Under cloudless blue skies, the consecration of Khandro Tsering Chödrön’s memorial stupa took place at Lerab Ling in France on 31st July 2014. His Holiness Sakya Trizin,
the supreme head of the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism, and a gathering of eminent masters who have a close connection to Khandro presided over the ceremonies. The consecration took place on Chökhor Düchen, the day that celebrates the Buddha’s first turning of the wheel of Dharma—one of the most holy days in the Tibetan Buddhist calendar. There was a joyful atmosphere as one thousand people took part in a full day of practice in the sunshine in front of the stupa, and thousands more joined via video streaming in 26 countries around the world.
Khandro Tsering Chödrön was one of the greatest practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism of recent times. She was the spiritual wife of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö—and she was a true dakini, loved and revered by all the masters, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and an inspiration to Buddhist practitioners everywhere.
Khandro spent the final years of her life at Lerab Ling with her nephew Sogyal Rinpoche and her sister Mayumla Tsering Wangmo. She inspired everyone she met with her exceptional wisdom, grace and compassion, and all were struck by the atmosphere that she created simply through her presence.
As one person said, “Khandro-la’s very being was a blessing to all who came in contact with her, because in one glimpse, one could receive this profound teaching from her, just because of who she was and how she was.” Another said, “To be with Khandro was like coming home. It was a feeling of freedom; of resting in yourself, of being content with yourself, and of being completely happy.”
Many visitors to Lerab Ling have established a strong connection with Khandro merely by seeing a photograph of her—even those who are not Buddhist practitioners.
Khandro’s magnificent memorial stupa was the vision of Sogyal Rinpoche, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche and many other masters, and the consecration provided an opportunity to remember her extraordinary life and invoke her blessings.
The fact that such a great gathering of lamas was present at Lerab Ling reflected the tremendous love, respect and devotion that all the masters had for Khandro. His Holiness Sakya Trizin, who after His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the most respected masters in the Tibetan Buddhist lineage, was accompanied by his wife Gyalyum Chenmo-la, and together with his youngest son, Khondung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche, he conducted the consecration according to the Sakya tradition. At the same time, there was a consecration according to the Nyingma tradition conducted by Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche, Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Rangdrol Rinpoche and Tulku Rigdzin Pema
Since the time of the Buddha himself, it has been customary to construct stupas to enshrine the relics of great masters—as symbols of their enlightened mind and because a stupa is a powerful means through which these teachers can continue to bring immeasurable benefit in the future. It is said that simply for us to set eyes on a stupa is enough to create a connection that will eventually lead to our enlightenment.
After the ceremonies, His Holiness Sakya Trizin remarked on how perfect the consecration had been, saying: “Before the consecration it was raining, and after it was raining, but on that particular day it was really pure. There were absolutely no clouds. It was really clear. I think this is a very significant sign that it was very auspicious… Everything went very smoothly without any kind of problems, so this is a very auspicious beginning.”
The stupa, which contains relics of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö and Khandro Tsering Chödrön, along with countless scriptures and other precious objects, was adorned with a beautiful brocade canopy and five-coloured silk, streaming down from its golden spire. Beneath a photograph of Khandro, a garland of flowers was placed on the stupa bearing the inscription:
You can read more about Khandro’s stupa and how it was constructed in the latest issue of View magazine http://bit.ly/memorialstupa