Kopan Monastery, Nepal — September 12, 2011
From Ven. Roger:
On September 5, Rinpoche leaned very close to Lama Lhundrup to better hear his voice, it was very soft, a very soft whisper. “Even the very smallest pleasure is in the nature of suffering,” said Lama Lhundrup. “If I have to go to the hell realms may I be able to take on all their suffering, may it ripen on me.” The atmosphere was very, very still and calm. The conversation felt so intimate between too old close friends. There was no emotion, it was just a close and intimate exchange.
On the evening of September 6, Lama Lhundrup asked for Kunkhen (his attendant) to help clean and wash his body. He even asked for Kunkhen to clean his tongue, and then asked for help to lie in the Buddha’s position (for passing away). He gave instructions to Kunkhen that he’d like not to be disturbed, and also said that he did not want to take any more medication or food. After that Kunkhen left Lama Lhundrup’s room.
In the morning, Kunkhen again checked on Lama Lhundrup and after seeing his leg move, he went closer. Lama Lhundrup seemed a bit restless and started to move around. Kunkhen thought Lama Lhundrup might have been in some pain so he called Jo (Lama Lhundrup’s nurse). She came and thought to give him a small shot of morphine which they have never done before. Prior to this Lama Lhundrup had been careful to take the minimum amount of pain medication, in order to keep his mind clear for doing prayers and meditating. Rinpoche came to see Lama Lhundrup. Immediately Lama Lhundrup said in English, “I don’t exist.” Then there was a short Dharma conversation. Later Rinpoche explained that he thought Lama Lhundrup had been meditating strongly on emptiness and so the words he said probably were his experience in meditation. Rinpoche said, “Lama Lhundrup did not manifest any ‘ordinary’ signs near death. Rinpoche said good practitioners would not have any fear of death but see it as a path, something to travel through, something you pass through. You use the death experience. Death isn’t to be feared and you shouldn’t think it is a big thing.” As Rinpoche was leaving the room Lama Lhundrup kept repeating, with his hands in the mudra of prostration, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Later that morning Jo was called up to Rinpoche’s room. Rinpoche asked what was happening. Jo explained that Lama Lhundrup was refusing medication and food. Rinpoche sent a message to Lama Lhundrup saying, “Regardless of what you do: take medicine or not take medicine, take food or not take food; death will come regardless, so please accept the medicine and food and be relaxed.” As soon as Lama Lhundrup got this message he immediately accepted, took the food and medication and seemed to be much more relaxed.
That evening, September 7 (Tibetan 10), just after 11 p.m., while the whole monastery was doing Heruka Lama Chopa, dedicated to Lama Lhundrup, Sangpo and Geshe Jangchub went to Lama Lhundrup’s room to make a money offering from the puja. When they went in the room it appeared that Lama Lhundrup had passed away, as he was not breathing. They immediately left to let Rinpoche know. Straight away Kunkhen went in quietly. On closer investigation, and at that very moment, he saw Lama Lhundrup take his last breath.
Lama Lhundrup’s meditation finished on Friday, September 9, and the next day all of the Kopan monks and nuns were able to offer khatas to the holy body. After that the general public came to offer khatas.
On Sunday, September 11, several of the monks prepared the body for the cremation, and dressed the body in the deity’s dress.
For many days prior to Lama Lhundrup’s passing away all the Sangha of Kopan Monastery and Nunnery were doing many prayers, pujas and offering thousands of light offerings continuously. The Sangha did Yamantaka and Vajrayogini self initiation many times.
Immediately after Lama Lhundrup’s passing away, the prayers and pujas have been done continuously, all day and night.
The cremation was today, Monday September 12 at 3.30 p.m.
Now, 8 p.m., the cremation has just finished. The fire is still burning and there will be pujas going throughout the night.
Starting from tomorrow, according to Rinpoche’s advice, the Lama Gyupa monks and geshes will do Yamantaka self initiation every morning, the nuns will do Vajrayogini self initiation every day, and the main part of the monastery will do extensive Medicine Buddha puja. This will happen daily for the next 49 days with many other prayers as well.
Mandala has collected stories and reflections on Khensur Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup’s life and accomplishments here.