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Venerable Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's health, passing away and after  
 
  Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche
  
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche
Click to enlarge image (Photo:
courtesy Wolfgang Saumweber)
 

Mid July 2006, venerable Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche was diagnosed with liver cancer in an Israeli hospital and passed away on December 16, 2006.

Below is a collection of emails we received so far with updates on his health situation and what happened after his passing away. Advice for practice is printed in bold red letters. (Voula Zarpani is Rinpoche's translator, Michael Mueller is Rinpoche's occasional assistant.)

You can find a brief biography on our Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche page.


Click for latest news on:
2006

July 14
; July 16; July 17 (FPMT); July 17; July 19; July 23; July29;
August 5
, August 6, August 8, August 9,
August 9 - second opinion New York cancer specialist

August 14 - medical report New Delhi hospital
,
August 16 - Dr. Yeshe Donden examination
,
August 19 - message from Rinpoche
,
August 24 - summary of of current situation
August 27 - Rinpoche's meditation
August 27 - Update from Voula
September 21 - Update from Voula and Michael
September 25 - Update from Voula
September 28 - About practice at the time of death, from Voula
September 30 - Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche
October 4 - Message from Voula
October 8 - Tsog offerings for Rinpoche, from Claire Isitt
October 8 - An auspicious dream, from Voula
October 10 - A commentary on the King of Prayers
October 18 - Message from Voula
23 October 2006 - Evening, from Voula
25 October 2006 - Protectors, from Voula
29 October 2006 - From Voula
3 November 2006 - New groth detected in the throat, from Voula.
Note: at Rinpoche's request, references to his visions were removed
3 December 2006 - Limited news, from Voula
16 December 2006 - Rinpoche's passing away
19 December 2006 - some practical info
20 December 2006 - Cremation details, from Voula
2007
January 3, 2007 - Cremation, from Voula
January 13, 2007 - Prayer for the Quick Return of the Reincarnation of Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche, from Voula
Note: above prayer is now also available in Polish, Portuguese, Spanish (another Spanish translation here) and in Vietnamese.
February 17, 2007 - a revised version of Rinpoche's Guru-yoga prayer.
March 13, 2007 - Update on Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche’s relic stupa and finances
March 17, 2007 - Prayer for the quick return in Italian
May 5, 2007 - Building of the relic stupa has started
October 12, 2007 - Progress on the stupa and commemorating Rinpoche's passing away
December 13, 2007 - See this Web page by Vajrapani Institute
2008
February 26, 2008 - Photos of the stupa nearing completion.
2009
January 13, 2009 - Consecration of Rinpoche's stupa
January 21, 2009 - foto of completed stupa
June 5, 2009 - Consecration of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's stupa on Saka Dawa
June 18, 2009 - Foto's of completing the stupa & blessing puja

Collecting practices that have been done for Rinpoche

Rinpoche has requested that practices done for him are collected and added to his biography, so if you have done any number of mantras, pujas, tsatsa's, liberating animals or prayers for his health etc., please let me know in a short   To reduce the number of emails, perhaps it is possible for Dharma centers to collect numbers from their members and send them in one email?

Practice totals per February 17, 2007: 1,970,309 liberated animals, from insects and small fish to cats. In the 8 days after Lama Zopa Rinpoche requested his students to perform tsog for Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, they collected more then an amazing 121,000 tsog offerings! Some other practices: 1629 King of Prayers, 236 Medicine Buddha practices, nearly 600,000 Medicine Buddha mantras, over 48,000 long Vajrasattva mantras, 30,800 short Vajrasattva mantras, 16,250 long-life prayers, nearly 450,000 Tara mantras, 24 all-night Tara practices, over 1 million Mani-mantras, 600,000 Kalachakra mantras, 100,000 Yamantaka action mantras, 20,000 Yamantaka essence mantras, 200,000 Hayagriva mantras, 730 Yamantaka pujas, 31 Nyung Nes, and many more. Rejoice!


Foto's of completing the stupa and blessing puja, June 18, 2009

Michael Mueller kindly put some photo series of the stupa at Picasaweb. Click below links to see the images.

Stupa Construction

Puja Before Filling the Stupa

First Day of Filling the Stupa

Small Statue Inside the Stupa

Final Finishing Touch


Consecration of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's stupa on Saka Dawa, June 5, 2009

Dear all,

I have just talked with Alak-la and he told me that last night he received a phone call from Dharamsala informing him that the monks have begun filling Rinpoche’s relic stupa with powdered incense. The filling and prayers will take a few days to complete and it is expected that the consecration will be completed by Sunday 7th June coinciding with the full moon of Sakadawa. Once the stupa is consecrated it will be placed in Rinpoche’s room. All students and the general public are invited in Kirti Monastery on Sakadawa, to participate in the prayer and tea offering, mang-ja, that will be offered.

Kindly pass the message around.

Many thanks and best wishes,
Voula


        Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's stupa - click to see the large version

Photo of completed stupa, January 21, 2009

Dear Friends,

Here is the latest photo of the completed stupa. As they say one picture equals a thousand words! What you see here is the result of many months of hard work of many students around the world, generous offerings, hundreds of emails, phone calls, meetings, doubts, sleepless nights, agonising moments, and immeasurable patience and skillful guidance on behalf of Alak Rinpoche.

It is what I call a moment of "click and rejoice"! Please pass it around to those in your mail list, or put it up in your website. Unfortunately I am on dial up connection at present and it is not possible to send the photo to everyone in my list.

Thanks again and enjoy!

xx voula


Consecration of Rinpoche's stupa, January 13, 2009

Dear all,

 Venerable Alak Tsangla, attendant to the late Venerable Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche, would like to invite to you to Dharamsala for the arrival and consecration of the Relic Stupa of Rinpoche.

 After two years of sourcing precious materials and crafting the stupa, we are very happy to announce the completion of this project. All students, sponsors, benefactors and the general public are invited to attend the consecration of the Relic Stupa that will take place in Kirti Monastery, Dharamsala. The exact date and time of consecration of the Relic Stupa has not been finalized yet, and will be given in due course.

 As of today, January 14th, only a small number of the smallest precious and semi-precious stones remain to be fitted to the Stupa and all work is expected to be finalized by the end of this week. The stupa is then expected to arrive in Dharamsala sometime between January 24-26th. Everyone is welcomed to greet the stupa when it first arrives with Venerable Alak Tsangla. Unfortunately the actual time of the arrival of the stupa in Dharamsala can only be given at short notice. I hope to be able to give you an approximate time at least 24 hours prior to its arrival.

 With heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for everyone’s generous support and untiring efforts,

 Voula Zarpani on behalf of Venerable Alak Tsangla


February 26, 2008 - Photos of the stupa nearing completion.

The work on the relic stupa is well in progress and we are now in the last phase of ornamentation.. The parts have been assembled and the metal plates upon which the precious stones will be set have been gilded and, once this is completed, the stupa will be freighted to India and concecrated in Dharamsala.

With best wishes,
Voula

Click on an image to see an enlargement
  jewel encasings jewel encasings  

October 12, 2007 - Progress on the stupa and commemorating Rinpoche's passing away

I am happy to be sending you some photos of Rinpoche’s relic stupa. As you can see most of the parts of the stupa are completed. We still need to get the precious and semiprecious stones cut to size to fit their respective places. Then the different parts will be assembled and once the stupa is completed, it will be taken to Dharamsala. Rinpoche’s remains have been pulverized and will be deposited in the stupa which will then be placed in Rinpoche’s room.

Regarding commemorating Rinpoche’s passing away, Alak Rinpoche has suggested that our focus will be Lama Tsongkhapa day. Last year December 15th coincided with Lama Tsongkhapa day, but this year December 15th is an inauspicious day. Therefore we will commemorate the passing away on Lama Tsongkhapa day. Prayers will be offered in Kirti Monastery in Dharamsala and Taktshang Lhamo in Tibet. You can participate by offering Lama Choepa with tsog and reciting the King of Prayers, but of course any virtuous activity and practice performed on that day can be equally dedicated towards meeting again Rinpoche’s reincarnation.

With best wishes,
Voula

Click on an image to see an enlargement

May 5, 2007 - Building of the relic stupa has started

Dear Friends,

I am very happy to tell you that the construction of the relic stupa has begun. Last month Alak Rinpoche took a quick trip to Nepal and met with various stupa makers and saw their work. He quickly chose the craftsmen whose work he liked best and commissioned the relic stupa for Rinpoche. The initial payment of gold and silver has been made and the construction has begun. It is estimated that the stupa will be ready sometime in October or November and upon completion it will be taken to Dharamsala, so that Rinpoche’s relics can be deposited inside. You can check the quality of the work of the stupa makers on their website.

Once the stupa was commissioned Alak returned to Dharamsala and met with Kirti Rinpoche who gave him the permission to leave the premises of the monastery. Following that Alak handed over Rinpoche’s belongings to the Monastery for safe-keeping until the reincarnation returns. In return the Monastery has handed Alak and official receipt.

With that task completed Alak is now ready to move to Varanasi for his long retreat. Valentino from Alice Project – Universal Education has very generously offered long term accommodation and logistic support for Alak. Rinpoche and Alak had visited the place and stayed there for a few months on a few occasions and Alak was happy to be going to a familiar and holy location for his retreat. The school now has a new Temple dedicated to Tara and they plan to have people engage in ongoing daily prayers. They very generously provide food, lodging, medical insurance and a monthly offering of about 1,500 Rs for those who wish to join the daily prayers. So those of you who are inspired, make sure you contact Valentino and register as there are no more than 10-15 places available and everyone is welcomed.

Although the school is always busy with students and practitioners, Alak will be staying in his private and quiet accommodation and he is very much looking forward to settling in. You can find out more about Alice Project and Valentino by checking their website.

