On Saturday September 17th 2022, as announced by the New Kadampa Tradition office, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche passed very peacefully into the clear light.
(Just a reminder — these articles share my own or friends’ personal opinions on things, NOT the official views of the New Kadampa Tradition. So do look out for articles about Venerable Geshe-la’s legacy arriving on the official Kadampa website, starting with … A quiet, humble monk who changed our world.)
I asked a friend yesterday how she felt, and she replied “I don’t know yet.” Exactly. But as the hours and days pass, more meaning is emerging for all of us, it seems. So I keep adding to this article …
This is my heart
In the 2009 Summer Festival teachings, Geshe-la said:
“Now from today our summer holiday finished, we enjoyed very much our Summer Festival 2009, wonderful, but please keep in your heart the intention to enjoy the summer festival 2010, 2011, 2013, until 2099! This is my wish and why I wish is because it gives you immense meaning in this life and future lives and it is wonderful spiritual holiday.
Whoever teaches doesn’t matter, I’m teaching Buddhadharma, my disciples, other teachers, are the same, giving my teaching. It’s the same.
The power of the teaching, the function of the teaching, is the same. The blessing is the same. You should enjoy now the teachers who are talking your own language.
So now nothing to say much. Although I myself have physically retired, my mind will always be with you. And with this organization called the International Kadampa Buddhist Union ~ NKT.
This is my heart.
I will never separate from this organization in this life, future life.
So this is my heart — even though my self has retired, my mind will always will be here, there, everywhere.
Also I have the intention to meet you from time to time if I am physically strong enough, I can visit you, it is very possible. It doesn’t matter anyway — we have many qualified spiritual teachers, managers, community, such Bodhisattva community we have, peaceful. So I do not worry because they can carry this special development, organization okay. So now it is time to say bye bye, so bye bye, thank you.”
Death, where is thy sting?
Venerable Geshe-la told his disciples that even once he has passed away, “I am always with you”; and I do feel that. As he has taught us many times, we are not our bodies:
“I always remain with you. Dying is just this physical body; in reality this [touching body] doesn’t belong to me. This body belongs to my parents, it gets sick, it dies, it suffers; it is not me. I have deep knowledge of this. My body that I always see does not exist; I have deep knowledge of this. So even if this body dies I will not. I am always with you.”
In the clear light, Geshe-la never lived nor died, and nor do we. From an appearance point of view, what is clear to me at the moment is how much he lives on in us. And we have each other. He is going nowhere.
‘”Even if I am with you, from your side you should never forget me. If you keep the connection then it will work very well, I promise.”
Up a mystic notch
I’ve been sensing that all his disciples might collectively go up a mystic notch because we now have to relate to Venerable Geshe-la as he actually is. It might get a bit cosmic.
As a close disciple and friend just put it: “Yes, I agree completely. As long as there is an Emanation Body to email for prayers or to send a question to it is easy to still see our Guru as ordinary. But when there is only the Dharmakaya Guru present, we have no choice but to turn inwards in a mystical manner.”
And another of Geshe-la’s first disciples just said: “I’ve been thinking somewhat similarly. We are no longer encumbered by the conventional. Let’s all go up a mystic notch.”
Venerable Geshe-la was never trapped in that body to begin with. As another friend put it upon first hearing the news:
“My initial feeling is that he is now just pervading everywhere, which I always felt he was, but is now even less associated with a body, so feels even more omnipresent.”
A friend just wrote this to me:
“The mantra recitation last night felt like home to me. And the prayers that I had not sung for so long needed no explanation. Straight to the heart. My winds have not been blessed like that since I was in his presence.
He was definitely there, yet even more powerfully so. An empowerment requires some imagination. Last night required none. It was a pure meeting with the Guru.”
Geshe-la has been skillfully preparing us for this for years — refusing invitations to teach or appear in public so that we could develop the confidence, based on experience, that we can still connect with him even when his body would one day be totally absent.
These kinds of experiences are showing me something. We may not always have felt it, but we have always had equal access to our Spiritual Guide. His same and unchanging love for all of us is perhaps easier to feel now that we are not imputing him on his body and location. We don’t need intermediaries. There are no hierarchical restrictions — we all have our own Spiritual Guide. If we connect with him and talk to him directly, he can talk straight back, unmediated. He will also still pray for us or our family when we ask him to.
Even more profoundly, now I think we can get a deeper sense of what it means to be the Guru Deity or Guru Buddha, We do not become “like” our Spiritual Guide — we become our Spiritual Guide. This is because our Spiritual Guide’s actual nature has always been enlightenment, reality, the Dharmakaya; and we mix and become one with this. We can be a lamp from which his light shines brightly. (More about all that here.)
