Today is the 7th anniversary of the death of Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche

Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche

Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche

Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche was born in Bhutan in 1918 and was one of the greatest masters of Tibetan Buddhism. As a boy he was ordained as a monk in Bhutan’s largest monastery in Phunaka Dzong. He trained with important teachers from all of the main Tibetan Buddhist schools, especially the Drukpa Kagyu and Karma Kagyu lineages. After meeting H.H. the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in Bhutan in 1944, Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche became his close student and received from him the transmission of the Karma Kagyu Lineage. Their relationship was such that the 16th Karmapa once said “If I am Buddha, Lopön Tsechu is my Ananda”

From his base in Kathmandu, Nepal, he was a key figure in nurturing the development of Buddhism in Nepal following the occupation of Tibet by China. A close friend and confidante of King Birendra of Nepal, he exerted a formidable influence throughout the diverse Buddhist community in Nepal and was respected both as a great lama and also a skilled politician.

Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche with 16th Karmapa and King Birendra of Nepal

Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche with 16th Karmapa and King Birendra of Nepal

Rinpoche became the first teacher of Hannah and Lama Ole Nydahl, and was a huge inspiration behind their work in establishing Diamond Way Buddhism in the West. At the invitation of Lama Ole Nydahl, Rinpoche first came to the West in 1988 to give teachings and transmissions to many students. Over the next 15 years Rinpoche touched thousands of people in Europe, Russia,  North and South America with his inconceivable compassion, wisdom and enlightened qualities.

In 1997 Rinpoche established the Buddha Dharma Centre, a monastery near the great Swayambhu Stupa in Kathmandu. Rinpoche built many Stupas, monuments symbolising the Enlightened mind of the Buddha, in both the East and the West. The crown jewel of his career and one of his greatest legacies is the Enlightenment Stupa in Benalmadena, Spain. Inaugurated in 2003, it stands at 33 metres tall, making it the largest Stupa in Europe.

He visited the UK to teach in our Diamond Way Buddhist centres on two occasions: in July 1996 he gave the initiation of Marpa in Cambridge and in June 2000 he gave the initiation of Diamond Mind in union (Tib. Dorje Sempa yab yum) in London.

Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche passed away on on June 10th, 2003. He was one of the last of his generation of Lamas trained in the old Tibet. Lama Ole Nydahl’s letter to his students sent on that day reads:

Lama Ole's letter

Lama Ole's letter

Dearest Diamond Way students and friends, all of you and everywhere.

As you will know already, a majestic oak has fallen in our forest. One of the last true spiritual giants just died.

At 07:14, Central European time, on 10th June ’03 Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche could take nothing more from his 85 years old body. An intimate helper and guide to our work, Hannah’s and my teacher for a full 36 years and a great inspiration to countless beings went to the Buddha-fields from the international hospital in Bangkok.

People’s lives are their most complete teachings and Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche shows us mind’s power, also through some most amazing figures. Here the conditions under which he accomplished his latest successes for the benefit of all: Already 4 years ago, when he first came to the hospital, his doctors found his heart to function at 20 percent. One needs 60 percent to live and they had no words. While he travelled the world to our centres and his activity only rose, brought skilfully into our world by his confidante Maggie, the percentage decreased to 12 and even blessing and will-power cannot explain what kept him here.

Lucidly aware even when too weak to speak or move, during short gusts of energy he still directed every detail of his projects and joined the great 16th Karmapa as a landmark of modern yogihood: Allowing nothing to stop his vision and accepting no hindrance to his purpose, he made us all victors and his partners in awakening beings’ finest potential.

May we bring him joy! As he gave everything in his way, let us do the same in ours. We will change none of our plans and should all meet whenever we can.

Practice well and celebrate Rinpoche’s great example!

Karma Guen, Spain. Yours Lama Ole Nydahl

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2 Responses to “Today is the 7th anniversary of the death of Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche”

  1. jacek says:

    I remember being in Karma Guen when the news of Rinpoche’s passing away came up…
    Amazing time, we all felt like his power field is all around us. Space was full of his blessing giving us confidence in our Lama’s work. I think he only stayed with us longer to make sure we’re ready to continue his work.
    My deepest respect to the great Mahasidha!


  2. akawisz says:


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