protuberance on the crown of the head. This was clearly one of the 32 distinctive and auspicious signs of a Buddha).

News of Lati Rinpoche's passing into Nirvana spread rapidly all over the world. In the meantime, His Holiness the Dalai Lama did a divination and advised that Lati Rinpoche's body be brought back to Gaden Shartse Monastery in Mundgod for cremation.  Lati Rinpoche remained in thugdam (clear-light meditation) for 56 hours until 14 April, with his body still warm. Throughout the 8 days until his cremation, Rinpoche's body remained intact in its natural state with no sign of decomposition nor smell. His holy body was placed in coffin without sealing the top, which was simply just covered by cloth.

On 15 April, Lati Rinpoche's holy body was flown back to Mundgod accompanied by his entourage of attendants, lamas and students, returning to Gaden Shartse Monastery. It was an emotional home-coming as thousands of monks lined the streets leading to the monastery, to pay their respect to Rinpoche, each offering karta as Rinpoche's body passed them.  Around the clock pujas were conducted by the thousands of monks everyday as they built the fire pyra and prepared for Rinpoche's cremation. 

On 19 April at 7am was the cremation day of Rinpoche. It was a grand send-off from Lati Ladrang all the way to the cremation grounds, with thousands of monks from the 3 great monasteries of Gaden, Drepung and Sera, lining the streets. Led by His Holiness Zong Rinpoche, there were many high lamas present; His Holiness Ling Rinpoche, Kensur Rinpoche Dakpa Tenzin, Khen Rinpoche Jangchup Choeden (Abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery), Kyabje Shartul Rinpoche Tenzin Kunkhen,  Kensur Rinpoche Kunchok Tsering, Kensur Rinpoche Jampa Yeshe with many old Geshes were all present. Before Rinpoche's holy body was offered to the fire pyre, the monks and members of Dro-Phen Ling circumambulated the stupa 3 times, before making their prayers and offering of karta.

The guru puja and tsog offering continued for the following 3 days and 3 nights. On the evening after Lati Rinpoche's cremation, a dharma sister snapped some photos when the puja was on-going.  She shared with me some of these photos which captured several mystical orbs. Simply amazing.

On  23 April 2010, Lati Rinpoche's fire puja pyre was uncovered and many amazing relics were discovered. Lati Rinpoche's heart relic was left behind unburnt and there was a small Vajrayogini deity seen in his heart (Rinpoche's main practice deity).

It was also revealed a little footprint has been discovered pointing towards the East direction, the same direction of the first smokes during the cremation.  This is indicative of the direction of the place of Rinpoche's rebirth. The size of the footprint also has a significant meaning. Since it is small, this indicates that Rinpoche's reincarnation will arrive very soon. This means that Rinpoche will return to us very soon.

Heart relics of Lati Rinpoche with Vajrayogini in his heart
Precious relics of the Heart, Tongue, Eyeballs, Bones remained intact
A little footprint pointing to the East
HH Zong Rinpoche and entourage led the procession of Lati Rinpoche's relics

Thus we witnessed the story of a real practitioner, a great master and teacher, who has  attained Nirvana within one lifetime. If you would like to read about my previous posts and see more photos, below are the links of my wonderful guru.

I have also received many comments and replies to this series of posts, many of whom are Lati Rinpoche's students all over the world.  Below I share some of their comments: 

Rodney Stevenson said...
No reason to be sad. He chose the best time to pass to a new life to best help his students et al. What a joy for those who met and received teachings from him. May he soon return. May we be among his students. And a really nice blog/set of pictures! Thank you.  

A reader said... 
Your compilation on the previous entries of Lati Rinpoche is really good, it keeps people reminded of Rinpoche and how great He is as a master. Though Rinpoche has left us, we should always keep Rinpoche in our heart :) 
A reader said.. 
A true master, he gave me long life blessing and initiation in Toronto in the eighties. Even though he was very sick with a terrible cold he still held the teaching and taught many things by example, not just on an intellectual level but on a deeper spiritual level. A true Saint. 

