We have received the message below from Sogyal Rinpoche’s Private Office and, in response to your many enquiries, we are forwarding it to you here.
After the message, we have attempted to summarise the main events mentioned, with guidance as to how you can participate, should you wish. We appreciate very much all the efforts being made to provide these opportunities.
Dear Dharma Friends,
On behalf of Sogyal Rinpoche’s family, we would like to share our plans for the ceremonies that will be performed for Sogyal Rinpoche over the next few months, which will follow the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and have been recommended by a number of highly respected Lamas, including HH Sakya Gongma Trichen Rinpoche, Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoche and Soktse Rinpoche.
Sadly, unresolved controversies in Sogyal Rinpoche’s life have elicited strong feelings in many people. It is neither our wish nor intention to stifle opinion, nor do we wish to be insensitive or to offend anyone at all. But now that Rinpoche is deceased, we pray that, for the sake of his family, loved ones and close Dharma brothers and sisters, our plans to offer the traditional ceremonies and rituals will unfold peacefully and harmoniously. We simply ask, in all humility, for your respect and understanding at such a time.
Sogyal Rinpoche’s kudung will be taken firstly to the Buddhist temple of Wat Thong Nopakhun in Bangkok, Thailand, where it will be possible for family, close friends and devotees to be able to pay their respects and offer prayers. The temple is situated near to the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, and from 17th-22nd September will be open to visitors daily between 5am-10pm. Special practices will take place on Saturday, 21st September, to mark the 21st day since Sogyal Rinpoche arose from tukdam. Prayers will be requested from the local Thai and Chinese Mahayana temples, and a senior tulku and monks from the Chorten Gompa in Sikkim will perform Tibetan Buddhist practices.
The kudung will then be taken to Lerab Ling in France where a private ceremony will be held for Sogyal Rinpoche’s family and community of close students. We are especially thinking here of Sogyal Rinpoche’s mother, who is too elderly and infirm to travel outside of her home. The kudung will remain at Lerab Ling from 24th-29th September, before being taken to India.
In India, Sogyal Rinpoche’s kudung will be taken to Bodhgaya, the seat of Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment, and the most sacred site for Buddhists of all traditions. The kudung will remain there for approximately one month, from 1st-31st October, at the Shechen Gompa. Lamas and monks from the Shechen Monastery and other Dharma communities will be invited to perform various practices and rituals in its presence—including Shyitrö (The Hundred Peaceful and Wrathful Deities) and Minling Dorsem (Vajrasattva according to the Mindrolling lineage).
From 17th-25th October, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche and monks from the Chokling Monastery in India will lead a Minling Dorsem drupchen, the second day of which will mark the 49th day after Sogyal Rinpoche’s passing.
From Bodhgaya, the kudung will be taken to Chorten Gompa, Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoche’s monastery in Gangtok, Sikkim, where further practices will be performed by the Lamas and monks there throughout the month of November. This honours the close connection that Sogyal Rinpoche had with Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoche and his monastery, who performed numerous rituals and practices for both himself and his family.
Finally, the dungshyu (cremation ceremony) will take place on 2nd December at Tashiding, in west Sikkim. This most sacred site, one of the Eight Great Charnel Grounds, blessed by Guru Rinpoche, is where Sogyal Rinpoche’s master, Dorje Chang Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, was cremated and where the stupa containing his relics now stands. It was Sogyal Rinpoche’s express wish that he be cremated at this holy place, under the all-encompassing protection and blessing of Guru Padmasambhava and his beloved master.
A Dharma programme, including intensive practice, is currently being arranged in Gangtok for the week preceding the cremation, specifically for those who travel to Sikkim for the ceremonies.
This is an outline of our plans for the ceremonies that we are now putting into place. These arrangements are being made privately, in consultation with Sogyal Rinpoche’s family, and with logistical support from Lerab Ling and several monasteries in India and Sikkim. The events are private however it will be possible for students of Sogyal Rinpoche to join most of them. Please check sogyalrinpoche.org regularly for further information and updates.
We would like to express our deepest thanks and gratitude to the following masters who have so kindly supported us: Ajahn Sulak Sivaraksa for making the temple of Wat Thong Nopakhun in Bangkok available; Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche for offering his monastery at Bodhgaya, India; Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoche, for granting us one of the main lhakhangs in Chorten Gompa, Gangtok, to practise in, and for supporting us with arrangements in Sikkim; Khenpo Lha Tshering from Tashiding who granted us permission for the cremation ceremony; Tulku Rigdzin Pema Rinpoche and Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche for their advice concerning rituals and practice, and favourable astrological dates; and the Gyari family for their assistance in India, Nepal and Thailand. We are, of course, indebted to the Lerab Ling community in France for its continued spiritual support in these times of great sadness.
Sogyal Rinpoche’s Private Office
15 September 2019
How Rigpa students can participate in the ceremonies:
Every effort is being made so that the Rigpa sangha can connect with these events even if you can’t attend in person.
Please be aware that it will be compulsory to register for the ceremonies in Bodhgaya and Sikkim as there is limited space in the venues.
More information, including how to register, will follow as soon as plans are confirmed. For now, here is what is known:
17-22 September: Wat Thong Nopakhun in Bangkok, Thailand
It is possible to visit the kudung at the times indicated above.
If you are joining this event, please bring your vajra and bell and these practice texts (if you have them): Daily Sadhana Book, Rigdzin Düpa, Dukngal Rangdrol and Zangchö Monlam.
24 (15:00) – 29 (evening) September: Lerab Ling
This is a private event for family and close students. It is essential to register. Rigpa students can find more information and register here (you can join for one or two days or the whole period).
An additional email will be sent from Lerab Ling with more details about how to register.
1-31 October: Shechen Monastery Bodhgaya, India
1-30 November: Chorten Gonpa, Sikkim
2 December: Dungshyu (cremation) ceremony, Tashiding, Sikkim
Details of how you can participate will be shared soon on sogyalrinpoche.org.