With best wishes,
Voula

.


March 17, 2007 - Prayer for the quick return in Italian

Dear All,

Ivan Zerlotti has made an Italian translation of the Prayer for the quick return of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche; you can find the Word document here, and the pdf-file here.

Rudy


March 13, 2007 - Update on Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche’s relic stupa and finances

Dear friends,

It has been a while since I last sent out any information about Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche’s relic stupa and the finances involved in this project.

But first I would like to take the opportunity to again thank everyone who has contributed while Rinpoche was still with us. The total of your donations came to some 2,400,000 Indian Rupees. From these, 1,000,000 was spent on medical expenses, including hospital bills, private care at the farm (where Rinpoche stayed in Delhi), medicine and equipment, twice a day transport to and from the hospital for the nurses, doctor’s fees and offerings, and finally transport of Rinpoche’s holy body from Delhi to Dharamsala for the cremation.
Some 400,000 Indian Rupees were spent to cover our living expenses in the farm. Although Bonnie had very generously offered that magnificent and spacious house free of any rent, at any given time there were 9-11 monks residing in the house, plus Michael and myself. The remaining 1,400,000 rupees were spent as offerings towards prayers for Rinpoche. Of those, 220,000 rupees were offered for prayers performed prior to Rinpoche’s passing way and the remaining 780,000 rupees were offered during the 49-days period.

A more detailed list of prayers and practices that were sponsored and performed for Rinpoche’s sake is presented here in two parts. Part A includes practices offered while Rinpoche was still with us and Part B includes practices offered once Rinpoche passed away. These were the practices completed
during the 7 week period of 49 days. Kirti Monastery organized and sponsored prayers during the first 3 weeks. Then from the 4th to the 7th week, all prayers were sponsored by Alak Rinpoche through your donations. Also Alak sponsored two “mang ja” pujas with money offerings in Kirti Monastery during the first week, again through your donations. 

A. Long Life prayers and practices offered before Rinpoche passed away:

1) As Rinpoche’s condition was becoming more serious, Rinpoche was approached and asked which practices would be beneficial to practice for his long life. Rinpoche suggested that the mantras of Yamantaka, Kalachakra and Mahakala, the dharani of Medicine Buddha, Samantabhadra’s Prayer, the Prayer from Bodhicaryavatara and OM AH HUM should be recited. These were recited 900,000 times in the monasteries of Sera, Ganden and Drepung, in India, and 12,000,000 times in the monasteries of Sera, Ganden and Drepung and 500,000 times in Kirti Monastery, in Tibet.

2) When Rinpoche’s condition worsened further, Kirti Monastery advised that the attendants in the house should recite the Grounds and Paths, the Threefold Praise, Gurupuja, Direction Protector practice, torma offerings and entrustment practices and the three ceremonies daily. Also Lama Choepa Tsog was offered on the tenth and twenty-fifth without break until Rinpoche passed away. Once Rinpoche passed away his holy body was taken to Dharamsala where a cremation was offered according to the Kalachakra rites. All relics were then placed in Rinpoche’s residence while all powder ashes have been released in the Ganges.

B. Practices during the 49-days period:

During the first 3 weeks offerings for the deceased were completed by the entire Dratsang of Kirti Monastery, including the temporary abbot, and temporary representative, administrator, master of discipline and so on.

1) In the first week, two pujas with offerings of 100Rs to each monk were made in Kirti Monastery.
2) For the remaining 4 weeks Gyuto monastery was requested to continue with Heruka self initiation, the Kirti Monastery did Kunrig self initiation, and Nechung Monastery did Akshobya self initiation.
3) At the end of the 49-days period Gyuto monastery was again requested to perform Guhyasamaja self initiation.
4) According to the tradition offerings were made requesting dedication prayers to 46 lamas and abbots of the three main monasteries and so on trough the auspices of His Holiness, and also to 72renunciates who had an established connection with Rinpoche in Dharamsala.
5) Kirti Monastery and its thirty two branches in Tibet recited dedications and prayers.
6) Further offerings were made to both His Holiness and the great monastery. To HH we gave a statue of Amitayus and the Amitayus sutra, a Kadampa stupa, a precious silver mandala and precious stones, 100,000 Rs, a five colored silken pennant. To the main monastery we gave a statue of Manjushri, the Amitayus sutra, a stupa, a mandala base containing 14 tola or 300 gram of gold and one kilo and 14 tola of silver, one silver spoon, and 1,113Rs.
7) On the forty-ninth day, in front of the relics, we made one hundred waterbowl offerings and lit one hundred butter lamps. Then one lama and three monks performed Gurupuja, Yamantaka, purification prayers for the relics, ablution practices, mandala offerings, prayers for the quick return of the
reincarnation, the five fold prayer and so on without break.
8) And for each of the seven weeks 1,000 butter lamps and 1,000 divine food offerings were offered in front of the relics through Gurupuja.
9) Then in the last week, in accordance with Rinpoche’s wishes, from among his material possessions new robes that were offered by others during the long life prayers, items from the house such as the television, fan, kitchen utensils and so on were sold and the money used for a Dratsang puja with 100Rs offered to each monk. Old robes, bases of the body, speech and mind (of the Buddha), texts, offerings and so on that should be given to the next incarnation were collated and placed in Rinpoche’s residence.
10) On the 49th day in Taksang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Tibet, a “mang ja” puja was offered, with 130Rs for each monk, and to Kirti Monastery in India an extensive Gurupuja, “mang ja” puja, and 2,300Rs offered to each monk.
11) Then in both Bodhgaya and in Lhasa Jokhang, in both the stupas of Nepal, in the main temple in Dharamsala, and in front of the relics of Lhamo Tenpa Gyaltsen, for each of the seven weeks, 100 butter lamps were offered, and in front of the sandalwood statue of the Buddha during the forty-nine days butter lamps were offered.
12) In front of the great Golden Reliquary of Ganden, the great Maitreya of Tshang, the self arisen Hayagriva of Sera, and the Maitreya of Drepung, 100 butter lamps each were offered. And to the (statue of) Chenrezig at Trokyab 103 butter lamps were offered.

This completes the list of prayers and practices that were offered for Rinpoche and were sponsored by your generous and on-going donations. So, there are plenty of reasons for everyone involved to rejoice, many times over!!!

Soon after the period of 49 days was completed Alak had an interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. During this interview Alak discussed Rinpoche’s extensive teaching and traveling activities and his recent ravels to Canada and Antarctica with special emphasis on blessings that were aiming at harmonizing the environment and the weather patterns. These particular blessings that involved the emerging of a blessed Buddha statue in the waters were performed in South Africa, Antarctica, New Zealand and Israel.

Following that, Alak relayed to his Holiness the events that led to Rinpoche been diagnosed with cancer, his hospitalization and the last period of his life and the experiences he had during his stay in the farm, in Delhi. Alak requested His Holiness to pray for Rinpoche’s quick return and that all remaining tasks, including the construction of the relic stupa and the recognition of Rinpoche’s reincarnation, will be competed without any obstacles. His Holiness prayed to that effect and told Alak that these activities will be completed without delay or obstacles and that He will recognize the child in 1-2 years. During that interview Alak also asked for some direction about the type of practices he should be doing for the following couple of years. Alak is planning to travel to Nepal in order to supervise the commencement of the work on the stupa and will then retire for a while and spend some time in retreat.

A few students have been asking which practices should be done at this stage and the answer to that is that any practice you are doing can be dedicated towards the quick return of Rinpoche. Of course a special prayer has been composed for that purpose by Kirti Rinpoche and has been translated by
Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The prayer has been released some time ago and it available through the FPMT and this website.

We will continue to update you with news on the progress of the relic stupa as the project evolves.


With best wishes and much gratitude for your amazing and on-going support,
Voula


February 17, 2007 - Slightly revised version of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's Guru-yoga prayer

We received a slightly revised version of the prayer in pdf-format. You can download the A4-sized version here, and the letter-sized version here.


January 13, 2007 - Prayer for the Quick Return of the Reincarnation of Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche, from Voula

Dear friends,

I have just received the English version of the Prayer for the Quick Return of the Reincarnation of Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche. Alak offered the Tibetan version of the prayer to Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche with the request to be translated, intending to deepen the auspicious connection already existing between these two lamas.

Best wishes,
Voula

THE PERSUASIVE DRUM SOUND OF THE SPHERE OF GREAT COMPASSION
INVOKING THE BLESSINGS OF THE QUICK RETURN
OF THE INCARNATION OF THE GREAT VIRTUOUS FRIEND KIRTI TSENSHAB RINPOCHE


Realm of compassion of all Victorious Ones of the three times
Compassionate deity playfully manifesting the major and minor marks
Treasure of compassion, fortunate destiny of the migrators of the Land of Snow,
Please enable the accomplishment of these pure prayers.

Profound, fearless intelligence of pure wisdom
Eloquent speech of the sublime Dharma
Spreading like a smiling garland of gentle waves
Treasure filled with a wealthy abundance of instructions
The virtuous friend, the great ocean
You are the one I miss from the heart.

Recollecting all qualities of your Holy Body, Speech and Mind
In distress I single-pointedly request:
Please, our Protector, in all lifetimes
Never let us slip from the lasso of your compassion.

Alas! Lacking the virtuous friend who is the sole Refuge
The teachings of the tender Savior, Lama Tsong Khapa will end.
Migratory beings' happiness will darken like shadows of a setting sun.
Therefore you must come to relieve this sad and urgent plight.

Training over an extensive period of time
You took responsibility for performing the great activities
Of the Buddha's Teachings as well as those of transmigratory beings,
And generated completely the full capacity of the Holy Mind.
Yet do you comprehend the nature of our devastation?

