Date: 4/13/2010 10:18:51 PM
Subject: [CASonline] Special Notice: Kyabje Lati Rinpoche
Most Venerable Lati Rinpoche
( 1922 - 2010) ____________
Dearest Friends @ CAS,
With deep sorrow, we heard of Kyabje Lati Rinpoch's showing of the Great Passing. Lati Rinpoche is a deeply revered Teacher of so many students @ CAS. He is one of the seniormost elders of the Gelugpa Tradition and is, rightfully, the perfect encapsulation of the culmination of the teachings of the Buddha Himself and Lama Je Tsongkhapa.
We have followed Lati Rinpoche throughout the many years when He was hosted by different local Buddhist centres. While the organisers were then inexperienced, CAS has offered the complete sets of visa application forms, the cover letter, the programme synopsis amongst others: the posters / the websites and so on with clear instructions to the then organisers to paste and stick their society's letterhead and logo right over CAS's ... for the perfect submission to our formidable immigration !!
We had our meetings then in MacDonald's, seeping hot coffee and drief fries, whilst giving last minute instructions to please glue Rinpoche's passport size photo there, to staple this to that, to answer like this if asked that !!
Although poor, CAS dug out the equivalent of 3 air tickets' offerings to precious Rinpoche and His entourage.
This seems to have done us mountains of good and to have sealed our fate and sacred bond to precious Lati Rinpoche.
When Rinpoche's programme was desperate for translators, the timely Shaggy-la @ CAS launched right into the next 7 days' painstaking translating of the Lam Rim, Mind-Training and the sacred, blessed empowerment of Naro Kachodma.
Towards the end of His teaching, Rinpoche asked who our Teacher is. Naturally, we replied that we had just hosted the 100th Ganden Trisur and that we are technically Trisur Rinpoche's students.
In a great show of respect, an unmistakeable sign of Rinpoche's total collapse of self-centred ego, Rinpoche bent over His throne and touched our foreheads several times repeatedly and requested for long, white katags, which He offered personally to each one of CAS's beings. All the while, Lati Rinpoche repeatedly thanked CAS for all our work for the Dharma and for hosting Trisur Rinpoche, saying He rejoices so whole-heartedly at all our endeavours.
Rinpoche's splitting sincerity, innocence and such utter purity of heart subdued the wild beasts of CAS and these wild beasts remained, crouched, on their knees, in front of Rinpoche. If Rinpoche had given us nuclear isotopic beads, we, too, would have gladly hung them around our necks in complete trust and faith, together with the silk katags !!
Again, a few years later, perhaps 2003, while returning from Dharamsala, after having brought Trisur Rinpoche's medicine to Him when He was staying with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we were violently bumping in crazy buses, enduring a night of hair-raising horror, getting so close to being hurled down the treacherous cliffs of the Indian Himalayas.
Miraculously, indeed, sitting right in front of us, is Lati Rinpoche's main attendant, Geshe Sopon-la. Geshe-la recognised us immediately. He reached out his powerful, burly arms to re-assure us that even though some of us may have vomitted a few plastic packets worth of regurgitated tsampas and pizzas from Namgyal cafe, we are not going to die ( not yet though eventually ) because he is returning from offering EVERYTHING Lati Rinpoche had received during His teaching tour in Korea to His Holiness the Dalai Lama - at the insturctions of Lati Rinpoche Himself. This is what Geshe-la told us: Lati Rinpoche offered all His offerings to His Holiness because He needs nothing else. As a monk of Lord Buddha, Lati Rinpoche needs just His three robes and the Dharma. Every offering He receives, He re-offered to His Holiness so that His own students would gain the inconceivable merit of offering to Chenrezig. His Holiness, too, is one of His main Teachers. Therefore, Lati Rinpoche is teaching through setting a personal example for His students to learn and emulate.
Suddenly, we felt safer and happier. If the bus drops off the next cliff, Geshe-la drops with us. Then, where is the protection from Palden Lhamo ?? Such things simply cannot happn !! To add to our new found happiness, Geshe-la added that we would be stopping mid-way between the 14 hour bus ride cum roller coaster for supper soon. Geshe-la said we are all vajra disciples of Lati Rinpoche and Lati Rinpoche would see to it that we will touch Delhi when the sun rises. The long awaited stop came sooner than expected, and we gulped down the original, authentic Indian tea of the Himalayas plus many pieces of Indian pratas dipped in blissful curry. They tasted definitely unlike anything in the world: they had been paid for by Lati Rinpoche's small stipend to His attendant; they had been blessed by our Lama, the Vajrayogini, the Chakrasamvara, who is waiting for all of us in New Delhi, keeping us in His holy mind and prayers.