The lineage lives
I am also personally inspired by remembering how Ven Geshe-la always relied upon his own Spiritual Guide, Venerable Trijang Dorjechang (1901-1981). What joy and inspiration he continued to receive after his Guru passed away, and how much he accomplished in all these years by relying on him — the entire New Kadampa Tradition, for example! He would smile and say, “He is always in front of me,” and “He is my life.” We can be like this too.
In Modern Buddhism and The Oral Instructions of the Mahamudra, Venerable Geshe-la has taught us how he himself has maintained his connection with his Spiritual Guide, particularly through the practice of relying upon Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka. If we do this practice, we will never be separated from our own Spiritual Guide, Je Tsongkhapa, Buddha Shakyamuni, or Buddha Heruka; and will come to see them as the same enlightened being showing different aspects.
“For example, for me Lama Tsongkhapa is working very well, Trijang Rinpoche is working very well. This means that Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka is working very well. I explained this in Modern Buddhism, practically, through my own experience. If we have this connection from our side, then it works. It doesn’t matter if my body dies, is burnt and becomes ashes.”
It is said that thousands of Je Tsongkhapa’s disciples gained enlightenment. I am going to hazard a guess that a lot of them, maybe most?, attained enlightenment after he had passed away. So we can too.
Venerable Geshe-la died with no fanfare — he never made anything about him. If he had waited a few days I was thinking he could have died on an auspicious day (Sept 22), or he could have died dramatically during a Festival; but instead of hogging any limelight he slipped away about as unobtrusively as it is possible to do so, and when a lot of people were already in a state of surreal mourning for the Queen.
And, in another act of spiritual genius, he left the request that the Centers offer a two-day retreat once he passed, focusing on a practice that has been allowing his disciples to realize for themselves that he has not actually gone anywhere.
Someone was just saying to me, in a poignant but not unhappy way, that there was nothing left for her now in this life. I know what she meant and I asked in return, what is a precious human life when your Spiritual Guide has left his body? Clearly, we agreed, this life is even more invaluable than ever because we need to carry the flame. We also have everything we need now, thanks to him, to attain enlightenment. Yet naturally I find myself looking ahead to my next life when I shall meet my Spiritual Guide in person again: “May I be the very first in your retinue.”
But, as people are beginning to report, he really hasn’t gone anywhere. As it says in a beautiful post today on the official New Kadampa Tradition Facebook page, “many times Venerable Geshe-la told how he visits all Kadampa Centers with his mind every day.” That hasn’t stopped. Not just the Centers; he hasn’t left any of us.
“You may say that Geshe-la has died, but in reality I have not died. I will be in every Dharma centre every day; I will be looking everywhere. OK! I am not lying; this is the truth.”
As that close disciple quote above also said: “This tradition is going to start flourishing naturally, easily, effortlessly. Geshe-la is still here.”
He lives on in every one of us. And we still have each other.
By the way, there is obviously no right or wrong way to process this significant event — and, in case you’re feeling under pressure, there is no obligation to feel okay 😄 Of course people are feeling very sad; and I recall that line from the book Heart Jewel, how, when Je Tsongkhapa first passed away, the whole country was overwhelmed with sorrow at the loss of their precious Spiritual Guide.
Venerable Geshe-la’s reliquary
From what friends of friends have heard (so forgive and correct me if any details are wrong), Venerable Geshe-la told the people with him that he thought it was time to die. He then sat in meditation, withdrawing into the clear light for 4 days. As he passed away, he had a “very joyful delighted expression”.
He didn’t want any fuss to be made, so he had a private cremation and wanted his ashes simply thrown into the ocean.
Personally, I rather love this. His name means “ocean of good fortune” and unlike, say, a stupa, which is a more traditional Tibetan reliquary, the ocean can be reached everywhere.
Venerable Geshe-la and the New Kadampa Tradition
Until my death and after my death I will never forget this organization. Please cherish it, with harmony and an open mind. Don’t let it degenerate. I will always be with you. I’ll never forget you. I’ll never forget the NKT.
~ Last words of Venerable Geshe-la at Manjushri KMC, Summer Festival teachings 2009
There are different ways of understanding and perceiving the New Kadampa Tradition – like everything else, it depends on the mind.
A senior monk was saying to me yesterday (Oct 17) that he sees a tradition – the books, study programs, centers (both within and without their 4 walls), worldwide Sangha, etc – as a pipeline through which a lineage flows. Traditions come and go, but the Buddhist lineage has flown down from the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, and even long before.
Now that Venerable Geshe-la’s emanation body has disappeared, what remains? It seems harder to hold onto a dualism in which Venerable Geshe-la appears over here and the tradition appears over there, as it were. Enlightened beings can emanate as animate or inanimate objects, so, as well as emanating in individual hearts and minds, for me his words indicate that he is emanating as or pervading this tradition. (Always has been). We are no longer reciting long-life prayers for him, but when I come across mentions in other prayers for our Spiritual Guide’s emanations to remain for a very long time, such as in Offering to the Spiritual Guide, I find myself praying for this emanation in particular. Through this pipeline, may the Kadam Dharma lineage of Guru Tsongkhapa flow throughout the world, to all corners of society, bringing freedom and happiness to people’s minds. May many powerful Kadampas appear everywhere to help this happen, including you.
Your thoughts, as always, are much welcomed. There are some really helpful comments already, if you scroll down.
Some further reading:
Thank you Luna
I remember at the 2009 Summer festival the number of people attending was especially high and marquees, separate from the temple were put up to accommodate, I was in one of them. In Geshe-la’s introduction one of the first things he said was directed at those people who were not in the temple, he said the empowerments, teachings and blessings function in exactly the same way, no different! I found that really kind and reassuring because everyone liked to get a glimpse of Geshe-la even from a distance. That sentiment has always stayed with me, more so now since his passing – we don’t need to see or be near his physical body to connect with him. In fact, as others have said, I feel much closer to him now and I think for the first time I am beginning to realise what relying on your spiritual guide actually means – it has been my practice for the last week, it’s all I want to do.
Also, tonight, at the anniversary party, there were two Nepalese practitioners from Boston that Kadam pointed out (not in front of everyone) who came because they wanted to show their respects. They also screened an excerpt from a film about Geshla. It was interesting to see old pictures from Geshla’s life from Tibet and in the early days in England, probably around the same time you were there. I don’t think we knew he wrote Meaningful to Behold in the 70s and Clear Light of Bliss in 1981!!!
I heard they drove 6 hours both ways to pay their respects. VG was much beloved by many Tibetans, considered a very holy Lama and a a great Protector of the Kadampa tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa and Ven Trijang Dorjechang.
Just wanted to say, you really have poured your heart out during these pandemic years conjoining dharma with contemporary events. You’ve always encouraged everyone to recall memorable interactions to overcome grief.
I listened to Anderson Cooper’s new podcast ‘All There Is’ last night. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about it. I’m feeling a lot of compassion and gratitude as a dharma disciple these past few days. Anderson has never gotten over how to grieve over losing his family while he is striving to build his new family without any remaining family.
We’re so fortunate that you created this forum for celebrating Colin, Gen Tharpa, Geshla and your mother Sally.
To answer your other question …
I think VG did keep some communication with them, though perhaps not in recent years. They adore him because he stood up for the practice of Dorje Shugden and allowed them all to return to a monastery.
After the retreat, I had this thought: I have never felt more hopeful. Thank you, L, for all your words, they have been so helpful.
Thank you for your insights L. I am curious if anyone or Geshe-la mentioned anything about his rebirth. Other traditions seem to assume a spiritual teacher is reborn in this human realm to continue teaching. Is it appropriate to believe this about Geshe-la or should we just assume he has returned to the Dhammakaya or a pure land? Many years ago I had a dream of a future time in this world where his face was on a poster advertising him teaching. I’ve also had images appear in meditation of a little boy surrounded by light that would one day be a great architect building temples in the future. I interpreted that to be Geshe la in the future though I have no wisdom to know for sure. I guess they help me believe in the continuance of him and all he embodied so maybe they appeared to help me…just curious how we should relate to this…it is interesting how he asked us to do the retreat days …it is unlike any other death we have experienced…not one where we do powa and pray for their fortunate rebirth. That is one thing that has struck me about his passing. He is not an ordinary being.
Following the sad announcement of the parinirvana of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, the community of Kechara Forest Retreat and visiting sangha from Shar Gaden, Serpom, Phelgyeling and Segyu monasteries offered a Lama Chopa puja and many candle offerings dedicated for Ven. Geshe-la’s swift return. The ceremonies were led by His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende, the abbot emeritus of Shar Gaden.
Having established the New Kadampa Tradition, Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso was the spiritual father to tens of thousands around the world. A true Kadampa master, Geshe-la dedicated his entire life to upholding the pure traditions of Je Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugden, and his contribution to the lineage was unparalleled in recent times — something that our founder H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche recognised and held a deep and profound respect for.
We offer our deepest condolences to Ven. Geshe-la’s students and friends all around the world. May our prayers and offerings contribute towards creating the causes for the swift return of this grand master and holy being. 🙏
Some responses to a question Kadampa Ryan asked on Facebook, “What is your favorite Geshe-la story?”
The story he told when he was on retreat and it had been snowing his helper Brought him wood for the fire and all the others around on retreat looked at geshla place and said he must have a really great tomo practice no snow on his roof !! He laughed and said no the fire in the room was going well lol 😂
When he said he cried thinking of his guru’s kindness 🙏
🙏🏻❤️ The story Geshela told about visiting with his root guru, Trijang Rinpoche, and seeing Heruka at his heart. I also love the stories of Geshela’s work as a healer in Tibet.
I like the story of Geshe la on the very crowded train with his nephew in India. His nephew dropped a dharma text and was stressed as the people were walking all over it. Geshe la said to him not to worry, it was creating good karma for them to come so close to dharma! Geshe la’s teachings were all about transforming your life and I love this.
When he worked out the incarnation of his mother ❤️💕
The one where he’d visited another world over night and the beings were like humans but taller.
I was below his room at Manjushri and could see the top of his head moving around in the room. Another practitioner and I started to whisper really loudly “Geshe-La…Geshe-la, Geshe-la!!!”
He came to the window, opened it and waved to us.
The story he told himself during the Brazil festival in 2010 about seeing white Heruka in the chest of his own Spiritual Guide, Trijang Rinpoche.
The story when he was going down stair super happy and somebody ask him ‘ why are you so happy’ … i have full of problem, great condition to practice patience’ because they were building Manjushri and they have a lot of obstacle! 🤗🌈❤
Before Temples Geshe la’ was teaching on death meditation. In a big Marque right through . A thunder and lightning storm people were jumping with fright. The tent was flapping But for Geshe la’ it did not exist. He carried on regardless .
Yes, I remember I wanted to listen to it. Hear the thunder see forks of lightning. Hear the wild wanton rain. Revel in the awesome atmosphere of it all. I was becoming really distracted. Geshe la just kept going as if nothing was happening.. I remember him having to shout over the storm a few times to get heard. He was shouting words like refuge renunciation lol trying to get through to us.. Lol 😂 🌩
When he talked about the Sufi Master he met who had read Clear Light of Bliss 16 times.
The story about the old man who saw him teach and afterward asked him what can he do because he’s to old and will die soon and Geshe-la said not to worry if you remember me when you die I will help you. I’m not sure if that’s the exact words but the main point was to remember him at your death and he will be there.
Too many stories of geshe la to pick a favourite. The first teaching of his I could hardly understand a word he said. The only 2 words I got were stop grasping. Of course what he actually said was self grasping. Having never heard the expression at that point I know the words I did hear were meant for me. On subsequent teaching I heard all his words really clearly. By than I was becoming more ready to receive his divine blessings. On that same day I visited him in his room. I asked him what it was like to be enlightened. He chuckled and told me he wasn’t going to tell be but I would know. I look forward to that day. Or there was the time in the corridor at manjushri. I was asking him about an attachment I was holding dear to my heart lol and I believed somehow it would take me to the pure land. He laughed at me. Oh how he laughed. There he was in his belly doubled over in hysterics 😂 I’m now finally beginning to deal with that one now he’s moved over I see him in every blade of grass tree wall building even that untidy corner of my room he is everywhere 🌍🌎🌏🌐💛💛💛💛💛💛🙏🙏🙏🙏Xxxx
I believe when asked about his life story, he said Oral Instructions of Mahamudra is it. 😊
A story my teacher once told me went something like this. A layperson was outside on one of the temple grounds and on the phone with someone and was getting very upset, suddenly he felt a wave of love/good energy wash over him and his anger/unpleasant feelings were completely gone. The man turned around and Geshela was standing a little in the distance waving at him and smiling.
The story of his life. 💙
The temples and festivals he created are his best story to me
Actually it’s one of your stories of you actually about to pass Geshe la alone somewhere at Manjushri, and your expectations of the moment being his faithful disciple and all, and his just blowing his nose and walking right by you….if I have the story right.
Does he have a biography to be published, with prayers, teachings and stories included? That would be lovely.
I was in the play that summer. That morning in the dress rehearsal, we were told that ven. Geshe-la may not be coming as he’s sick. Right before showtime, we’re told to make way for his car to make a turn. We’re so happy that he’s coming and in those few seconds, he waved to all of us inside the car, having a bright smile on his face. He didn’t look like someone who’s sick at all.
Geshle coming to the west to teach us is the greatest story of all time ❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️ Thank you Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche.
Arriving tired after running a barber shop and and a caricaturist after hours, to the Summer festival fund we were on security . Being woken up every 4 hours to patrol the Grounds. For this teaching I was on the front row three yards from Geshela. Not only did I fall asleep but must have been snoring. I was woken by the laughing by Geshela and his student’s. I’m so glad he has a sense of humour.