For we, the ignorant thick-skulled ones, are abandoned to a forlorn place
While you enjoy the spheres of bliss and peace!
In this period when five degenerations' faults gather and explode
It is now especially critical that you adopt the armor of zeal.
Since this is the promise of the Heroic Sons of the Victorious One
Quickly reveal again the Emanation Body's Holy Face.

Already the time of the Buddha's teachings has reached the end of the five-hundred.
Almost all the Great Holy Beings who could wishfully descend to this world have departed to the Sphere of Peace (Dharmakaya).
We, pitiful fledglings, find ourselves left behind - bereft and alone.

Please recall the commitment generated in your Holy Mind:
To assume responsibility to uphold the Lamp of the teachings of the land of Rongchen (region of Amdo).
Smiling face of the Supreme emanation, the creator of day,
Like the rising sun come quickly without delay.

Not degenerating qualities acquired across lifetime's trainings
The smile of the white cooling moon of explanation and attainment
Our only friend who cultivates the Kunu (flower) of the Victorious One's teachings
May the youthful moon of your unmistaken manifestation immediately appear.

Protectors of the words of the Lamas
Guardians of the Buddha's teachings
Special watchers over what has been requested
Great Victorious Active Heroes
And all Powerful Protectors
Please impel the unmistaken incarnation to arise.

In short, by the power of the incontrovertible dependent arising
Of the students' fervent faith,
Together with blessings of the Protectors of the Three Sublime Ones,
Like a wish-fulfilling jewel may our prayers without exception
be instantaneously accomplished.


Colophon

I, the student disciple bearing the name of the incarnated Thashel Kirti, Lozang Tenzin, having heard that at the age of eighty one the incarnation of the Great Virtuous Friend Tsatrug Geshe Tsang, the Holder of the Lineage of the Near Instruction, the Great Abbot Vajradhara Jetsun Lozang Jigme Damcho Pel Sangpo had seriously ailed and Gone Beyond, felt impelled to compose this requesting prayer titled The Persuasive Drum Sound of the Sphere of Great Compassion invoking the blessings of the Quick Return of the incarnation of the great virtuous friend Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche. May my incontrovertible pure prayers to the Three Supreme Ones in general and to the Supreme Arya the Great Compassionate One in particular, be accomplished as here expressed.

It was written in the village of the Sublime realm of Bodhgaya on the 15th of the ninth month 2006.

The most devoted protector, Alak Rinpoche, attendent of Kyabje Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche whose name is extremely rare to mention and who is the embodiment of and kinder than the Buddhas of the Three Times, and the Translator Voula who offered him so many years of service requested me, the Mickey Mouse, Thubten Zopa to translate this Requesting Prayer. With the help of the Venerable Nun Jane, Venerable Tenzin Namdak and Ross Moore I have done so with devotion. Due to the merits may all sentient beings of this world be able to soon see the Smiling Face of the Unmistaken Incarnation, and enjoy again the nectar of Kyabje Rinpoche's teachings, in order to achieve Enlightenment as quickly as possible.

Sera Je Monastery, South India, January 2007.

Note: above prayer is now also available in Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish (another Spanish translation here) and in Vietnamese.


  
  Click to enlarge
Photos © Sandra Galistan 2007

January 3, 2007 - Cremation, from Voula

Rinpoche's holy body was taken to Dharamsala on Thursday night and it was kept in public display in Rinpoche's room at Kirti Gompa for three days prior to the cremation. Many Tibetans and some Western students who were able to make the trip to Dharamsala made offerings to Rinpoche's holy body that was in the laying posture covered with his yellow ceremonial robe. I had received numerous emails asking me to offer a last khata, so I decided to offer one khata for each country Rinpoche visited, including Antarctica and its penguins. I also offered one khata for all the places Rinpoche did not visit in this life.

When I entered Rinpoche's and Alak's room I was struck by how many items were there collected from all over the world: a set of walki-talki from California, a traditionally hand painted little box from Russia, pictures from Rio de Janeiro next to some old pictures of the Dalai Lama among Nerhu and Indira Gandhi, a water bottle in the shape of Mother Mary from Mexico, a toy woolen lamb from New Zealand, a picture of Ayers rock from Australia, a bath mat with dolphins from Puerto Rico, shopping bags from Athens, certificates from the boat that took Rinpoche and Alak to Antarctica, a stupa from France, tsa-tsas from Taiwan, fridge magnets from South Africa, a sweater from Colombia, a camera bought in Washington DC, a pair of crocs from Israel and so on. Rinpoche and Alak have been in so many places, connecting with so many students around the world.

The cremation site below the Tibetan Childrens Village had been prepared for the ceremony and a temporary brick stupa was erected for the cremation. When they were digging the ground in preparation for the stupa they unearthed some Nepali coins featuring a stupa and a vajra and everyone interpreted that as a very auspicious sign of stability.

 
  
Click to enlarge
Photos © Sandra Galistan 2007
 

Early on the morning of December 25th Rinpoche's holy body was placed in the full lotus posture, dressed in brocade, adorned with the crown of the five dhyani buddhas, and his face covered with red silk. The body accompanied by the same monks who took care of Rinpoche during the last six months was taken from his residence at 5.30am and was carried to the cremation site. Rinpoche's holy body was then placed on a throne and people had the opportunity to offer a khata for the last time. When that was done, the same group of monks circumambulated the cremation stupa carrying Rinpoche's holy body and they finally lowered it into the stupa. Monks from Namgyal Monastery performed the Kalachakra fire puja while at the same time monks from Kirti Monastery recited the prayers of refuge and bodhichita, the King of Prayers, Lama Choepa tsog, and so forth. The fire was lit and soon smoke and flames emerged.

Once the ceremony was over the stupa was covered and the fire was left burning till Saturday Dec 30th when the stupa was opened again. The relics were collected and placed in a specially prepared vase and then taken down to Rinpoche's room once again. In the meanwhile all signs were carefully recorded. An elder monk from Ling Labrang who specializes in interpreting signs appearing at the cremation was invited to participate. He commented that there were a lot of auspicious signs but also a number of signs that he had never seen before and therefore could not interpret at the moment. Rinpoche's relics will be kept in the vase until a proper relic stupa is constructed however it was not seen necessary to erect a permanent stupa at the cremation site.

A lot of people are asking for the translation of the Prayer for the Quick Return of the Reincarnation. The prayer has been handed to Lama Zopa Rinpoche and is currently being translated. I would encourage you to keep checking the FPMT and IKN websites for the English version of that prayer.

And as a final note, as many of you might know, Michael Mueller has been collecting Rinpoche's teachings from around the world over the last few years. This is done with the aim to publish all of Rinpoche's teachings and advice, in Tibetan as well as in English. If you have any recordings of teachings that you would like to share, please contact   .

I am attaching a few photographs of the cremation together with this message. In the first photograph you can see Alak standing next to Rinpoche and in the other two you can see the smoke and flames in the cremation stupa. These photographs were taken and are copy-righted by Sandra Galistan.

With best wishes for the New Year,
Voula


20 December 2006 - Cremation details, from Voula

Rinpoche's thukdam has ended this morning and we will be leaving Delhi tomorrow, Thursday 21st. We will arrive in Dharamsala on Friday morning and the creamation of Rinpoche's holy body will take place early morning on Monday December 25th, in TCV. Prior to the cremation there will be a public audience during which people will have the opportunity to offer a khata.

Those of you who will make it to Dharamsala, please make an effort to see Alak Rinpoche, who was Rinpoche's attendant for the last 19 years, and communicate with him directly. I am sure he will appreciate your support very much.

Best wishes,
Voula


19 December 2006 - some practical info

For the moment, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche is still in 'thukdam' (meditation before the bardo state) so cannot be moved from Delhi. His body will be brought to Dharamsala, where people can offer a khata before his cremation, but dates cannot yet be fixed,as they will depend on Rinpoche's thukdam. The cremation will probably be at TCV and public, so everyone can attend.

The advised practices are still the same, such asreciting the King of Prayers and Vajrasattva practice/mantras. Kirti Rinpoche has composed a prayer for the quick return of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, and we will try to post it here as soon as it is translated and becomes available. As I will be on holiday for over two weeks, it is possible that this prayer will be posted at the FPMT website before we are able to.

Rudy


16 December 2006 - Rinpoche's passing away

After demonstrating the appearance of serious illness for many months Kirti Tsanshap Rinpoche entered tukdam, the final meditation, early this morning at 2.30am, Saturday 16th December 2006 in South Delhi, India. The day of the 15th, which was Lama Tsongkapa Day - one of the holiest days in the Geluk callendar-, special offerings and prayers were offered at the house and in the evening extensive light offerings were made.

During this period Rinpoche revealed just how we should practice when death approaches, with the same skill he has perfectly demonstrated how we should practice in all circumstances in this life.

We can only rejoice at having the fortune to meet this perfect master, with limitless excellent qualities both seen and unseen, whose compassion and patience is immeasurable, and whose knowledge and wisdom are vast and clear like a crystal ocean.

Voula


3 December 2006 - Limited news

I have not written for a while now because it appears that there is no major news to communicate. Rinpoche has not been able to consume anything orally for a number of days and he continues to loose weight and strength. Even so, his blood pressure, temperature, oxygen intake, pulse and other parameters remain within the normal range.

Perhaps this is the most extraordinary manifestation of “normality” while the cancer is at such an advanced stage. Rinpoche continues with his daily practice and prayers and all attendants continue to offer their services tirelessly, around the clock.

Earlier this year a student asked Rinpoche the following question: “Rinpoche, I have been thinking that most of my teachers are advanced in age and that inevitably they will pass away. I hope that they will all choose to return among us but, it will be a few years before they are recognized, trained and begin to teach again. By then, chances are that I will be too old to receive teachings again. Is there anything I can do about it?”

