94-year-old Buddhist master Rinpoche to be mummified in Rewalsar

Updated on Sep 23, 2019 11:21 PM IST

Rinpoche breathed in his last on Thursday around 2:15am. His disciples believe that the Buddhist master was in a high-meditative stage known as the Togden.

Hindustan Times | By, Shimla

Four days after his death, the disciples of 94-year-old high ranking monk, Wangdor Rinpoche, have initiated the process to preserve the body at a quaint monastery in Rewalsar in Mandi district.

Rinpoche breathed in his last on Thursday around 2:15am. His disciples believe that the Buddhist master was in a high-meditative stage known as the Togden.

“The master is in high meditative stage of trance. Other teachers in the monastery will take the final decision to preserve the body which will be mummified later,” said a disciple, Hara Zigar.

“His body temperature is almost normal,” he added.  

Rinpoche was a part of the group, led by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa. The Tibetan government-in-exile that never got recognition from any country is based in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.

Rinpoche spent almost 45 years meditating in a cave above Tso-Pema (Lotus Lake). During his course of mediation, he was joined by 50 yoginis (female master practitioner of yoga).

 At the age of 4, Rinpoche had his first experience of living in a cave with his uncle. Since his early life, he spent majority of his time retreating in the caves and constructed a monastery and a retreat centre near the lake in In 1970. The Buddhist master held both Nyingma and Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

The religion has four major traditions—Nyingma, Kagyü, Sakya and Gelug—that differs from each others in teachings and practices, commonly emphasising on Buddhist path. Followers of Nyingma, the oldest of the four sects, wear red robes and caps while the Kagyu followers wear black caps.

The Sakya tradition came into existence in 11th century followed by Gelup, headed by Ganden Tripa.

In Tibetan Buddhism, it is believed that high-ranking monks, Tulkus, are reborn. Tulku is a fully enlightened one (Buddha) or highly accomplished monk (Siddha) who chooses to be reborn again and again for the benefit of all beings. Most Tulkus, though, are the rebirths of well-trained masters who are engaged in spiritual training and serving others.

4 mummies of monks in HP

Himachal Pradesh is home to four more mummies of monks. The oldest is at Geu village, located at an altitude of 10,000 feet, in Lahaul and Spiti district on the Indo-Tibet border, 340 km from Shimla.The mummy was found by a team of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) after an earthquake hit the region in 1975.

Besides the mummy of Kyabjé Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche preserved near Shimla, Tibetan monks have preserved the body of Togdin Amratin, a Tibetan meditating master, who died in 2006. His body has been preserved at Khampagar monastery at Tashi Jong, 60 km from Dharamshala.

The mummy of Kyabjé Ling Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama’s teacher, is preserved at the Tibetan spiritual leader’s residence in Dharamshala.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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