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Penor Rinpoche’s 49th Day Ceremony
Ornamental container holding the bodily remains (kudung) of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, placed on a gilded throne at Namdroling Monastery.

Ornamental container holding the bodily remains (kudung) of His Holiness, placed on a gilded throne at Namdroling Monastery.

President Reoch is currently visiting Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppee, southern India to attend the 49th Day Ceremony for His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. Penor Rinpoche passed away on March 27, entering into samadhi for eight days before his parinirvana on April 3.

By President Richard Reoch

His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, who has played such a singular role in the life of Shambhala, entered samadhi on 27 March this year.

The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche and Khandro Tseyang were able to pay their respects to him just before he passed away, when they went to make a body, speech and mind offering to him at his monastery in South India right after the Rinchen Terdzo.

Continuous prayers have been said for His Holiness at Namdroling Monastery and its sister institution, Tsogyal Shedrup Nunnery, ever since. Both the Sakyong and Khandro-la were in close contact with the tulkus throughout. As the final day of the rituals for the 49 Day Ceremony approached, the Sakyong and Khandro-la asked me to represent them and Shambhala for the occasion since they would be in retreat at Kalapa Valley at that time.

His Holiness' bodily remains, known as the kudung, were preserved in the traditional way with salt and then sealed into a large ornamental container, resembling a small palace with a gilded roof. It was carried in an elaborate procession into the Golden Temple, on the shoulders of senior attendants, led by the tulkus.

His Holiness' bodily remains, known as the kudung, were preserved in the traditional way with salt and then sealed into a large ornamental container, resembling a small palace with a gilded roof. It was carried in an elaborate procession into the Golden Temple, on the shoulders of senior attendants, led by the tulkus.

The atmosphere at Namdroling was charged with the energy emanating from His Holiness’s being and from the continuous practice environment. The ceremony was led by five lamas seated in thrones facing the shrine: His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, who succeeds His Holiness Penor Rinpoche as the 12th holder of the Palyul Lineage; His Eminence Gyangkhang Tulku Rinpoche; His Eminence Mugsang Kuchen Rinpoche; His Eminence Minling Khenchen Rinpoche (who presides over the Shredra at Mindrolling Monastery), and Ringo Tulku (Head of the Palyul Nyingma Monastery in Bir, north India).

His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, who succeeds His Holiness Penor Rinpoche as the 12th holder of the Palyul Lineage; His Eminence Gyangkhang Tulku Rinpoche; His Eminence Mugsang Kuchen Rinpoche; His Eminence Minling Khenchen Rinpoche (who presides over the Shredra at Mindrolling Monastery), and Ringo Tulku (Head of the Palyul Nyingma Monastery in Bir, north India).

Several thousand tulkus, khenpos, monks, nuns and lay practitioners filled the Golden Temple at Namdroling Monastery in southern India for the 49th Day Ceremony for His Holiness Penor Rinpoche.

Shambhala has had such a close relationship with His Holiness, that there is a deep sense of family. That has been strengthened all the more because of the very close friendship between His Holiness and the Ripa family, and their monastery in nearby Orissa. Three senior monastics from the Ripa monastery, Rigon Thupten Mindrolling, travelled to Namdroling to be there on behalf of His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche, the Ripa family and their sangha. We joined together to make a collective offering on behalf of our two lineages and communities.

I was able to present a formal condolence letter, drawing attention to the special relationship of His Holiness with the Sakyong and Shambhala:

“His Holiness was a profound and abiding teacher and friend to the Sakyong, whom he recognized as the rebirth of Mipham the Great and enthroned as the Sakyong of Shambhala. His kindness to Shambhala was like a great river, culminating in the final great ceremony of his lifetime, the empowerment of Semo Tseyang of the Ripa family as the Sakyong Wangmo of Shambhala.”

His Holiness’ bodily remains, the kudung, will remain preserved in salt, sealed in a beautifully ornamented container for a year. It will rest in the the Pema O Potrang (the Lotus Radiance Palace) at Namdroling, on the first floor. This level of the four-floor temple is known as the Tulku Podrang, devoted to Padmasambhava. Visitors and practitioners will be able to pay their respects throughout the year, at the end of which the monastery will decide among various options that include cremation or preservation in a stupa.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has composed a prayer for the swift rebirth of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, saying that he had written it “with the utmost devotion for Acharya Padmasambhava, the compassionate guru”. The prayer was chanted in the temple along with other prayers for his swift rebirth written by His Eminence Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.

A 60-foot-high rupa of Padmasambhava is one of three huge gold statues that gaze down over the assembly of practitioners in the Golden Temple.

A 60-foot-high rupa of Padmasambhava is one of three huge gold statues that gaze down over the assembly of practitioners in the Golden Temple.

Although I had to sit towards the front of the ceremonies as a formal representative, I managed to take a few photos, which I am sending in today. I will edit some video footage I took into a short film and try to post it in the next few days for anyone who wants to get a feel for this remarkable event.

Watch video of the 49th Day Ceremony featuring the Prayer for Penor Rinpoche’s Swift Rebirth.

Read a related article, “Penor Rinpoche’s ‘Asking to Remain’ Ceremony” by Tom Bell, recounting his visit to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in the final hours of his life in order to conduct an offering by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on behalf of the Shambhala community.

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1 response to “ Penor Rinpoche’s 49th Day Ceremony ”
  1. Thanks for the article. I’d like to share this album http://www.flickr.com/photos/palyulian/sets/72157619227446369/ with you & all devotees of H.H. Penor Rinpoche. May H.H. swiftly return in sake of all sentient beings. rgds, ziggy


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