At Germany Festival I left to bathroom several minutes before the beginning session. While walking back I just left something and looked around for animals or others walking around. This was my first time seeing Geshela. Then I waited to cross the road as a small Red Ford vehicle passed in front of me. Geshela was in the back seat. Such a powerful feeling ❤️
40 years of kindness does it for me, and being privileged to meet him and his teachings in Portugal, when I read my notes I hear his voice as if he were sitting in the same room…….
I originally read a couple of Gehe-La’s books by accident a few years ago. I wasn’t a Kadampa Buddhist, but I wanted to learn from every school of Buddhism so I randomly bought one of his books having no idea who he was. I read Eight steps to Happiness first, and I liked the book so much that I read How to solve our human problems. Then I read Modern Buddhism. At that point I began to be very interested in who this Masterful Teacher was and I found a New Kadampa Center not far from me. So I started attending their Dharma Talks. Gesha-La’s teachings will endure. He was an extraordinary teacher with an unbelievably profound understanding of what he taught. They say ‘When the student is ready the Teacher will appear’ and it’s true. Of all the other teachers I have studied Geshe-La’s teachings had the biggest impact on me. In the Lotus Sutra the Buddha makes it clear that he ‘appears to go to Nirvana’ because if he doesn’t his followers will become apathetic believing he will be around forever and they will slack on their practice (paraphrasing), and I feel that this is what Geshe-La did. He transmigrated into Nirvana just as I was beginning to see him as a Mentor to shock the system and raise my practice to a higher level. I know that sounds egoic, but that’s the way I feel.
I can relate to what you say. I also admired Geshe la for the way he never drew attention to himself. Almost becoming an elusive figure in the latter part of his life. Always deflecting it to the lineage gurus or the dharma books. In that way he always poured cold water on our attachment for him. How kind he was😍
All the monks of Shar Gaden Monastery are deeply saddened and shocked at the huge loss of our great master the Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche la.
We are offering our heartfelt and deepest condolences to all his students along with prayers and wishes that his reincarnation may quickly return and continue the spread of Dharma in this world again.
I am not sad – I feel Geshe-la’s presence more deeply than ever before. And the urge to do better. I feel even more responsible to do as he wished for dharma to flourish and be a better presence for ourselves and others. Every dharma thought, every dharma breath we take has come from/through him. We’ve just used up our current collective karma to have him in this external world as we know it but Geshe-la has always been in our world, our inner world and will ever be so. As kadampas we should feel secure, we have the teachings, we have the teachers , we have the centres – we will always have Geshe-la, always our holy and precious Guru, always our kindly and incredible monk. He helped us develop our rock of faith – we’ll be just fine. ( wonderful to read all the postings and comments , making us feel so connnected at this time, thank you Luna )
There have been some wonderful responses on various forums from Geshe-la’s students, finding ways to meaningfully process this singular moment in our spiritual lives. I responded to one thread on HYT asking for suggestions about how to get through this, and LunaKadampa was kind enough to invite me to repost some of them here. If I can figure out how to do that maybe I’ll try to repost the relevant parts of the thread as comments here. Hope it helps!
Kelsang Parchin asked…
“What are the stages of grief of a Kadampa when they hear their Guru has left his physical body in this world?
I suppose it depends where we are at to start with when we hear the news.
As a beginner, I have been experiencing many emotions, from the initial shock, to gratitude, to compassion, then to overwhelm. Many tears. Self doubt; what should I do right now? Feeling like I need someone to talk to, some guidance to steady me. Thinking I should put one foot in front of the other.
This is just in the first two hours. I have prayed, and I need to eat, and clean the place, and pray some more…
What is your experience? I hope others in this position are doing okay. I’m posting this to reach out to others who may be feeling overwhelmed as well.
I can offer support to anyone who needs it, I’m here till 7pm UK time on Messenger.”
“Geshe-la said once in a teaching at summer festival ‘it’s ok to cry a little bit’. He said he would cry sometimes thinking about his own Guru. We feel what we feel. It’s also true that Geshe-la is very much right here, right now. I think his instructions to engage in this retreat are a wonderful gift to us. In that stillness he will reassure you that he is right here, right now. You’ll feel it in your heart. It’s something extremely special that Geshe-la wants to give you right now. And then yes, we share the determination to honor Geshe-la at our hearts by becoming a mirror to his wisdom and kindness. For your family…be someone with Geshe-la at their heart. In your workplace…be someone with Geshe-la at their heart. And then the more we do that, the more we open a door to the living presence of Geshe-la in our hearts. And the more we do it, the more we’ll realise – he’s right here, with us, for the rest of our lives and beyond.”