Rinpoche: "You should be more specific when you are praying. It is not enough to simply say: 'I wish to meet such and such a teacher again'. Rather you should be praying along these lines: 'I wish to meet this teacher again, as early as possible in life. I wish to be among the guru’s first disciples. I wish to be present as soon as the guru begins teaching again and I wish that I will remain connected to the guru for a very long time. I wish that the guru will teach for a very long time and that my mental capacities will be active for an equally long time.' "

Voula

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3 November 2006 - new groth detected in the throat.

Last week I sent an email starting with the phrase "Rinpoche had breakfast by the swimming pool." A lot of people wrote back saying they were delighted to hear that Rinpoche is improving.

It is of course my fault that I did not clarify what I meant by "breakfast". Breakfast consists of a few spoonfuls (and that is teaspoons) of either milk or some light soup made of tsampa (roasted barley flour). The same is true for lunch and dinner.

Rinpoche's condition is declining daily, mainly because he is not able to eat enough food, and his calory intake is very low. Rinpoche is wasting before our very eyes, and that is very hard for everyone involved. Rinpoche weighs less than 39 kilos now and Alak said that he does not want to check Rinpoche's weight anymore because it is depressing. We are trying various methods for inclreasing Rinpoche's calory intake, but so far we have not been successful. There is a method, but it requires hospitalization and the use of heavy drugs, and Rinpoche has said very clearly that he does not wish to return to the hospital. The Tibetan doctors have urged us to avoid heavy westerner medication, as it will harm Rinpoche's meditation by affecting the channels.
If this situation continues, the prognosis is that Rinpoche will not remain with us for much longer.

Finally today, a throat specialist was brought in the house. A new growth could be clearly seen in Rinpoche's throat, close to the vocal chords. We are not sure of the nature of this growth yet. We have been advised to administer a certain medicine that is belived to bring some relief and facilitate swallowing. If there is no relief by the end of the week, we will proceed with more detailed checks.

Thank you all again for your prayers and inspiring messages,

Voula


29 October 2006

Alak said: "But, now Rinpoche perhaps it is time to relax your practice a little bit and start focusing on your health. I believe that it is now time to start healing your body. In this way you can live for many more years and continue to benefit many sentient beings, and of course continue to practice tong-len for a long time in the future. Rinpoche, please consider the benefit of this."
Rinpoche nodded and indicated that he will consider it.

Voula


25 October 2006

Rinpoche had breakfast by the swimming pool. It was very peaceful and Rinpoche wanted to speak. This is what he said:

„I know that this illness is very strong in my body, but I do not feel any sense of pain or discomfort. If I had not been told by the doctors that I have a tumor in my liver, I wouldn't have known that somethomething is wrong. I am sorry to have bothered you all for so long. For the last couple of months you have been attending to all my needs. I do not want to tire any of you."

At this point Alak urged Rinpoche: Please Rinpoche, don't speak in this way. No one is tired. Remember how His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that you are full of vitality and that everywhere you go, you benefit a vast number of sentient beings. Please Rinpoche remain with us. There are still so many countries to visit. We have received many invitation letters. Students all over the world continuously express the hope that soon you will resume your travel and teaching activities. We have a full schedule ahead of us. Please, Rinpoche, remain with us."

Rinpoche nodded and then said: „This house is like the inestimable mantion of the deity. The gardens and the house itself are very pure and they both have a very positive effect on me, externally as well as internally. The property is protected by guradians in an external and internal level."
At this point Alak asked: "Are there secret guardians as well, Rinpoche?"
Rinpoche replied by saying: „Yes, there are secret guardians as well. I am very happy to be here. I want the owner of the house to know how perfect this property is."

Rinpoche continues to join the palms of his hands together while gazing at the space above and he often offers mandalas by interlocking his fingers together.

Voula


Evening of 23 October 2006

Rinpoche has not been able to partake any solid food for the last few days. Monasteries all over India and Tibet have started reciting prayers to eliminate any obstacles that might be present so that Rinpoche s passing away will be gracefull. These prayers include Medicine Buddha, Kalachakra and Protector practices, as well as Samantabhadra s Prayer.

Voula

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October 18 - Message from Voula

Dear friends,
I am writing to let you know that Rinpoche‘s condition does not appear to be very good. Although the Tibetan and Western doctors have told us that Rinpoche's condition is stable and that he is not deteriorating, our own experience is that Rinpoche is getting weaker every day and that he requires more intensive care and assistance to perform even the most basic activities. On one hand, the doctors reports are heart warming but on the other hand, seeing how much Rinpoche's body has deteriorated is heartbreaking.
During the last week Rinpoche has relocated from the hospital to a private house in Delhi. This was in accordance with the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in accordance to Rinpoche's wishes and in accordance with the opinion of the Tibetan and Indian doctors.
The house is really beautiful and spacious (there are about 12 people staying here), with very nice gardens and a swimming pool. Rinpoche is attended by 2-3 monks around the clock and a nurse visits every day, while blood tests are routinely performed to monitor Rinpoche's condition.
As we are told once again to be prepared for any eventuality, I would like to share the following story with you. While we were in israel and after some 5 days of diarrhea, Rinpoche was not feeling well and it became obvious that we had to go the hosptial to run some more serious tests. While undergoing various checks and answering general medical questions, we noticed that there was a commotion and everybody seamed to be glued to the tv screen that has reporting some sort of news bulletin. We could see from peoples faces that something serious was happening so I asked someone to translate the news to me. I was told that within the last 6 hours Israeli airplanes had started bombing the southern suburbs of Beirut and in effect war was declared between Israel and Lebanon. I started wondering whether I should let Rinpoche and Alak know straight away, given Rinpoches delicate condition, or whether I should wait untill all tests were completed and then find a proper time to discuss the news.
The situation was developing reapidly because we were very close to the border and the hospital was put on high alert. At the same time the doctor told us that the blood tests indicated that there was something more serious than diarrhea and we were advised to have more tests done. I quickly made the decision to inform Rinpoche and Alak straight away and then made the recommendation that we try to do these tests in a hospital further down the south, putting some distance between us and the Lebaneze border. Within the next 24 hours, Rinpoche was told that he had a large tumor in his liver and that southern Beirut was almost destroyed.
A couple of days later Rinpoche said this to Alak and myself: `You should always be prepared. You never know where you will be in the next 6 hours. These Israeli pilots who were asked to bomb Beirut in such a sort notice were only able to do it because of their previous training. As buddhists, we have to be prepared for death. Look at my case for exaple: I though I came to the hospital to treat a simple case of diahhrea and now I am told that I have advanced liver cancer. Like an Israeli pilot, I do mot know where I will be in the next 6 hours. But if I am prepared, then I can go anywhere. It is very important to train and prepare yourself for the time of your own death. Then, it will be easy to go at a short notice.´

Voula


October 10 - A commentary on the King of Prayers

As Rinpoche requested his students to recite the King of Prayers, and he recently gave teachings on it based on the commentary by Jang Lung Pandita at Land of Medicine Buddha (USA), Voula has made a translation of the commentary. You can download the text here as PDF file in letter-size and in A4 size.


October 8 - An auspicious dream (see also the previous message below!)

This morning Rinpoche told Alak about the dream he had last night. In the dream Rinpoche was advised to do some long-life practices and in order to do that he needed to present offerings. At that time an ocean of offerings appeared. These were offering that were presented to Rinpoche by all of his students. It was an endless banquet of every food imaginable, drinks, and various other beautiful and useful substances. The offerings appeared to be inexhaustible.

Rinpoche commented: “Alak, my students around the world are making continuous prayers, they practice animal liberation and offer Lama Choepa tsog for my well-being. I feel that the message of the dream was that my resources, including my life and realizations on the tong-len, will be vast and inexhaustible, just like the appearance of these offerings.”

Voula


October 8 - Tsog offerings for Rinpoche, from Claire Isitt

Dear FPMT Family,

Thank you so much to all those centers and individuals who offered tsog and dedicated in the way advised by Lama Zopa Rinpoche for Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's long life - I am very happy to let you all know that we very quickly accumulated 100,000, and that now the figure stands at over 121,000! Thank you, this is such an opportunity for us all to rejoice.

We offered these practices to Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche via Voula Zarpani, the LRZTP graduate who has been interpreting for Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and helping Rinpoche so much over the last few years. Voula is also the one who is kindly sending out updates on Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's health (which you can read at http://www.fpmt.org/teachers/kirtitsenshab_news.asp)

Voula replied:
"yes I will be delighted to offer these practices to Rinpoche, the number is really very impressive. The whole effort really is impressive. Rinpoche from his side feels very supported and I believe that he wishes to remain with us. We often speak about our future plans, in terms of travel or this and that activity. Maybe I am stupidly optimistic but I do believe that Rinpoche will overcome this."

So that is some great news to share.

I will not be keeping count of further tsogs, but of course I'm sure that many of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's students will continue doing practice dedicated to Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's long life.

love Claire


October 4 - Message from Voula

Dear friends,

The latest blood tests have indicated that the Alpha Fetoprotein (which measures the presence of cancer in the body) has gradually dropped from 408,000 to 253,000. Still this is a long, long way from the normal rates that are below 30. The doctors told us that they are quite surprised with this gradual fall in the numbers, however other parameters do not indicate any substantial recovery.

Dr Yeshe Donden has been saying from the beginning that he is confident that Tibetan medicine can deal with the cancer in the liver and that the medication is really working for Rinpoche. So perhaps these latest figures reflect the positive effect of Tibetan medicine. However Dr Yeshe Donden has
stressed once more that this treatment will take a long time and that we should not expect any quick results. His Holiness’s advice remains that the best course of treatment for Rinpoche is Tibetan medicine.

