As scheduled, the day began with a ritual circumabulation of Svayambunath Stupa, which commenced at 7:00 a.m. on 23 May. The Precious Kudung was accompanied by a large number of Rinpoche's students from all over the world, as well as by local devotees and followers of all schools. The street was lined by many people with incence, flowers and kathags. Some spontaneoulsy offered melodious chants as the Kudung passed by. By approximately 8:30 a.m. the procession arrived back at the monastery when Rinpoche's Precious Kudung was immediately placed in the Purkhang.
[Photos by Karma Sherab Wangchuk of Benchen Monastery]
While the Kudung was en route, the four lamas who Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche had requested specifically to perform the fire rituals, Their Eminences Tsike Chokling Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tulku Damchoe Rinpoche and our Venerable Vajramaster Lama Tsultrim Rabten already sat on their respective thrones and had begun their individual rituals. As per tradition the fire had to be lit by a person who is both a fully ordained monk and has no spiritual connection with the late Rinpoche. Such a monk was found and after the fire was started, the four aforementioned Vajra-preceptors followed suit.
The rituals which were performed were as follows: our Benchen monks performed the burnt offering for Buddha Akshobya; H.E. Tulku Damcho and the Thrangu monastery lamas and monks performed Sarvavid Vairocana practice; H.E. Chokling Rinpoche and monks practised Buddha Amitabha from the Chokling Tersar; H.E. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche performed Tara practice, also from the Chokling Tersar. For the fire offering practice they used a special text edited by the 15th Karmapa Kakhyab Dorje, which carries very great blessings. Many other Tulkus, Rinpoches, Lamas and representatives of various monasteries and organisations came to pay their respects.
The last ritual ended at 2:00 p.m., after which the Purkhang was closed on all sides. In order to allow all residual heat to disspipate, the Purkhang will be kept closed and left undisturbed for one week. Due to Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche's blessing and inspiration all participants experienced a very harmonious and auspicious day. All the while the rituals were going on in the monastery's courtyard, several hundred monks, nuns and laypeople chanted the Guruyoga of H.H. the Karmapa composed by Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche and "Calling the Lama from Afar" inside the Maitreya shrine hall. Using this opportunity, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of our great masters for their indispensable guidance during this difficult time, and our supporters and students from around the world for all of their patience and help.
As many participants noticed, H.E. Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche was not present. Rinpoche had worked so hard during these days of the Oral Transmission of the 21 volumes of Prajnaparamita Sutras and teachings, which was very demanding and has caused him considerable health problems from which he has not yet recovered. Therefore he was unable to attend even though he wished very much to do so. Instead Rinpoche remained in Pharping and practiced there.