Kelsang Parchin replied:
“Robert Collinson this is so beautiful! And yes I’ve been feeling that these retreat sessions are a gift to us from Geshe-la too”
Hilary Jordan replied:
“Robert Collinson I love how you express all of this. This is how my heart and mind have been mulling things over too, but I haven’t found the words yet. I’m sad! Everything is shifting. But then, it’s always shifting, and Geshe-La is the same pure light and wisdom he’s always been for us. Very inspiring. And still, I’m sad.”
“It’s OK to be sad. The idea of any kind of separation from your Guru should be unbearable. But real separation from your Guru means you forget him, abandon him, or abandon what he taught you. So this is not real separation. I feel sad too, but I know it’s all going to be fine. I had a dream once, about three years ago, that Geshe-la was still teaching everyday at Manjushri centre, in a golden garden of light that was like a hidden “top floor” above the building. I could see and hear Geshe-la teaching. He was radiant and youthful and delighted. I was desperate to get into the garden but couldn’t quite manage it. Even so, I woke up from that dream suddenly, startled, at 4am, and started crying, because I knew it wasnt a dream, I knew it was real. Even then, Geshe-la was, of course, already still teaching…in a hidden place just out of reach to my ignorant mind! I woke up absolutely clear of one thing…I have to get into that garden where Geshe-la is sitting teaching, right now. I told Geshe-la about my dream and his assistant read my email to him. She told me it was very auspicious and that Geshe-la really enjoyed listening to it. I felt that was Geshe-la confirming to me that it really wasn’t a dream. Geshe-la hasn’t gone anywhere. We need to learn to make our hearts really really settled, really really still, full of continuously flowing and abiding faith, and I think we might just be able to step into that magical place. We’ll be crying again when we see our Guru. It’s ok to feel all these emotions!”
“Would you mind putting any of your incredibly beautiful comments on the article on Kadampa Life so others can see them too?”
Thank you 💚
I missed one reply to Kelsang Parchin !
I’m glad it helped. I think it’s really helpful for us all to share whatever blessings we are receiving that are carrying us through this moment in a good way. I’ve loved reading what others have been thinking. For me this is more of a poignant moment than a purely sad one. Geshe-ls is still teaching us with his passing into clear light. I feel like he’s asking me “who do you think I really am?” “I can’t be this body, because look – it’s gone now! So who am I?” So then it pushes me to become more nuanced about how I understand Geshe-la. LunaKadampa has some great observations on this right now. Geshe-la is guiding us all, en masse, to go a little deeper. The results might be quite special!
HOMAGE TO A HOLY SPIRITUAL GUIDE
Ready captain of generosity and eye of virtue (Gewa’i),
Supreme sun taking the form of a holy Spiritual Guide (Shenyen)
Contender who performed a thousand good fortunes (Kelsang)
It is sad that you, named “Ocean” (Gyatso), have passed behind the Western mountains.
With this thoroughly respectful greeting, the great Spiritual Guide Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, having completed his life, practitioners are urged to practice many special dharma practices. Having shown the appearance of temporarily dissolving into dharmadhatu, according to ordinary appearance, with immeasurable sadness, we make respectful prayers. We also humbly rejoice that you, venerable father guru, and the spiritual heirs to whom you kindly gave pure teachings, have spread the tradition of Conqueror Losang (Je Tsongkhapa) with unimaginable love for us childish beings, and we hope that all your profound wishes will be completed.
Although we will never able to repay your kindness at all, to earn great merits and to commemorate your great deeds, at Segyu Ganden Podrang in Nepal we are dedicating all offering prayers, especially today on 25th lunar calendar, the Vajra Yogini day, we took self-initiation with clouds of tsog offerings and thousands of butter lamps offerings, and we will continue further prayers to all your profound wishes fulfilled.