In the last three days the doctors, both Indian and Tibetan, have agreed that Rinpoche does not need to be on the drip any more so the drip has been
discontinued. Rinpoche still experiences difficulty when swallowing or verbalizing but he is able to eat a moderate amount of food and he sleeps well. On most days he is also able to go for a walk in the hospital garden.

Once more I would like to impress upon you that this is a private time for Rinpoche and Alak. When Rinpoche visits the garden of the hospital for his afternoon walk, he is not expecting to meet students. As Rinpoche is unwell he is not up to socializing and sharing a public space.

Thank you all for your continuous support and interest, as well as your understanding

Best wishes,

Voula


September 30 - Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is requesting for students to do Lama Chopa puja and try to accumulate 100,000 tsog offerings for Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's
long life.

Please do Lama Chopa puja and offer Lama Chopa tsog - and as part of the tsog recite the two tsog verses which Lama Zopa Rinpoche translated as many times as you can. (These verses are on page 119 in the FPMT Lama Chopa booklet. Also, there are instructions there on how to do the extra tsog offering verses.)

Please count the number of times each person recites those two verses and let me know so I can keep count and work out if Rinpoche's student can offer 100,000 tsog offerings.

During Lama Chopa, when you reach the long life prayer for the gurus verse in the 7 Limb Prayer section please recite this verse slowly 3 to 5 times strongly praying for Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's long life. At the end of the puja please dedicate with the King of Prayers.

There are three specific dedication prayers to make when you finish the above:

1. For all Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's Holy wishes to succeed.
2. To purify our own negative karma.
3. For Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's long life.

Then make your usual dedications.

Thank you so much, and do let me know how many you are able to do at .

All practices are available at
http://www.fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/advice/zopa_recommends.asp

love Claire


September 28 - About practice at the time of death, from Voula

The extract comes from a private interview that was given 3 years ago.

Q: At the time of death should I be practicing powa or should I be applying the practice of taking the three bodies in the path?

KTR: The main practice is to bring the three buddha bodies in the path. If you can not do this, then you try doing other things. If you can purify death by seeing it as the dharma body, if you can purify the intermediate state by seeing it as the enjoyment body, and if you can purify birth as the emanation body, then the process of your transference (powa) is complete.

Of course if you want to specialize in powa, you can study it in detail and train yourself every night when you go to sleep as well as when you are awake. Practice it again and again, just like the army practices before going to the real battle.

In terms of powa there are two types: the sutric and tantric powa. When powa is practiced in the context of sutra, you decide that after your death you want to be reborn in a specific pure land, be it Shambala, Akanista, the pure land of the dakinis and so forth. So then you realize that you need to establish a certain type of body that can reside there so you must accumulate the causes for such a type of rebirth. So while you are still alive you try to establish these particular causes. Then at the time of death you do very strong prayers and dedications. You reaffirm your goals, you recall the practices you have done in order to create the necessary causes, and you conclude by saying “may I be able to reach there with the blessing of my lama”. In the context of tantric powa the process is more or less similar with the difference that at the end you actively project your consciousness out of the body.

For me, the main thing is to be able to remember bodhichitta and emptiness at the time of death. If you are able to remember these two, then you will be able to establish your inner pure land of Shambala or Tushita. In name it is called powa, in other words transference, and it is presented as sutric or tantric powa, but really there is no where to go. It is all an internal process of being able to remember bodhichitta and emptiness. We use all these different terms but really, there is no where else to go. This for me is the ultimate powa, the ultimate Shambala. - END

Much love,

Voula

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September 25 - Update from Voula

Dear friends,

There is some more news from Delhi, regarding Rinpoche’s condition.

Just as I sent out my previous medical update, the doctor visited Rinpoche with some bad news: the latest blood test indicated that the presence of cancer in Rinpoche’s body is increasing rapidly. He said that the readings were almost beyond the scale and said that the situation was really bad. Rinpoche appeared to be extremely weak and was not able to eat but a minute amount of food for two days. He was also unable to go out for his afternoon walk that he seems to enjoy so much.

At that time, it was suggested that perhaps Rinpoche should leave immediately for Dharamsala because delaying the trip any longer than 48 hours, may make travel difficult. Rinpoche requested a divination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
We were also asked to finalize all pending administrative and financial issues.

It took about two days for the reply to reach us. His Holiness indicated that Rinpoche should remain in Delhi, perhaps move to a private house, and continue to rely on Tibetan medicine. And as that answer was received, Rinpoche started taking food again, small amounts but many times a day, almost every two hours. He is up and walking again and he is quite alert. His weight has increased from 43 to 45.5 kg.

The following conversation took place between Kirti Tsensap Rinpoche and his attendant Alak Rinpoche, on September 24th:

KTR: Alak, could you please massage me here, around the liver?
AR: Rinpoche, is that bad cancer causing you pain?
KTR: Alak, there is no such thing as “bad” cancer. When you practice tong-len, all sickness is good. If you say that you will take upon yourself the suffering of all sentient beings, you should expect some physical discomfort. It is not possible to practice tong-len without physical discomfort. In order to practice you must have something that causes you pain and discomfort. This illness is good. This illness allows me to practice. Without it, I could not practice.
AR: Rinpoche, when you experience pain, would it help if you were to meditate on yourself as being the deity?
KTR: Alak, I am constantly meditating, either seeing myself as the deity or equalizing and exchanging self and others. It always helps. Most of the time, I am free of pain.

Please keep checking the International Kalachakra Website (www.kalachakranet.org) for updates.

Thank you,

Voula


September 21 - Update from Voula and Michael

Dear friends,

It has been a while since we last send an update on Rinpoche’s condition and we have received a lot of emails asking for more recent news.

Rinpoche situation remains stable and although that means that the situation is not deteriorating, it also means that there has been no noticeable improvement either. Rinpoche has lost a lot of weight and is quite frail, despite the fact that the diarrhea has stopped and the fact that he enjoys good sleep at night. Every physical activity requires a lot of effort and Rinpoche is assisted around the clock by Alak and Tsultrim who attend Rinpoche very lovingly. Speaking and swallowing appear to be quite difficult.

Rinpoche had an ultrasound last week and further blood tests. The ultrasound revealed that the size of the tumor has increased slightly, but the doctors believe that this slight difference from the previous reading can be explained as an operational error. The function of the liver itself seems to be marginally improved and all other organs are in a fine condition. The doctor commented that he has not met anyone with a tumor that big who is still alive and from his knowledge even if one were alive with such a tumor, he or she would be in great pain. However Rinpoche is not in pain and he is able to meditate and is also taking a long walk every afternoon, now that the weather has improved a bit. Most noticeable the doctor said that Rinpoche’s eyes and in general his face is very alert, which indicates that he is fighting cancer very well.

Last week Rinpoche had re-occurring fever for three days and also seemed to be less interested in eating. The explanation for these two symptoms according to Western medicine is that the toxins produced by the cancer cause his temperature to rise and also suppress his appetite. However, since Rinpoche is on the drip that provides about 50% of his daily needs in terms of calories, it is also natural that he has reduced his intake of external solid foods, as his body feels nourished. And it is true that in days that Rinpoche is not on the drip or on days that he has only one bottle, his intake of external food increases.

Dr Yeshe Donden still visits Rinpoche weekly and adjusts his Tibetan medicine accordingly. He has commented that all these symptoms, such as fever, lack of appetite and so forth are caused by wind (“lung”) and that the Tibetan medicine is working very well and is having an effect.

I know that many of you have asked recently for advice and guidance but from my side, I found it very difficult to ask Rinpoche any questions. It simply takes so much effort for Rinpoche to verbalize that it feels almost like a torture. I am sure that you would feel the same if you were in my position.

I also wanted to tell you how impressed we all are with the hospital and the staff. All doctors and nurses are very attentive and respectful. They support Rinpoche and those around him always with a smile and sincere care. They rejoice every time they hear that Rinpoche has been well and has had the opportunity to meditate. Really, words such as “meditate” and “guru” have still a great impact in India which is delightful to see.

Thank you all for your continuous interest in Rinpoche’s health. We will continue to update you regularly through the IKN website. Pease check the website for additional information such as prayers, commentaries and so forth.

Best wishes,
Voula Zarpani and Michael Mueller

Note: a new long-life prayer combined with Guru-Yoga was written for Rinpoche by Kirti Tulku, and is now available at the end of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's page.


August 27 - Update from Voula

Dear Friends,

As most of you know Rinpoche is in a private clinic Delhi for the last 3 weeks. Soon after arriving in Delhi, Rinpoche’s general conditions appeared to be improving due to better sleep and rest patterns, as well as a noticeable increase in his appetite.

However the Indian doctor who is currently treating Rinpoche detected some lumps in Rinpoche’s thyroid while Rinpoche started experiencing some trouble verbalizing and swallowing. After consulting the specialists in Israel, New York, India and Germany, the decision has been reached to avoid radiotherapy, as at this stage it is seen as having the potential to cause more harm than benefit.
The doctors decided that it was not important to perform further examination in order to determine the exact nature of the thyroid lumps, since the size and nature of the liver tumor is considered to be the main determining factor in Rinpoche’s condition.

As this conclusion was reached by the Western doctors, the Tibetan approach was somehow different. Dr. Yeshe Donden and Dr. Tseten, who examine Rinpoche regularly and adjust his Tibetan medicine weekly, have commented that the difficulties in swallowing and verbalizing are due to disturbance of the winds that are responsible for performing these particular functions. Therefore they are now treating Rinpoche with medication that aims to normalize the flow of winds in the throat, in addition to the medication that aims to control the liver tumor. The Tibetan doctors have commented that although Rinpoche’s condition is a serious one, they feel confident that improvement is achievable through gentle, Tibetan medicine specifically adjusted to Rinpoche’s needs.

