The Passing of Venerable Tenga Rinpoche
The Venerable Tenga Rinpoche passed away in the early hours of this morning at his monastery Benchen Phuntsok Dargyeling in Swayambhu, Nepal. He was eighty years of age.
Tenga Rinpoche had a very long and important association with our Shambhala community. As the Dorje Loppon of Rumtek Monastery for nearly a decade, he served H.H. XVI Gyalwang Karmapa very closely, accompanying him on his first tour to North America and Europe in 1974. Tenga Rinpoche’s root guru was the 9th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, the elder brother of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and so he was very much part of our extended family of lineage gurus.
At the personal request of the Vidyadhara, Tenga Rinpoche came to Boulder in 1985 for two months to give detailed teachings on the Chakrasamvara practice to the Nalanda Translation Committee, as well as advising them on the refinement of their translations. His instruction became the heart of our Chakrasamvara Sadhana Practice Manual. Tenga Rinpoche also built the three-dimensional mandala palace of Chakrasamvara in Boulder. The Translation Committee continued to visit with Tenga Rinpoche periodically over succeeding years.
After the parinirvana of the Vidyadhara in 1987, as directed by H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche became the principle advisor and chief architect for the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambhala Mountain Center and came to consecrate the ground for the stupa in 1991.
Also in 1991, at the suggestion of H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and the request of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche returned to Boulder and Halifax to give detailed instructions on the six dharmas of Naropa practices. This included instructions on the principal trulkhor (yogic postures) which he insisted on demonstrating himself, despite his advanced age, which typified his tireless and continual extension of kindness and warmth to everyone, without exception, with no regard for body and life.
He conferred the Chakrasamvara abhisheka in Boulder and performed a complete Chakrasamvara drupchen (“great practice”) in preparation for conferring the Chakrasamvara abhisheka in Halifax. During that time, he instructed us how to create the sand mandala. He returned again in 1998 to provide more instruction on the six dharmas. Tenga Rinpoche also bestowed the Vajrayogini abhisheka for our community at Dechen Choling.
Over many years, we have continued to consult with and benefit greatly from Tenga Rinpoche’s profound learning and realization. His compassionate care for these ancient and special vajrayana practices of the Kagyu lineage have caused them to flourish among the many devoted students in the West. We will miss him dearly.
For a complete description of his passing, please visit: www.benchen.org
For his complete biography, click here.
View a slideshow of his life: