Thinley Norbu Rinpoche passes away at 80 (updated)

BBS, Bhutan’s National Public Service Broadcaster, has reported that the Nyingma lineage master His Holiness Dungtse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche has died today in New York. The son of Dudjom Rinpoche and the father of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche passed away at the age of eighty. He was considered to be an emanation of the fourteenth-century Nyingma master Longchempa. His body will be brought to Bhutan after 21 days.

A dedicated teacher, he left the world several books, including White Sail: Crossing the Waves of Ocean Mind to the Serene Continent of the Triple Gems and Cascading Waterfall of Nectar, in whose foreword Alak Zenkar Rinpoche wrote of Thinley Norbu:

“Although I never met His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche in person, I have a strong feeling of meeting him when encountering Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, the true son of his body, speech, and mind. He is the son of Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche’s Body, and their physical resemblance becomes more and more striking with the passage of time. He is the son of Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche’s Speech, as when I read some of these two great teachers’ writings, I am struck by the resemblance in the clarity and depth. He is the son of Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche’s Mind, as I became convinced that their wisdom, compassion, and ability are indistinguishable.”

Update: Upon hearing of Thinley Norbu’s passing, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche issued a statement to the sangha, outlining the late master’s wishes:

“Our lord protector His Holiness Kyabje Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche passed into parinirvana last night. Rinpoche wrote down a message for all of us, asking that everyone do Vajrasattva practice for three weeks. These were Rinpoche’s last vajra words for us.

“If you are able to join with sangha and do practice in your area with a lama, please do that. If possible, please join with our sangha at Pema Osel Ling to do the Dorsem Lama Chopa, at Kunzang Gatshal, or with your local sangha. If you are not able to do that or if there is no local sangha, it is fine to do any form of Vajrasattva practice according to any sadhana including Ngondro and the Hundred Syllable Mantra. Meditate that our lord protector Dungse Rinpoche is inseparable with Vajrasattva’s form. Meditating this way, take empowerment and receive blessings. Then as Vajrasattva dissolves into you, you become inseparable with Vajrasattva. Rest in formless meditation in this way, with your mind and Kyabje Dungse Rinpoche’s wisdom mind inseparable.

“This is the best way for us to get a taste of Kyabje Dungse Rinpoche’s wisdom mind, even though Rinpoche is not physically present. This stays with us inseparably until we reach enlightenment. Receiving Rinpoche’s blessings in this way is most essential. Now in particular, after Rinpoche’s wisdom mind has been uncovered from the physical elements and has merged with the vast dharmakaya, receiving Rinpoche’s blessings is more powerful even than when Rinpoche is alive. Rinpoche’s wisdom mind merges and pervades everywhere.

“Please do Vajrasattva practice every day. This is a very special opportunity to receive Kyabje Dungse Rinpoche’s blessings.

“Do not think that Rinpoche needs our help with puja. Don’t have that concept. This is our practice so that we can receive Rinpoche’s blessings and have a taste of Rinpoche’s wisdom mind and how to seal Rinpoche’s wisdom mind with our mind. That is the purpose for us to do puja with faith and devotion.”