When requested to give us a time frame, Dr. Yeshe Donden replied: “This is not a case of flue and one should not expect it to simply clear away. From our side as doctors we offer the treatment that is most suitable to the particular needs of the patients. In the case of such high lamas though, it is really the lama who decides whether it is beneficial to remain among us and for how long.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama is regularly updated on Rinpoche’s condition and His advice remains that Rinpoche should rely on Tibetan medicine.

In the meanwhile Rinpoche and Alak are both quite comfortable in the hospital and quite satisfied with the level of attention they receive there. Although Rinpoche’s appetite is somehow restored, his body is still in need of many supplements which are received though the drip. Rinpoche is able to sit and walk but he chooses not go out for a walk every day since at the moment the weather in Delhi is typical of the monsoon period, with steady rain and temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius.

Regarding interviews and questions, Rinpoche is not seeing people. This period is similar to having entered retreat, in the sense that everyday activities such as these are put to rest.

Thank you all for your continuous interest and support and also your understanding. We will continue to update you as the situation unfolds.

Voula


August 27, 2006 - Rinpoche's meditation

To give an idea of what meditation Rinpoche is doing at the moment, is his story about Ditsa Gompa in Tibet (unfortunately, we do not have access to Rinpoche's teachings in Haifa at the moment):

The core practice of the Kadampa Masters was the meditation on Death and Impermanence. They hold that so important because that helps to keep the mind focused only on Dharma practice without distractions toward worldly activities. They taught that, when our body is healthy, deep down in our mind there is always kind of an attraction for this life. There is a tendency to cling to the pleasures and good things of this life and that interrupts and disturbs our Dharma practice. Kadampa Masters would strengthen this awareness of Death and make it more real by praying in this way: "How wonderful if I could get a terminal illness that cannot be cured and causes death!" I heard about this kind of prayers in Ditsa Gompa (Amdo, Tibet).

This monastery was founded by Shamar Pandita who also gave teachings even to the 13th Dalai Lama and who wrote a beautiful Lam Rim text that H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama praised and said it should be included in the traditional set of the "Great Lam Rim Texts teachings" if its lineage could be found here. Shamar Rinpoche was one of the root Gurus of Jigme Damchoe Gyatso, Ven Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's Lama from whom He received among others the Kalachakra lineage. Ditsa Gonpa is like a hermitage in terms of lifestyle, teachings and practice.

What the practitioners pray for there is to get a "Pho-wa sickness," a kind of stomach ulcer. In those days they didn't know about cancer but I guess that is what that sickness was all about. What they clearly knew is that once you get sick with it, there is no way to be cured. At the same time the pain is bearable so it doesn't prevent you from practicing meditation. One will certainly die, but not right away, one would still have some time for meditation.
This was considered a blessing since it would allow them to finally practice successfully "Tong-Len" meditation (Giving and Taking) and a sign of fulfillment of their prayers.
By getting sick in that way three goals would be achieved:

Being able to concentrate genuinely on Dharma practice,
Being able to "take" on themselves all mother sentient beings' sufferings,
Being able to remove obstacles from other Holy Beings.

They would recite again and again verses from "Lo-jong" Texts (Mind Training). They were not only completely delighted with being sick but they would keep hoping for more so that other beings would not experience that sickness and sorrows and Holy Beings would meet no obstacles in their carrying out activities of benefit for others.


August 24, 2006 - summary of the current situation

It was decided that western treatment is not advisable due to the negative side-effects of radiation treatment (which appeared to be the only valid option). So  Rinpoche is continuing with his Tibetan medication, as advised by His Holiness and Dr. Yeshe Donden.

On the 17th, a representative of His Holiness' Private Office came to visit Rinpoche to look at the reports and the actual condition of Rinpoche to inform His Holiness (who was in Delhi on his way to Japan). He then suggested that, because the Tibetan treatment does not require any specific location, Rinpoche could now stay in any place of his choice, possibly in the the current hospital in Delhi. After this advice, the representative of Rinpoche's monastery left for Dharamsala and any visitors to Rinpoche were discouraged from coming, "as Rinpoche would now want to rest". This actually means "to allow Rinpoche to deepen his meditation on the purpose of his life - to benefit others".

Rinpoche feels that the hospital is convenient, and he will stay there (without any indication of time).

When asked again for practice advice for his students, Rinpoche mentioned one could focus on Medicine Buddha mantras and puja (as suggested by His Holiness), as well as the King of Prayers (now also available in Polish) and the 10th (dedication) chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara.


August 19, 2006 - message from Rinpoche

Rinpoche expressed his gratitude for the long-life prayers so many people all around the world have done for him.


August 16, 2006

Report on the examination of Most Venerable Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche by Dr. Yeshe Donden at Privat Hospital, 16/08/2006:

Dr. Yeshe Donden examined Rinpoche and gave the following information:

1. There is no spreading of the cancer, meaning that there is no metastasis.
2. It seems that in Tibetan Medicine understanding, the tumor has even shrunk.
3. The cancer is under control.

Rinpoche will continue to take Tibetan Medicine.

All other treatments, radiation etc. have been excluded due to the side effects, which, as most of the doctors in Western and Tibetan medicine have underlined, would be very strong, particularly in Rinpoche’s case.

When asked, Dr. Donden offered no suggestion about the course of the tumor or the period required for more stable results to appear.

Rinpoche’s general condition has improved a lot since he arrived in Delhi, he can now even walk in the garden in the evenings.

Michael Mueller

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August 14 - Medical report Gurgaon Hospital, New Delhi


August 9, 2006 - Second opinion New York cancer specialist

DR’S …..(Name) Chair in Medical Oncology
Chief, Gastrointestinal Oncology Service

August 9, 2006
TO Professor ………….
Chairman, Department of Medicine B
(Hospital in ISRAEL)
Faculty of Medicine Technion
Haifa 31048, Israel
FAX: ………….
E-MAIL: …………….
RE: Lozang Zagnet (aka KIRTI TSENSHAP RINPOCHE)
Dear Prof. ……….

I reviewed the medical records regarding the above named patient. I have not yet had the opportunity to see the computed tomography. In brief, it is my understanding that this 80 year old man was found during a recent visit to Israel to have a hepatic mass. His symptoms included anorexia and weakness with right upper quadrant tenderness. He has no history of cirrhosis on the basis of infection, or other causes. There is no history of blood transfusion. Laboratory tests demonstrated modest increase in liver function tests with an elevated GGT and LDH, an albumin of 3.3, and a total bilirubin of 1.1. His serologies for viral infection were negative, but his alpha fetoprotein was 420,000. The CT scan showed “huge liver tumor with large necrotic areas without metastasis”. A CT guided core livery biopsy showed necrotic material with malignant cells positive for alpha fetoprotein described as diagnostic for hepatocellular carcinoma. The question now is what are the treatment options.
Assuming that the patient has a primary hepatocellular carcinoma, not on the basis of cirrhosis, this may be a fibrolamellar variant. The markedly elevated alpha fetoprotein, however, is against this. The clinical scenario suggests that the patient has underlying hepatic cirrhosis of an uncertain etiology with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma on that basis.
The description of the CT findings suggests that a partial hepatectomy, which might be a treatment option in a patient with minimal or no cirrhosis is not possible. Liver transplantation would be an option for a patient with a relatively small but unrectable hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatic transplant, which might be a reasonable option for a patient without evidence of metastasis, but with a smaller primary tumor, was also felt not to be appropriate presumably in view of the extent of disease, as well as the patient’s age.
Regional therapy, such as radiofrequency ablation and alcohol injection are best reserved for patients with lesions that are substantially smaller than that described from the CT scan. This decision can best be made by a review of the actual images themselves.
Assuming that none of these options are applicable in this patient, because of the factors outlined above, options for palliative therapy primarily involve systemic treatment (See below for discussion of embolization). Outside of a research study setting, standard of care options for chemotherapy have unfortunately been associated with substantial toxicity and quite limited benefit. Systemic chemotherapy has been fairly extensively explored in patients with advanced unresectable or metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma. Conventional agents have very limited activity, with no clear standard of care. Although Doxorubicin was initially reported to have substantial activity, subsequent studies have failed to confirm this.
A number of experimental options are underway. These include the use of targeted agents, such as Sorafenib. Initial Phase II trials suggested modest activity for this agent with acceptable toxicity. Larger scale studies are currently underway adding cytotoxic agents to drugs such as Doxorubicin. Lastly, intraarterial therapy, either as embolization or chemoembolization or infusion therapy using an implanted pump has undergone substantial study. There is, however, insufficient data to routinely recommend the use of intraarterial therapy, either using embolization, chemoembolization, or implanted pump outside of a study setting.
In summary, while several novel new agents are under study and offer at least hope of improved outcome, these are still experimental. Conventional systemic therapy using cytotoxic agents has only modest activity. Chemoembolization or embolization has offered palliation in selected patients, but careful assessment of the patient’s ability to tolerate this therapy, as well as assurance, for example, that the portal vein is patent, is important. A firm recommendation regarding the specific therapy to an 80 year old patient with extensive hepatocellular carcinoma can only be made by physicians who are actually seeing him. We would, of course, be happy to see the patient in New York or alternatively suggest that he be seen at a center with experience in treating hepatocellular carcinoma.
I hope this is of some use. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. Best personal regards.
Sincerely yours, ……………., MD, FACP
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center 1275 York Avenue, New York, New York 10021


August 9, 2006

Rinpoche is now in Gurgaun private hospital, which is located next to the airport in Delhi. It is not 100% sure that Rinpoche will be treated there, but he is certainly resting there and they have done some basic tests on him.

Rudy


August 8, 2006

Dear friends,

I am writing to let you know that Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche is now in Delhi, preparing to receive some radiotherapy.

After returning from Israel, Rinpoche proceeded to Dharamsala. Unfortunately Rinpoche's general condition appeared to be deteriorating in Dharamsala: persistent diarrhea and total lack of appetite resulted in further loss of weight. Soon Rinpoche started feeling uncomfortable when sitting crossed-legged and had to start using a chair. At one point the doctors suspected that there might have been liquid collecting in his lungs.

However, an x-ray in Delek hospital revealed that Rinpoche's lungs were clear. His Holiness the Dalai Lama performed a second observation and for the second time the mo indicated that Tibetan medicine was the best treatment, but radiotherapy might be beneficial as well. With the all clear from the x-rays, Dr Tseten as well as His Holiness agreed that Rinpoche could travel as far as New Delhi in order to receive radiotherapy while still relying on Tibetan medicine.

With this advice, Rinpoche proceeded to Delhi where he is now resting. For the last couple of days the diarrhea has stopped, Rinpoche has slept well and he seems to have more interest in taking food. We are all very happy with these small signs of improvement and hope that Rinpoche will soon start showing more signs of gaining his strength and vitality.

Rinpoche and Alak are very grateful to all those who made Rinpoche's trip down to Delhi possible and are very satisfied with the level of care they have received.

I will be back with more medical updates as the situation develops.

Best wishes,

Voula


August 6, 2006

Rinpoche is scheduled to travel to New Delhi (by air from Jammu) tomorrow.

Rudy Harderwijk


August 5, 2006

Rinpoche has decided (also on the advice of His Holines the Dalai Lama) to have radiation treatment. Due to his health condition, this is planned to happen in a New Delhi hospital. Further details are not yet known to me.
According to the doctors, this will not cure the cancer, but it can slow it down.

Rudy Harderwijk


July 29/30, 2006

News extracted from phone and email correspondence with Prof. Brenner, who was in charge of Rinpoche's treatment in Israel:

Prof. Brenner sees no possible cure. He did mention the possibility of a liver transplant, but would not recommend it himself. Rinpoche may not be interested in that option. Prof. Brenner advises radiation treatment. Under the circumstances, Prof. Brenner also does not advise any pharmacological or chemotherapy treatment.

Rinpoche has not yet decided to have treatment. We have no news of what the Tibetan doctors are advising.


July 23, 2006

Dear Friends,

We have just received the results of Rinpoche's biopsy. As you can see there are some good news there, together with the bad ones.

What does not appear in the doctor's email is a fourth option, which is that of liver transplant. Although such an operation is not recommended for patients over 50 years old, the doctors have commented that although Rinpoche's biological age is 80 years old, the age of his organs is much younger due to his practices and capacity to control mind and body. Therefore, a liver transplant is one of the possibilities discussed at the moment. Already two people have offered to act as donors for Rinpoche.

For the nest week we will analyze all results and suggestions made and ultimately request an opinion from HH the Dalai Lama.

Thank you very much for all your interest and support,

Voula

Here is the message from Rinpoche's doctors:

Dear Voula
Thank you for your patience, I know it isn't easy at all.
Today I got the answer from my father saying the tumor is Hepatocelular Carcinoma (HCC). It is the most common tumor and it usually develops in patients with hepatitis B or C virus or liver chirrhosis. Rinpoche tested negatve for this viruses. It can also be caused by prolonged exposures to AFLATOXIN which is a kind of mycotoxin (from fungi) which is carcinogenic (causes cancer) and is found in food . It is known to be an important health hazard in Asia. From western medicine point of view it is not the target of the treatment since it already caused the cancer , and the tumor should be treated. Rinpoche has 3 good prognostic criteria : 1- no ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity) 2- no elevated bilirubin (no jaundice) 3- good level of albumin (protein syntesized by the liver).
On the other hand the tumor is very large and the cancer marker (called AFP) is very elevated. The options in general are 1- surgery 2- hepatic artery embolization and chemotherapy 3- alcohol or radiofreqency ablation 4- cryoablation . Rinpoche has a big tumor which is not resectable but it appears most of it is necrotic (not alive), possibly it doesn't get enough blood and it dies (or something else which has to do with Rinpoche's abilities). I think first of all is very important to consider Rinpoche's phisycal and mental condition. Physically he fells well, he has good prognostic factors and he is in a very good general condition. I believe he also has mental abilities which enable him to influence his physical condition. Anyway he will send on Sunday all the official documents, release form, etc.

End of message.


July 19, 2006
Dear friends,

This is a quick message to let you all know that Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche and Alak are both resting in Delhi after a comfortable flight out of Tel Aviv. Rinpoche is resting and happy to be back in India. Tomorrow, July 20, they will be travelling to Dharamsala.

A lot of people have expressed the wish to visit Rinpoche in Dharamsla. It is completely understandable that most of you feel the need to see Him and communicate with Him at this time. However Rinpoche really needs the time and space to relax, adjust and just concentrate on his practices. I have to stress that all activities such as interviews, teachings, travelling etc., have been completely removed from Rinpoche's schedule.

I have relayed every message that I received and you will be very happy to know that Rinpoche acknowledged every single message and was so pleased to hear about your wishes, prayers, practices, retreats and so on.

I would like to thank all those you have send medical suggestion, advices, recommendations and inspiring stories. I have forwarded all medical emails to Rinpoche's doctors and they have assured me that they are taking every suggestion into consideration. From their side they recognise Rinpoche as being a very special person and the most unusual patient. This is one of the main reasons they have not even attempted to give us a time estimate, since they believe that Rinpoche has the power to control his physical functions. This is a remarkable remark from doctors who have just met Rinpoche for the last week. They are not students or buddhist. So when they make any recommendations they will certainly take into consideration Rinpoche's special characteristics as well.

Further Rinpoche would like to thanks the Friends of Dharma in Israel, for their exceptional level of organisation and support and the warmth of their love and care. A heartfelt thank you to those sponsors who helped with all medical and travel expenses.

Best wishes to all,
voula


  Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Alak Rinpoche and Voula
 
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Alak Rinpoche and Voula
in a bombshelter. Click to enlarge.

July 17, 2006

First of all I would like to let you all know that Rinpoche is recovering in Caesarea, a small city by the sea, between Haifa and Tel Aviv. We are staying in a very peaceful place with wonderful gardens and we are all quite comfortable. Many peopel have asked me to include them in the email list, but I would like to ask you to please pass the messages around yourselved. Due to the deteriorating situation here we are not always able to connect, and if we connect we do not have much time.

Yesterday (Sunday) has been a very testing day. Rinpoche was scheduled to have his biopsy in the morning sometime between 9-12. Around 9am rockets started falling in Haifa, some of them pretty close to Bnai Zion hospital where Rinpoche was hospitalized. In the beginning doctors and nurses were jokingly saying that if it got any worse they would all come into Rinpoche's room for refuge. However, by 9.30 the rockets were falling fast and furious and the alarm sirens started ringing. We were told that we had to be evacuated in the bomb shelter, three stories under ground level. Rinpoche did not have much strength at that time and we were all worried about having to walk down what seemed to be endless steps. Once at the bomb refuge, we made ourselves as comfortable as possible and started reciting as many mantras we could do. A lot of people were crying and everyone was trying to use their mobile phones. Of course it was impossible to connect with so many people calling each other and while being under masses of cement. Soon people gave up trying to reach friends and family on their mobile phones and gradually those who had cameras on their mobiles started taking pictures of Rinpoche and Alak, commenting that they were the only two people still smiling in the mist of all the panic and fear.

We were told that there would be no hope of carrying the biopsy on Sunday as the hospital had to prepare to receive casualties. The doctors were to perform only emergency operations. At that point we started wondering who long we might have to stay in the bomb shelter….Around 11.45 a nurse came to say that the doctor who was to perform the biopsy really wanted to help Rinpoche and since the bombing appeared to ease at that time, we were hurried up at the ground level of the hospital. By the time it took Rinpoche to assume the necessary position for the biopsy the sirens started ringing again and we could clearly hear rockets exploding. We were rushed to a room near by where we had to wait for about half an hour. The explosions were constant. Rinpoche started telling us the story of his escape from Tibet in detail, but at the end he agreed that the situation we were in appeared to be more intensive.

Luckily after half an hour the firing of rockets eased a bit and the doctor came to take us to the biopsy room again. He gave Rinpoche some brief instructions and told us that he would try to be as quick as possible, because technically we were not supposed to leave the shelter at all. As the procedure of the biopsy began, the explosion of the rockets intensified and at one point the doctor turned his eyes to the ceiling and said: "can you please hold these rockets for a little while? I am trying to perform a biopsy to one of the teachers of the Dalai Lama!" we all had a good laugh, including Rinpoche who was supposed to remain very still for the duration of the procedure. The needle biopsy was completed in about 7 minutes and by then the bombing had almost stopped. From that time on Rinpoche had to remain laying on his back and was not supposed to rise or walk for about 4 hours. We had to monitor his blood pressure and pulse every fifteen minutes. Just as Rinpoche was settled in his room, the sirens started ringing again. We felt completely hopeless because by that time Rinpoche was not allowed to rise but also he was not in a condition to walk. So we just remained in Rinpoche's room, frantically reciting as many mantras as we could.

Gradually the situation eased, and by 5pm things had more or less returned to normal. We were able to leave the hospital at 6.30 pm after all the doctors and nurses came in to thank Rinpoche for having stayed in their hospital. They all said that they felt a sense of peace during the whole day and many brought pictures of their families to be blessed.

We were relieved to leave Haifa behind and soon reached Caesarea which felt like heaven, after the days' experiences. Rinpoche will be leaving from Tel Aviv airport early Tuesday morning and is expected to arrive in Dharamsala on the evening of Thursday, 20 of July.

The results of the biopsy should be ready by the end of the week.