I am tearing up as I am typing this.
This is the second time we met Lati Rinpoche - by pure chance, luck and blessings !!
The first time was in 2000, when we met Lati Rinpoche staying in the building nestled directly across His Holiness's official residence in Dharamsala. Rinpoche, was then, as it is now, and we believe, always, the sacred portrait of saintliness. He was staying a mere few doors away from Kyabje Rizong Rinpoche, then the Jangtse Choje, and now, the 102nd Ganden Tripa. Lati Rinpoche expressed His great happiness to see us, accepted us into His noble heart and accepted our offerings, solely that we shall gain well-being and happiness in this life and the next. Lati Rinpoche never thinks for Himself. His sole love and concern are for others and the Dharma alone. His existence is dedicated completely for others. This is a noble being, so rare and precious that the world has seen so little of and this is the noble Teacher upon whose lotus feet the fortunate disciples worship with their crowns.
Somehow, in our little heads, we know this must surely be what the late Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche ( Lati Rinpoche's Root Teacher ) was like: holiness, simplicity, purity, grace, pure compassion, absolute humility, learning, wisdom, transcendence.
One night, bb @ CAS dreamt of a massive hall filled with uncountable beings, queuing up to see and be touched by a holy monk on a throne at the end of the gargantuan room. This monk is dressed in the three robes of a monk, is cleanly shaven, smiling so beatifically, showers upon showers upon showers of golden dust-like flowers fell from the high heavens in humble worship of Him and these magical flowers fell also upon all these fortunate disciples, massing and milling around Him. He smiled, so deeply compassionate and loving. Unstintingly, unhesitatingly, with infinite, unceasing love and compassion, He dispensed everything, whatever is needed to every, single creature who crept, hopped, stalked, swaggled or even crawled to Him. This man, on His holy throne, IS precious Lati Rinpoche.
Lati Rinpoche was filmed in a documentary folding His palms and saying that He is loyal to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and that He does not rely on the bad ghoul, shugden. We have no doubts.
Lati Rinpochehe is such a venerable and saintly figure that even the shugdenites ( the more credible and scrupulous ones ) love and respect Him and follow Him to the letter. The bizarre twist is that they stop at obeying His instructions to stop doing shugden and seeing shugden as the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha incarnate. For them, maybe, Rinpoche could be something of an enigma ( just like the Dalai Lama ?? ): a tragic villian, the wronged Teacher, the victimised hero, a prodigal student ??
During our interview with Rinpoche in Singapore, we asked Rinpoche why, He, as the seniormost Abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastery, failed to get His monks to stop doing shugden. Ganden Shartse was then one of the last remaining bastions of shugdenites, fiercely opposing the Dalai Lama. ( These shugdenites have since 2009 left to set up their own sad version of Ganden Shartse ... with a upsetted, reversed name of Shar Ganden ).
Rinpoche, with discernible pain, told us that there is nothing He could do and nothing He had not done to get His disciples to obey His Holiness's instructions. "I taught them, they do not listen to me; I scolded them, they do not listen to me; I beat them and they still do not listen to me. They do not listen to me, their own teacher."
Rinpoche's final act on earth is to circumambulate His Holiness's personal monastery's temple. Before He passed away, He told His main attendant ( Geshe Sopon-la ) that He will like to "pass away now". He sat straight up in meditation and, true to His declaration, simply passed away. He stays now in "thukdam" or meditation, warmth still in His holy body, 3 days after clinical death, just our Root Teacher, the 100th Ganden Trisur, and the late 16th Karmapa.
CAS's Root Teacher, the 100th Ganden Trisur once asked if He could re-schedule one of His major programmes in 2000, so that He could accept an invitation from a local Buddhist centre. He had been invited by the Karmapa's centre and so many other established centres and it would not do to side-step an invitation, if it is from His "old spiritual friend", Kyabje Lati Rinpoche. When Trisur Rinpoche was the Great Abbot of the Dalai Lama's personal monastery, Lati Rinpoche was one of the senior teachers there. The Elders had fond memories of and deep regard for each other.
This, then, is a small collection of CAS's reminisciences of yet one old warrior of old Tibet, walking while teaching the way of the Buddha's imparting of the Truth of Impermanence.
May the precious Teachers stay, return and teach. Always.
bb & every breathing creature @ CAS, in total homage to completely honourable and noble Lati Rinpoche
As attached, bb @ CAS's interview with Lati Rinpoche [Click here to view / download document]
The report on Lati Rinpoche's passing:
THE YOU TUBE on Lati Rinpoche