The revered master Gelug, Tibetan Buddhist scholar and meditator, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, perhaps best known for founding the International Buddhist Community Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), died in Nepal at 9:30 a.m. Thursday Morning. Close associates reported that Rinpoche had traveled to high altitudes in his native Nepal and was affected by the altitude.
The FPMT shared details in a public notice posted on its website earlier today:
Our precious guru sits in meditation at Kopan Monastery.
Rinpoche had been in the mountains of the Tsum Valley since Monday and needed to be urgently taken down as Rinpoche was suffering from altitude sickness.
Upon his return to Kathmandu this morning, Rinpoche stopped breathing. The senior doctor at Karuna Hospital tried for some time to revive Rinpoche, but it was not successful. Rinpoche went into meditation around 9:30 a.m. Nepal time today, Thursday, April 13.
His Holiness has been informed and is giving advice.
Gyupa lamas and monks take turns offering Cittamani Tara with Rinpoche, as advised by His Holiness. Other pujas and prayers are offered here in Kopan.
Khadro-la said this is a very important and precious moment for the students. Khadro-la went on to advise that the best thing for students to do at this time is to practice bodhicitta in particular, as well as impermanence in the context of lamrim, and also as much as possible to help fulfill the will of the guru. sacred vows.
Khadro-la insisted that we take this opportunity to try to achieve some or all of Lamrim in our own practice. Meditating and praying to the guru to receive his blessings and guidance is very important. And to try as much as possible to complete Rinpoche's plans and sacred wishes, so already to generate this wish that we can do it.
Please pray and dedicate that Rinpoche will be reborn as soon as possible in a place where he can be recognized very quickly and be most beneficial to sentient beings.
Please keep trying to fulfill Rinpoche's sacred wishes, especially to practice impermanence and bodhicitta in the context of lamrim. Fulfilling the sacred wishes of the gurus is a very important part of the guru's invitation to return.
As you know, Rinpoche was the embodiment of bodhicitta and always stressed the importance of remembering impermanence and the essential necessity of putting the teachings into practice. This is what we can do for our precious guru now – please try to follow Rinpoche's heart advice. We can all connect with the guru and receive the blessings of the guru in this way – NOW is a very important time for that.
We will send further updates regularly.
Our hearts are breaking, we draw all our support from Rinpoche's teachings and the guidance of His Holiness and our teachers, as well as our FPMT family.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born in the Everest region of Thangme, Nepal in 1945 and was recognized as the reincarnation of the Sherpa Nyingma yogi Kunsang Yeshe, the Lawudo Lama, at the age of three. At the age of 10, Lama Zopa Rinpoche traveled to Tibet, where he studied and meditated at Domo Geshe Rinpoche's monastery in southern Tibet. In 1959 Rinpoche was forced to seek refuge in Bhutan.
He then traveled as a refugee to West Bengal in India, where he first met Lama Yeshe, who was to become his closest teacher. The two lamas moved to Nepal in 1967, where they established the Kopan and Lawudo monasteries.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche founded FPMT in Nepal in 1975 with Lama Thubten Yeshe and began teaching Buddhism to Western students. In the years that followed, FPMT expanded worldwide, with Dharma centers, projects, and activities in 37 countries. Lama Zopa Rinpoche had been the spiritual director of the FPMT since Lama Yeshe passed away in 1984.
In a public post on social media, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, previously the senior Supreme Lama of the Republic of Kalmykia, shared:
My sincere condolences and deepest prayers to members of the FPMT international sangha and the global Buddhist community for the sudden loss of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Of course, we all know of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's dedication and hard work to spread the Dharma and benefit so many sentient beings locally and internationally. I have many good memories of our meetings and it was an honor to welcome him to Russia several times with the FPMT center in Moscow. His unconditional kindness, care, love and compassion will be missed by our world. May we all pray for a speedy return. Om mani padme hum
Besides actively working as an accomplished Dharma teacher and meditation master, Lama Zopa Rinpoche was a prolific author, with numerous books to his name, including: How to Enjoy Death: Preparing for Life's Final Challenge Without Fear (Wisdom Publications 2016); The Four Noble Truths: A Guide to Daily Living (Wisdom Publications 2018); And Bodhichitta: practice for a meaningful life (Wisdom Publications 2019).
Death can happen at any time, so turn your life into Dharma. — Lama Zopa Rinpoche