I'll be in touch,
Voula


July 17, 2006

Dear FPMT Family,

Please find below the latest update on Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's health (sent by Voula Zarpani, who is with Rinpoche in Israel), together with advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche has checked (and there is no conflict here with the advice from Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche says) and Lama Zopa Rinpoche's advice to students for Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's health is the following:

1) Long life tsa tsas x 1300
2) 16 x The 16 Arhant puja
3) Liberation of 100,000 animals
4) Recitation of Vajrasattva mantra*** (as many as you can) and/or doing self initiation

Please dedicate to Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's long life and for the fulfilment of all his wishes.

These practices can be done individually or as a group. So, if you would like to commit to what you can do at your center or individually, as quickly as possible, and let me know, then as soon as we have reached the totals above, we will let everybody know.


love Claire (FPMT International Office)


July 16, 2006
Dear Friends,

Here is yesterdays update. Haifa has been under serious attack this morning as we were waiting to have the biopsy. We were hurried down to the shelter and stayed there for several hours. some time later the doctors made every effort possible to perform the biopsy even as the sirens were ringing and rockets started falling again. All test are now completed. Rinpoche has to rest in the hospital for 6 hours. Right after that we are leaving Haifa for Cecaria, a small town to the south. Rinpoche and Alak, and Amy are flying out of Tel Aviv 6.30 am Tuesday, with Swiss Air.

Will write more later. PLEASE PASS ON THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE TO EVERYONE. I have to run in order to complete all necessary preparations for Rinpoche's release from the hospital.

much love,
Voula

We have received so many emails from all over the world, full of good wishes, prayers, concerns, questions and of course much love. Many people have asked whether there are some specific practices that should be done for Rinpoche’s health and Rinpoche has indicated that the best practices to be performed in this occasion are the recitation of the Samantabhadra ‘s Prayer* (the King of Prayers) and Medicine Buddha mantras**.

Today we spend most of the day discussing various pending issues. Rinpoche has given a number of specific instructions regarding the completion of various projects, such as translations - especially of his biography - publications, financial matters and so forth. Rinpoche has made it very clear that he wishes to see certain things finalized and clarified as soon as possible. I will be contacting some of you to pass on Rinpoche’s instructions within the week.

In the afternoon Rinpoche spoke about his recent experiences to the core group of the Friends of Dharma, who have invited us to Israel . The talk has been videotaped and I am sure that at some stage it will be transcribed. Here are some of the points that Rinpoche made:

“Soon after I was informed about the results of my CT scan, people asked me whether I wished to publicize my condition or not. I always thought that trying to hide one’s age or state of health, is very strange. So I asked my translator to let people know what is going on.

I am fully aware of the fact that the disease, especially at this stage, is incurable. But I am not sad, or disappointed in any way. When Professor Oliven Arye informed me of the presence of a tumor in my liver, I thought immediately that he was so very, very kind. He was extremely kind to me.
We all practice tong-len with the specific aim to prolong the life of HH the Dalai Lama. Of course I have recited certain verses from Lama Choepa many times:
“And thus compassionate gurus, we seek your blessings that all karmic debts, obstacles and suffering of mother beings, may without exception, ripen upon us right now and that we may give our happiness and virtue to others and thereby invest all beings in peace.”
, as well as
“ In order to rescue all beings from the vast seas of existence we seek our blessings to become adept in bodhichitta through a pure selfless wish, and by love and compassion conjoined with the visual technique of mounting, giving and taking upon your breath”
.
But it was more or less mere theory for me.

When I was told that I have cancer, I did not feel sad or upset. On the contrary my mind was uplifted, and it felt light and open. I thought: “Finally, I have the chance to put this theory into practice now! My prayers have come true. How wonderful!”. I intent to use whatever time I have left in order to deepen my practice of tong-len. What would be the benefit of trying to conceal my situation? I think it is far better that people know that I have come to manifest this tumor and now I can really practice. I don’t want you to be sad. I want you to be happy and inspired since I now have such a wonderful opportunity to practice in a way that all bodhisattvas do. My doctor has been so kind to me. Why would I ever want to hide the fact that I am now practicing in the footsteps of the bodhisattvas?”

Towards the end of the talk Rinpoche expressed his wish to record his experiences as the disease develops further. He believes that this material can be very useful to many other cancer patients, their families and hospices, everywhere in the world.

Finally Rinpoche has explicitly said that he wishes to reduce the number and duration of interviews once he returns to Dharamsala.

I am aware that many of you are worried about the rapid deterioration of the situation in Israel and its neighboring countries. Rinpoche has decided to travel back to India with a more direct flight, as soon as the biopsy is completed and he is released from the hospital. We expect to be ready to fly as early as Monday or Tuesday. Although we can hear airplanes flying above Haifa all day, the atmosphere here is still peaceful, and hopefully it will remain so for the following days.

I will keep you updated,

Voula


July 14, 2006
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche in hospital  at Haifa, Israel   
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche in hospital at Haifa, Israel,
click to enlarge
.
 

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that I writing this email to inform you about Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche's health.

For the last month or so, Rinpoche had been experiencing some health problems that unfortunately intensified during Rinpoche's visit to Israel. The problem manifested as intermitted diarrhea resulting in gradual loss of weight. We decided to run a number of routine test and soon after that Rinpoche was admitted to the hospital. A CT scan revealed a big tumor in Rinpcohe's liver. The size of the tumor is such that it is not possible to be removed with an opperation. Although the doctors are 99,99% sure of their diagnose, a biopsy will be performed on Sunday and a few days later we will consult with an oncologist. Rinpoche's wish is to cancel any further travel and teachings scheduled for the rest of the year and return to India, as soon as the consultation with the oncologist is completed.

I understand that most of you must also be worried due to the latest developments in the Middle East. Although Haifa has been hit by two rockets yesterday, the atmosphere here is calm and we do not feel under threat. Our hosts have been extremely caring and supportive and the stuff in the hospital has been amazing.

Needless to say that Rinpoche has completely transformed the hospital ward: doctors and nurses are fighting over the privilege to attend to him and there is a constant stream of patient in the corridor, hopping to catch a glimpse of Rinpoche. Rinpoche is not in pain and he keeps smiling and blessing everyone. Most of the nurses by now know how to say "Tashi Delek" and "Thu-je-che" because they are so eager to communicate with Him.

Although today has been an emotional day, Rinpoche himself made every effort to entertain us. He started recalling funny stories and events that took place in different countries and at the end we just could not help laughing. Rinpoche's room is not an ordinary hospital room: it feels quite different and whoever comes in for a visit, does not seem to be in a hurry to leave! Of course Rinpoche and Alak maintain their privacy and have plenty of rest.

I will keep you all updated as the results of the biopsy become available.

Best wishes,
Voula


Summary of advised practices for Rinpoche

(You can click on the underlined links for more information.)

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche has indicated that the best practices to be performed in this occasion are:

- Recitation of Samantabhadra ‘s Prayer or the 'King of Prayers' (now also available in Polish), and you can listen to Rinpoche's commentary on this prayer at Lamrim Radio.
- Medicine Buddha mantras** (also advised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama) and
- Medicine Buddha puja
- 10th (dedication) chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara (Guide to the Bodhisattva's way of life)

Lama Zopa Rinpoche's advice to students for Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's health is the following:

1) Long life tsa tsas x 1300
2) 16 x The 16 Arhant puja
3) Liberation of 100,000 animals
4) Recitation of Vajrasattva mantra*** (as many as you can) and/or doing self initiation
Please dedicate to Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's long life and for the fulfilment of all his wishes.
These practices can be done individually or as a group.

Also on September 30:
Please do Lama Chopa puja and offer Lama Chopa tsog - and as part of the tsog recite the two tsog verses which Lama Zopa Rinpoche translated as
many times as you can. (These verses are on page 119 in the FPMT Lama Chopa booklet. Also, there are instructions there on how to do the extra tsog offering verses.)

Please count the number of times each person recites those two verses and let me know so I can keep count and work out if Rinpoche's student can offer 100,000 tsog offerings.

During Lama Chopa, when you reach the long life prayer for the gurus verse in the 7 Limb Prayer section please recite this verse slowly 3 to 5 times strongly praying for Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's long life. At the end of the puja please dedicate with the King of Prayers.

There are three specific dedication prayers to make when you finish the above:

1. For all Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's Holy wishes to succeed.
2. To purify our own negative karma.
3. For Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's long life.

Then make your usual dedications.

Note: a new long-life prayer combined with Guru-Yoga was written for Rinpoche by Kirti Tulku, and is now available at the end of Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's page.

** Medicine Buddha mantra:

Long version:
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE BHAISHAJYE / GURU BAIDURYA / PRABHA RADJAYA / TATHAGATAYA / ARHATE SAMYAKSAM BUDDHAYA / TADYATHA / OM BHAISHAJYE BHAISHAJYE MAHA BHAISHAJYE [BHAISHAJYE ]** / RAJA SAMUDGATE SVAHA

Short version:
TADYATHA / OM BHAISHAJYE BHAISHAJYE MAHA BHAISHAJYE [BHAISHAJYE]** / RAJA SAMUDGATE SVAHA

[Common pronunciation: TAYATA OM BHEKANDZYE BHEKANDZYE MAHA BHEKANDZYE [BHEKANDZYE]** RADZA SAMUDGATE SOHA.]

** word in brackets is optional

*** Vajrasattva Mantra:

Om vajrasattva samayam anupālaya vajrasattva tveno patishtha
dridho me bhava sutokayo me bhava supokayo me bhava
anurakto me bhava sarva siddhim me prayaccha
sarvakarmasu ca me cittam śreyam kuru hūm
ha ha ha ha hoh bhagavan sarvatathāgata vajra mā me muñca
vajrī bhava mahā samayāh sattva āh hūm phat