བཅས་མཆོད་པ་བརྗོད་པ་སྔོན་བསུས་ཏེ་ཡོངས་ཀྱི་དགེ་བའི་བཤེས་གཉེན་ཆེན་པོ་དགེ་བཤེས་སྐལ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ་མཆོག་སྐུ་ཚེ་མཛད་པ་མཐར་ཕྱིན་ནས་གདུལ་རྟག་འཛིན་ཅན་རྣམས་ཆོས་ལ་བསྐུལ་བ་སོགས་དགོས་པ་ཁྱད་པར་ཅན་དུ་མར་དམིགས་ནས་རེ་ཞིག་དགོངས་པ་ཆོས་དབྱིངས་སུ་ཐིམ་ཚུལ་སྟོན་པར་བློ་ཕལ་ཚད་མེད་ཀྱི་མྱ་ངན་གུས་འདུད་ཞུ་རྒྱུ་དང་། བློ་བཟང་རྒྱལ་བའི་རིང་ལུགས་ཡབ་རྗེ་བླ་མ་ཡབ་སྲས་ཀྱི་སྲེད་སླད་བྲལ་བའི་བསྟན་པར་སྐུ་དྲིན་མཛད་པ་མཐའ་དག་བདག་ལྟ་བུ་བྱིས་པའི་བློ་ཡུལ་ལས་འདས་པའི་མཛས་རྗེས་བསྐྱངས་པ་རྣམས་ལ་གུས་སྤྲོ་རྗེས་སུ་ཡིད་རང་དང་མགོན་པོ་གང་ཉིད་ཀྱི་ཐུགས་དགོངས་ཟབ་མོ་རྣམས་ཡོས་རྫོགས་པའི་སྨོན་འདུན་ཞུ།། གུས་འབངས་རྣམས་ལ་དྲིན་གྱིས་བསྐྱངས་པའི་སྐུ་དྲིན་གཞལ་བར་དབེན་ཀྱང་སྐུ་དྲིན་རྗེས་དྲན་མཚོན་ཙམ་དུ་ཉེར་ལྔའི་དུས་ཆེན་དུ་མཆོད་སྤྲིན་ཚོགས་འཁོར་ཟབ་འབུལ་དང་མར་མེ་སྟོང་ཚར་སོགས་མཆོད་འབུལ་གང་ནུས་ཞུ་རྒྱུ་དང་ཞལ་སློབ་རྣམས་ལའང་གདུང་སེམས་མཉམ་བསྐྱེད་ཞུ་བ་བཅས་བལ་སྲད་རྒྱུད་དགའ་ལྡན་ཕོ་བྲང་ནས་ཕྱི་ལོ་ཟླ་ཚེས་བཟང་པོར།།
We at Nyishar Choepel Ling Monastery are saddened at hearing the news of the passing of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
The impact that Geshe la had on the lives of countless others is difficult to measure. His legacy will live on through the incredible Dharma teachings that he passed on. These profound teachings will continue to inspire and guide Dharma practitioners well into the future.
With much respect and gratitude to Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, we bow our heads in prayer.
My oldest schoolfriend sent this to me last night and it really has touched me, not least because I didn’t realize he had been paying this much attention over the years to my Buddhism, lol, but also because it seems spot on.
Dear L, it took my breath away to read that Geshe Kelsang has died. I know that in these circumstances it is not quite the same as a simple bereavement as he had transcended a lot of what makes us mortal; however I know how much history you personally have had with him over the years so my thoughts are with you.
I shall never forget the day that I was privileged to meet Geshe-La at the Madhyamaka Centre. That one encounter made me aware that there are levels to human potential of which I had (have) no idea.
It’s poignant that the news of his passing came on the day we were all listening to the church service for Queen Elizabeth, particularly as you had posted that beautiful story about Geshe-La’s own insight into her. Archbishop Welby was remarkable in his address; the words “death where is thy sting” were spoken with such utter conviction.
I am certain that Geshe-La’s physical demise has freed him to continue his work of compassion, and that even now he is tearing around, delivering gifts with no time to lose.
I agree with what ‘clutker, old disciple and LL’ are feeling as well. Geshla is pervading space and unbound by karmic restraints of this life now. He has been preparing the Genlas and RT for years for things to be in place.
Though we expected he would pass some day, the gentle mention of his passing into clear light was so appropriate and infused with gratitude. The retreat sessions feel special and grounded in the reality that he wants for us.
Up a mystic notch — that’s a wonderful thought. I think he will be blessing us like crazy so all goes in the right direction and the tradition gets stronger. He did say things would flourish more after he passed.
Yes, the presence of his physical body did tie my mind down a bit, preventing me from fully seeing the Guru as like space. And also making a difference between the Teacher and the Teaching
I feel his presence even more deeply, he is everywhere, not limited by a fleshly body. It is easier to see him as Dharmakaya. Thank you, Luna.
In my first prayers after finding out of his passing I felt for the first time he is actually Avalokiteshvara in front of me.
It was so powerful for me. Instead of someone at Manjushri Centre emanating in Sukhavati, he was with me in front in Sukhavati.
It took him having to die for me to understand he really is the Deity.
Very comforting. Deep thanks.
I feel sad but your post is super helpful. Thanks for always saying the most helpful things!
I have been thinking about you Luna many times today and sending love. You and others who had the karma to be physically close to him at the beginning and helped him create this worldwide tradition, through incredibly hard work. This will go very deep and it’s important that we all remember we are held by Geshe La and our Sangha friends at this time.
His was the ultimate ‘life well lived,’ and he unlocked our potential to experience the same. Many millions of people will never know what it’s like to be loved unconditionally, what a beautiful gift he gave us all in that, so much love.
