Sad News

The passing of Lama Shenpen's main teacher

Khenpo Rinpoche in prayer

Dear Sangha members,
This is to inform you of the sad news that our beloved Guru Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche passed away on 22nd June and remains in tukdam ……the death samadhi ,  where even though the body has died, the heart remains warm until the samadhi comes to an end. This phenomena is a sign of a great yogin practitioner and can sometimes last for weeks…….incomprehensible to western medical science.   Rigdzin Shikpo Rinpoche often spoke of what a powerful time this is for the gurus disciples because the strong mandala connection , samaya bond, that we all share is particularly tangible and evident, so is important to keep linking into that as much as possible over the coming days and weeks.  I am already feeling the adhistana he is radiating forth to all beings and especially to those close to him and who have faith in him and his teachings.

His Holiness 17th Karmapa, Urgyen Thinley Rinpoche will be directing proceedings which I am sure have been planned and been ready to go for a long time already , given Rinpoche's state of health.   

His Holiness has told us to keep singing Rinpoche's yogic songs and reciting guru yoga practices that he taught us, especially a short one that Dashon has recorded for us below.  It is good for us all to recite the Samantabhadracharya Pranidhana either on our own or together.  This unites our heart and mind to that of all the great bodhisattvas who make these great pranidhanas again and again in order to generate all of the necessary conditions for the Dharma to manifest in all the worlds throughout time and space for the benefit of all beings.  

By uniting with this the greatest of pranidhanas we link into Khenpo Rinpoches deepest heart wish, his bodhichitta and the punya and adhistana of that will mean we will always meet him again and again though all our future lifetimes as we work together forever bringing all beings to complete and perfect Awakening.

Those of us who have been introduced to Rinpoche's Sadhana of Mahāmudrā have been encouraged by His Holiness to practise that.  It would also be good to practise sadhanas i've taught in the sangha or any other sadhanas or practices that we feel particularly connected to. In essence all Dharma practices are the same and are good to do at this time in order to strengthen our connection to Rinpoche and to augment the power of his adhistana for the benefit of all beings.

He used to chant and encouraged us to chant the verse that we end our sessions with ‘chang chub semnyi rinpoche etc,’ . So if you haven't much time to do any special practises you could simply remember that verse and keep chanting it to yourself thinking you are uniting your heart and mind to Rinpoche's as you do it.

There is no end of ways to use this special time to strengthen our practice. Of course a good way would be join us at our sessions at the Hermitage each day. All these things I am suggesting are good for when I die and for anyone who dies in fact.  It's the way we engage in the practices and the pranidhanas we make that is important.  So we are well on board for this year's theme of pranidhas and preparing for death.

You may be wondering how I am feeling about this passing of my main guru who means everything to me. Actually after such a very long illness  it doesn't come as a shock. I can only feel gratitude and look forward to meeting him again in all my future lives. I feel the spiritual connection so strongly there is no question of death parting us or making any difference. It feels the same with Rigdzin Shikpo and all my other gurus.  It's quite wonderful to feel that in fact! So let's just keep on singing yogic songs and rejoicing in the truth of the dharma.

May all be auspicious!

Much love


You are invited to join us for all or any of our daily practice:

7 am - Morning Puja   (liturgy) - Zoom Link

9 am - Shakyamuni Sadhana (liturgy) - Zoom Link

10.15 am - Mahamudra Pranidhana  (liturgy) - Zoom Link

12.45 pm - Apramanas - Zoom Link

5pm - Samantabhadracharya Pranidhana  (liturgy) - Zoom Link

7.30 pm - Evening Puja -(liturgy)  Zoom Link

8.35pm - Mahāmudrā Sadhana (for those with the transmission, the link will be sent to you separately)

At the end of each session we will also sing KTGR Guru Yoga:

All appearances are appearance-emptiness, the enlightened form of the guru.
All sounds resound as sound and emptiness, the supreme speech of the guru.
All thoughts and memories are clarity-emptiness, the guru’s supreme
enlightened mind.
You are from stopping and creating free—guru, please think of me.
Guru of equality, please think of me.

Spoken by Dechen Rangdrol, San Diego, California,
December 22, 2003. Translated by Ari Goldfield. 

Click here for the tune sung by Lama Dashon

KTGR at the Hermitage
KTGR with Lama Shenpen

Khenpo Rinpoche at the Hermitage












Lama Shenpen (front right) with Khenpo Rinpoche