On June 4, 2023, after hearing that Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche had passed into parinirvana, H.H. Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche recorded a video message to be played back for Rinpoche. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of a translation of his words.
Lord of Refuge, Teacher, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, you have passed away. When you first fell ill and were going to the hospital, we spoke over the telephone. At that time, Rinpoche, you could not say more than just a few words. I was very worried. Your attendants asked me to do a divination, so I did all the mos and divinations that I knew how, but they all came out very badly—extremely badly, as I told your attendants.
It seemed there was only one option—there was nothing else to do. There were many prayers and practices to be done, and I told your attendants about all of them. They were incredibly conscientious and did all the prayers and practices. But nothing else helped.
It would not be right to say this was an obstacle for you. It must have been time for this deed, Rinpoche, and you must have passed away intentionally. In any case, you have passed away, and I am terribly sad. Thinking about what a great loss this is for Buddhism and the Kagyu lineage makes me tremendously sad.
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, you have really done great things on behalf of the teachings. You have fostered a large group of students. You have rebuilt your monasteries inside and outside of Tibet and also built new ones. You turned the Wheel of Dharma and planted the seed of the teachings in many countries around the world. Your accomplishments are tremendously great and very beneficial.
When I took monastic vows and full ordination from my root teacher Vajradhara, the Gyalwang Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, who is for me personally like an actual buddha, you were the main officiant in the ritual, as you know. Moreover, after you were given the title of Khenchen, you taught me all the great philosophical texts—the five great texts and all the other texts, including the tantras. In addition, you taught me the Ornament of Clear Realization twice. You are the guru and spiritual friend from whom I received all these teachings. You did me an extremely great kindness.
You have also told me quite a bit about your own affairs. You have trusted me, as all your attendants and entourage know. The senior monks from the Thrangu monasteries inside and outside of Tibet understand the reasons why. So now that you have passed away, I have a few things I would like to say to you with great sadness but with a pure motivation. Rinpoche, please keep them in mind.
The first is that in the monasteries you have built in Tibet and abroad as well as in your dharma centers abroad, you have good lamas and good khenpos. You have good tulkus. You have many sponsors. All of them are serving the teachings, so you should pray that they have no obstacles, so that they may be able to serve the teachings, and so that they can continue developing what is going well and improve on areas of weakness. There are probably still a few areas of weakness, although it doesn’t seem so looking from the outside. What you have built is incredibly large. You should make the prayer that everyone can serve it well. They will serve you. They are very good. They have pure intentions and great faith.
The second thing is that I would like to request that your reincarnation please come swiftly. The reason is that in terms of all three vehicles, the reincarnation of tulkus is extremely important for all individuals who practice the Vajrayana, for the eight practice lineages, for the ten great pillars upholding the lineage of explanation, and for the Buddhist teachings in their entirety. The lineage is important, and the reincarnation of a tulku is extremely important for upholding the lineage. But tulkus face a great many obstacles in upholding, preserving, and spreading the lineage. The reason why there are obstacles is clear. As Guru Rinpoche said, in degenerate times:
The times do not change; people change.
At such times, people have no merit or renown.
That is how it is. Likewise, in the present day, tulkus face many outer, inner, and secret obstacles. Please triumph in the struggle against all these obstacles and return. You know what the obstacles are. Some obstacles are occurring now, and some have been dealt with. There are some where people wonder what might happen in the future, as you know. There are many tulkus who are serving the teachings incredibly and are performing incomparable service on behalf of the teachings. They are very good in this positive respect. So please think of all of them and please triumph in the struggle against the obstacles and come back as your reincarnation.
Everyone from Thrangu Monastery inside and outside of Tibet, including Tulku Lodrö Nyima, has gathered. On June 4—a Sunday—Choje Lama Wangchuk informed me by telephone that Rinpoche had passed away. From then on, I have been reciting all the aspirations I know. I have asked Palpung Sherab Ling to recite the Marpa, Milarepa, and Gampopa guru yogas, and they have already begun the practices. And Rinpoche, they are also doing the same in all your monasteries and dharma centers. So please look on them all with your great compassion, and please come back well in your reincarnation.
You have entered the expanse of the great wisdom mind, dwelling within the great dharmakaya Vajradhara in thought-free luminous emptiness, thought-free bliss and emptiness as unified kaya and wisdom You have left your defiled body and dwell within the undefiled five kayas and five wisdoms. As you are resting within that, there is no need for me to offer you a reminder of tukdam meditation. But still I did offer it to you. I immediately made aspirations and am offering it. So today, on the afternoon of June 4, I am offering you this reminder. I will continue to make aspirations and prayers. Rinpoche, please come back well in your reincarnation, and return soon. Please triumph over any obstacles and return. Uphold the teachings of the Buddha, bring happiness to sentient beings, and come back for that purpose.
Very well. I have nothing else to say.
May there be the auspiciousness of the Teacher appearing in this world,
The teachings shining like the sun,
Disciples who uphold the teachings flourishing,
And the teachings remaining long.
Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, please bless us with the harmonious circumstances to accomplish this.
Yidams and deities of the mandalas, grant your blessings.
Dharma protectors and oceans of samaya bound, accomplish this! Be protectors for the disciples, lamas, monastics, and tulkus, so that none of them fall prey to obstacles and that they all may be able to continue the great service they currently provide the teachings. Please make it so this goes well.
Dharma protectors, make it so that all the students live long and healthy lives.
Three Jewels and Three Roots, please grant your blessings.
Very well. I have spoken the truth. I have made this prayer.