Everything you say here is spot on as always, I think you’re right, I think we’re about to be supercharged in our practice ❤️
I keep thinking that all we have ever known is being a practitioner with a living founder.
Now we are no longer that practitioner. Also, anyone who comes to our tradition now comes to the time after the founder has passed.
Then it occurred to me that Geshe-la has been telling about this moment for 30 years.
Everything he has done. Especially making the books!
Then making the IR/constitutions and systems of management.
And finally making a Sangha is Geshe-la living on through these things.
It is our job now to maintain and promote these things. Love to you all 🧡
M said we were all prepared. But I don’t feel prepared, I thought he would remain in our world for a long time. 😞
I can’t decide if this is a terrible thing for the world, to lose such a force for good, a Holy being of such magnitude it tipped the balance. Or a blessing as now Geshela is really everywhere, even more than he was.
I’ve often thought, when someone passes, part of their energy is forever mixed with those who love them. At a quantum level. Even many non spiritual people say how they feel deeply touched by death in an almost ‘spiritual’ way. And I think that’s why. Some people here with the queen’s death are saying they feel somehow closer to her and a peacefulness they can’t explain.
Imagine if we become conscious of this, tap into it. His energy, filling the world and all worlds. Touching our hearts, surrounding us, talking to us. Then we will all carry and be connected even more to him.
Beautifully inspiring , thankyou 💗
thank you for connecting with what you wrote. yes, no words, sort of, but fondest memories are flooding, and strength and faith is flowing newly again. merci! xo
With the passing of H.M. The Queen, she herself a dedicated friend to the world, a light went out in London, and around the world. I feel certain she is in the enlightened realm.
With the passing of Venerable Geshe-La into the clear light, his presence in our world will be deeper and more profound than ever. The more we stay tuned in to pure dharma, striving to be a friend to each and every one, the more his presence will be felt. For Geshe-La to remain as our closest friend and helper is up to us. Feeling profoundly grateful and blessed.
Thank you for sharing our guru’s wisdom and words at this pivotal time for us; a time when letting go & allowing the blessings to bathe us in wisdom is so essential. ❤️🙏🏼❤️
Thank you as always for giving us inspiration and now at a time we must have our deepest faith in Geshela’s promise. Portugal 2013 was my first Dharma festival and as I sat to hear Geshela teach for the first time I wept and I knew my true path had only just begun. Thank you for continuing to carry his light and love to us. We love you.
He is always with us, whenever we think of him and especially when we apply his precious teachings. What an incredible miracle
That is very comforting to know. I never met Geshe-le but just know he is always with me. Sending love to you in your time of loss after such a deep connection over so many years 💕
Thank you for sharing this quote from Venerable Geshe-La. I need to remember this, keep my Guru at my heart and put Buddha’s teachings into practice NOW. We never know when we are about to leave this life and we only have now to give our future self the best chance to attain enlightenment.
Can you always see the sun and the moon? Better question: Do you know they are always there? Our spiritual guide will always be exactly where we need him to be. Our fearless leader.
This is perfect Tim! Thank you!
It is “beyond words, thoughts and expressions”. Thank you Luna. <3
Thank you. It says all we need to remember.
Its difficult to comment on a connection that is so profoundly & deeply routed in our heart of hearts. It will be nice to meet actual Geshe la one day though 🙂
In my first prayers after finding out of his passing I felt for the first time he is actually Avalokiteshvara in front of me.
It was so powerful for me. Instead of someone at Manjushri emanating in Sukhavati, he was with me in front in Sukhavati.
It took him having to die for me to understand he really is the Deity.
Being together with Sangha all over the world during this time has been so meaningful.
I feel so grateful and so fortunate to have met Geshe-la almost 20 years ago.
I first met him in Toronto almost 20 years ago receiving the HYT empowerment. At the time, I was married and had our two young children, three and four years old with us. One session the babysitter could not watch them, so I took them for a walk towards the venue where Geshe-la was teaching. To my amazement, Geshe-la was walking towards us. He stopped and gave us a blessing, and I cannot describe what I felt!!!
I felt so fortunate to have finally found my Spiritual Guide.
I was a person who had a fear of flying but I traveled all over the world to Festivals and was also at his last public teaching in Portugal. Someone told me later on that I was sitting next to his nephew.
Whenever I had a situation or problem, I would make a cup of tea for Geshe-la and myself And talk to him at my shrine. My faith continued to increase as he always answered my prayers very quickly.
In 2017, I became ordained thanks to his kindness.
Now, it is my job to become like him, being a good example, having humility and encouraging others.
Thanks to Geshe-la, my life has meaning.