On November 4, 2023, one of the four holiest days in the Buddhist calendar—the anniversary of the Buddha, flanked by Brahma and Indra, descending a staircase made of precious vaidurya from the Heaven of the Thirty-Three to the town of Sankissa in India—the precious remains of our root guru Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche were cremated in Namo Buddha Nepal. Rinpoche, who was the tutor of the Gyalwang Karmapa, had passed into parinirvana on June 4, 2023, the full moon day of the Vaisakha month and the anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana.
The ceremonies began at eight in the morning, when His Eminence Drung Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Jangtse Choje Gosok Rinpoche of the Gelukpa lineage, the forty-third Sakya Trizin Gyana Vajra Rinpoche, and the head of the Nyingma lineage Rabjam Rinpoche along with Zurmang Ghawang Rinpoche and Chamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche’s representative Gyalton Rinpoche, all bearing fragrant incense, escorted Rinpoche’s remains in a procession led by banners, pendants, flags, cymbals, drums, and gyalings. A crowd of over four thousand people including tulkus and representatives of various monasteries, local officials, the monks and nuns of the Thrangu Monasteries in Tibet and abroad, and students of Rinpoche’s from all corners of the earth, everyone recalling Rinpoche’s deeds with fervent devotion, watched as the procession wended its way to the cremation stupa at the center of a Chakrasamvara mandala built specially for this occasion.
To the four sides of the stupa were great lamas from the Sakya, Geluk, Nyingma, and Kagyu traditions; Druppon Dechen Rinpoche, the representative of Rumtek Monastery; Gyaltsen Sonam, the representative of the Tsurphu Ladrang; Dolpo Shri Rinpoche; Gyalpo Rinpoche; Sudan Kirati, the Nepali Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation; and Venerable Sonam Lama, the Ecclesiastical Minister of Sikkim, as well as tulkus, representatives, teachers, and monks and nuns from many monasteries and many faithful members of the public. The sanghas in the four directions conducted the mandala rituals and fire offering pujas of Chakrasamvara in the east, Minling Vajrasattva in the south, Hevajra in the west, and Akshobhya in the north to perform the cremation rites, with inexhaustible clouds of offerings being given from all directions. Thus were the aspirations of our kind root guru fulfilled in their entirety. Now we pray with one-pointed faith that the reincarnation of our refuge and protector may swiftly return.