Tashi Choling shares update on the Stupa project in honor of Gyatrul Rinpoche

- through Henry Oudin

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Image courtesy of Tashi Choling

The Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies in Ashland, Oregon, provided an update on its plans to build a memorial stupa or chorten for the revered Nyingma lama, Venerable Dhomang Gyatrul Rinpoche, who died in early 2023, at the age of 98. The progress report included welcome news on the success of the fundraising, as well as activities and planning related to the construction itself.

“We are very excited to announce that we have received US$124 in donations to date and have exceeded our first fundraising goal! said the Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies in a message shared with BDG. “It is heartwarming to witness the outpouring of dedication and gratitude from students and friends as you all expressed your generosity without hesitation. This is truly a cause for celebration and a great collective achievement. We look forward with gratitude to our anonymous matching grant sponsor. Fundraising will continue for this major project comprising several phases of construction and exterior ornamentation and interior dedication.

Gyatrul Rinpoche, one of the last great Nyingma masters of his generation, has died parinirvana in the early hours of April 8, 2023 at his home in Half Moon Bay, California, in the presence of family members and loved ones.*

The planned stupa must be a changchub chorten (the Tibetan term changchub refers to the concept of enlightenment or awakening), which will measure 9,8 meters high. Tashi Choling previously announced that a $100 matching grant had been pledged by a longtime student of Gyatrul Rinpoche for funds contributed to this effort, although that initial goal had already been exceeded.

“The site was selected on the grounds of Tashi Choling, exquisite custom copper ornaments were commissioned from highly skilled artisans in Nepal, and the local sangha crafted thousands of items. tsa tsas (Tib. small votive offerings), which will be used to fill the stupa,” noted Tashi Choling.

“More information will be shared as soon as we can. We work to meet county permitting requirements and determine the cost of constructing (an) access road to the chosen site, as well as creating an area to serve as a construction work platform . The necessary information sought for technical footings and foundations is expected soon. Once these details are taken care of and the winter weather is behind us, we will be ready to set the stage.

Tsa tsa offerings for the planned stupa. Image courtesy of Tashi Choling

Click here for more details on the stupa project

Gyatrul Rinpoche was born in 1924 in what is now Sichuan Province, China. He was recognized as a tulku at the age of seven by Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro and Tulku Natsok Rangrol, and trained at Payul Dhomang Monastery in eastern Tibet. He spent many years in solitary retirement before fleeing to India in 1959, where he lived for 12 years. Gyatrul Rinpoche then moved to the United States, where he was appointed as the spiritual representative of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche.

Rinpoche was instrumental in establishing many Nyingma centers across the United States, including Tashi Choling in Oregon, Orgyen Dorje Den in the San Francisco Bay Area, Norbu Ling in Texas, Namdroling in Montana and a center in Ensenada, Mexico. A prolific author, Gyatrul Rinpoche also shared a wealth of profound Vajrayana teachings in written form. His books include: Meditation, transformation and dream yoga (Shambhala Publications 2002); Generate Divinity (Snow Lion Publications 1992); and a comment on Natural Liberation: Padmasambhava's Teachings on the Six Bardos (Wisdom Publications 1998).

Fri. Dhomang Gyatrul Rinpoche. Taken from orgyendorjeden.org

In his introduction to the 1999 translation of Jamgon Kongtrul's seminal text The teacher-student relationshipGyatrul Rinpoche wrote:

All teachers must eventually leave this world, just like the Buddha himself. Yet the lineage we still receive, the legacy of their enlightened consciousness, is passed down from generation to generation through the teachings that remain. Since this is inevitable, what we must call a lineage in its physical absence is the blessing of its unbroken lineage of teachings. This is what we are supposed to pass on to our generations and those to come. If we were to depend solely on the physical presence of the teacher, then the lineages would have been lost long ago. The Buddha said: “I will reveal the path that leads to liberation. You must practice the path to achieve liberation.

* Announcement of the Parinirvana of the esteemed Lama Nyingma Dhomang Gyatrul Rinpoche (BDG)

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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