Tenzin Phuntsok said....
Dear Lopsided8 Blogger, Thank you for posting the information with daily updates about Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche. We really appreciate it, as we are praying in Calgary, Canada. Sincerely, Tenzin Phuntsok and Lobsang Rinchend...

S said....
I feel privileged to have met this excellent lama and received teachings from him. I hope he returns soon and that all of us as his disciples will follow his instructions and practice dharma to benefit others.

TMC said....
Seeing Rinpoche wrapped in pink and purple (blanket) made me smile. I constantly appreciate reminders that whether I perceive something as painful or whimsical, it's always a Dharma teaching. Thank you for sharing this series of posts re: Rinpoche.

Vajrayogini Devotee said.... 
Dear Lopsided 8, It's so wonderful and so nice of you to take the time to post and share with us to the latest of new developments regarding to Lati Rinpoche's funeral at Gaden. Without your kindness to share, we would not have the opportunity to see those precious photos, to witness the true and feel so fortunate that we actually connected with the Enlightened Beings in this life time Really appreciate you very much. Thank you and best wishes to you, C Bach (Lati Rinpoche's student at Thupten Dhargye Ling Long Beach C) 

Nancy Ho said... 
Dear Lopsided8, Stumpbo, thank you so very very much for your postings about Lati Rinpoche. I felt so sad on the first day of the News but now I feel so much better because I feel I am with so many others who treasure Rinpoche and pray for his speedy return. Without your postings, I would not have been able to feel so connected. I would have felt more alone and missed the opportunity to feel such loving connections around precious Lati Rinpoche. Thank you so so very much. I wish you all the best. Keep being your wonderful self.  Nancy Ho, student of Lati Rinpoche from Gaden Choling Toronto Canada  

A reader said...  
Ditto from a student of Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling in Long Beach, CA. He was here a number of times and gave us all great blessing. your wonderful blog and photos are such a treasure. thank you so much.

Bobby Ng from Shandong, China, said...  
Dear Lopsided8, I have follow and greatly respected Lati Rinpoche as one of my main masters. Memories of rinpoche's great compassion and teachings will always remain in my heart. Thanks for sharing all the precious photos and may the Triple Gems bless u always. 

Thubten Nyima said... 
Absolutely beautiful!! Thank you so much for posting and sharing this.

Thank you so much to everyone who wrote in to me. Lati Rinpoche's passing serves as a reminder to me the importance of practice, and to treasure all the gurus /masters who are still around, as well as to give full-fledged support to the Sangha. More importantly, Lati Rinpoche's passing into Nirvana taught me the lesson of impermanence, yet again. His expedient example only emphasized simply the benefit of expounding and practicing the Dharma. I witnessed The Buddha manifested through Lati Rinpoche (from his teachings, his practice, his followers, and the eventual evidence of his relics). I consider myself most fortunate to have the good karmic affinity to have met Lati Rinpoche in this lifetime, to have had received his teachings and empowerments as well as immense blessings. I would never forget the kindness of my guru.  _/|\_

May everyone who has met Rinpoche, talked to him, heard about him, remember him, received teachings from him and may all who are connected to Lati Rinpoche in any way be able to meet Lati Rinpoche very soon and in future lifetimes again and again until enlightenment. May the reincarnation of Lati Rinpoche return to us swiftly. May all be auspicious!

Join us for the Guru Puja & Tsog Offering at 7:30pm on 12th April (Tue)  @Gaden Shartse Dro-Phen Ling.

                               This life as impermanent as a water bubble;
Remember how quickly it decays and death comes.
After death, just as a shadow follows the body,
The result of black and white karma follow.
May the gurus who show the noble path
And spiritual friends who practice it have long lives.
In all my lives, never separated from perfect gurus.

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