Rewiring the System

Surmung Dutsi

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on August 24, 2009

Surmang Foundation
improving the lives of 30 million rural poor one mother and child at a time

Yesterday, Rolpey Dorje Rinpoche VI passed away amidst the violence of an inundation in Yushu (Jiegu) that swept through Kham and brought the roof down on himself and his wife, killing them both.  The Rolpey Dorjes are one of the three tulkus (incarnate lamas) of Surmang Dutsi til, the others being Chetsang (Aten) Rinpoche and the Surmang Trungpas.

We’d known Rinpoche since he first appeared on the scene in ‘92, about the same time as the 12th Trungpa, Chokyi Senggey.  I was probably the first Westerner he’d met.  It didn’t seem to matter to him.

Moustacioed and over 6′ tall, he was an outside-the-box Rinpoche, a big playful bear of a man, reminding me of some long-lost pal from summer camp.  He was  recognized somewhat late in life by Tai Situpa in ‘91, during his visit to Palpung Monastery.  It was during this trip that Tai Situpa recognized Trungpa XII, Chokyi Senggey, and his choice of Karmapa 16 (Orgyen Tinley) along with over 200 tulkus.

I met with TSR in Beijing at the Minzu Hotel in Beijing (and Akong Rinpoche whom he had traveled with) right after and was told about the recognitions.

I personally liked Rolpey Dorje and found him to be warm, quirky, intuitive, uneducated —some lamas were taken aback by his quirkiness. Whenever I saw him, he would throw his enormous arms around me and wrestle me to the ground.  The only thing I could fight back with was tickling.

He certainly was a lama who was direct in expressing  his affection and his needs and Surmang Foundation did contribute to his welfare.

We need to pay special attention to his passing, draw our own conclusions, and generate the enlightened attitude for sake of his family, his colleagues and all beings who are affected by this inauspicious event.


Lee Weingrad

Dear Friends,

Here is a report from Dr. Dawn Factor, Director of Public Health, Surmang Foundation, VP amara: the china rural health alliance.

Today they brought Rinpoche’s body in a box from Yushu. Everyone was here, as I am sure you can imagine. I suspect 150 to 200 people came yesterday to view the procession and return of Rolpe Dorje Rinpoche’s body, the end of the long trip from Yushu/Jiegu to his seat at  Surmang Dutsi til Monastery. His body was borne upright in a box. The procession consisted of 30 or more motorbikes a few large trucks and 5 or so cars with dignitaries, and finally the car with the Rinpoche’s casket.

It was a huge procession and they brought him to the place I have formally met all the Rinpoches, above the Assembly hall. Many people came in to pay their respects, prostrating, offering khatas, to the pudong, the remains in the casket preserved  traditionally in salt. As you can imagine- everyone was here, the entire valley. After the traditional funeral scriptures were read, Aten Rinpoche came out and explained what they were going to do with his body. The decision was made to cremate him here – I believe in the next few days. His wife is not here; her body is being taken care of by her family.
His remains were then taken to the Mahakala Gongchang, a building where monks are in a sealed retreat and practice the protector
Today the ceremony continues as Buddhist scripture is read continuosly over his remains.

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