To most, death puts a damper on life
it spoils the party, doesn’t it, so to speak

Perhaps at the end of our life,
when our bodies are receptacles for pain
we no longer want to be here
but if we are healthy in both mind and body
nobody wants to relinquish life

death is as natural as life is
in fact, no moment can exist with just life
Each moment starts with birth
and ends with death
so change itself
the pervasive power of the universe
is not possible
without both life and death
These two are abstractions
that describe a part of the same fundamental essence

We live our lives in each moment
but each and every one of us keeps an unpleasant secret
like a thorn in our side that refuses to be removed
…the knowledge that this life we live
will come to an end one day

For many
if it were not for a strong self-denial of this unpleasantness,
we could not cope

And while many flock to religion,
if we are to be brutally honest with ourselves
that too is most often than not a form of self denialism
Deep down, if we are honest enough to look at our personal practice of religion
we may find at the basis
just stories, mental fabrications and wishful thinking
instead of the direct experience of certainty that we long for

Knowing this, should it not be our greatest responsibility to ourselves and to others
to devote some serious attention to this issue of our own mortality?
Indeed, should our death not be the ultimate concern of our life?

For what meaning can this life possibly have
if we have not once seriously considered
that everything we do in this life
will one day be left behind?


I often ask people about their long term plans
and while many talk about career plans, plans to have family, plans to retire
nobody talks about planning for the longest term…our own death

And again, many may claim to be practicing religion
to prepare for death
but if we do this delusively
just feeding ourselves intellectually stimulating stories
once again, those become nothing but empty calories
and on our deathbed, any uncertainty will arise
as sure as the taxman will come collect his debts from you

Being in this life appears to be the briefest
while our death appears eternal

Our authentic journey only begins,
our life can only be authentic
when we have the courage to face our fear and confusion about our own death

yin yang grad




The Germ of Yin 
exists within all Yang

The Germ of Yang
exists within all Yin

So too, life and death interpenetrate each other

How can something, this awareness
come from a true and pure “nothing”?

By definition, such a pure “nothing” would mean complete nilhism
which means nothing could arise from it
much less full-blown awareness
which you know with certainty 
that you yourself possess

True “nothing” would imply
lack of even potentiality
of this state of human awareness arising

If we think about it, “Nothing” is just a very high level mental fabrication
a trick that awareness plays upon itself
because awareness has conditioned itself to theories of materialism

So when we die
we transition from Death
to the very same place we were at 
at the time of Birth
which is effectively saying
the transition is from Death to Birth

If at birth, nothing became something
then at death, something becomes nothing
but the potentiality in the state of “nothing”
must then be the same potentiality we return to
at the time of death

The ground state in which no human being exists
in which the expression of the nameless may not even take 
this form of human awareness
(indeed, how could it if there are no more sense organs and no more brain to serve as the foundation of thoughts)
the state in which we have forfeited these bodies
cannot lack potentiality
by virtue of the fact that we are




Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche

Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche passed into paranirvana on Mar 30, 2012. His entire sacred death has been recorded as an invaluable example of what it means to die. Rinpoche was in the state of meditation at the time of death known as Thugdam. There, after death, he remained sitting in meditation for 5 days. Then when he was cremated on May 23, 2012, many relics were found amongst the cremation remains:




You all know that we opened the the phur khang (cremation stupa). Now there is the breaking news: this afternoon Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche’s shabjis discretely went through the relics with great care because when we visit H.H. Karmapa we are required to explain all the details. For these reasons we reinspected the relics. You all know that Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche left his skull cup in which we haven’t found any letters or relic pills up until now. Then we looked through the remaining bones one by one, so far we could not find any syllables that appeared or see any relic pills till now. We heard that it can happen that the relic pills grow later on.

Then there was left what appeared to be a leg bone joined with something burned and black, quite big. Slowly we cleaned away the burned black coating. Then slowly underneath this coating we discovered the whole of Rinpoche’s spine. The hip bone completely burned away. On the spine in the neck area attached is the heart, lungs, liver, tongue and the lower part looks like the kidney. We could not find the eyes. All was attached together and became one pice while all the details clearly show.

When great masters pass away and leave these organs usually the eyes are included but we could not identify them. This relic Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche left is very precious and will be placed in the stupa that is going to be in the Tara shrine. This is really amazing and very rare.
So, that’s all for now.

Namaste, Tempa

(Source: from: The Relics of Kyabje Tenja Rinpoche)

Thukdam Rinpoche

Thukdam Rinpoched who taught in New Zealand and passed into paranirvana and his students allowed his body to be filmed showing no signs of rigor mortis or smell afterwards.








Father Francis Tiso and the study of Rainbow Body



Rev. Francis Tiso is an  ordained Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Isernia-Venafro and a religious scholar who holds a PhD and specializes in Tibetan Buddhist studies.  His dissertation was entitled“A Study of the Buddhist Saint in Relation to the Biographical Tradition of Milarepa” and was a study of the evolution of the concept of the holy person (arhat, bodhisattva, and siddha) in Buddhism, culminating in a literary analysis of several Tibetan biographies (rnam thar) of Milarepa, a popular poet and yogin. The dissertation includes a complete translation of an early, previously untranslated biography of Milarepa from the thirteenth century.

Rev. Tiso displays a remarkable openness to religion…straddling both the Christian and Buddhist traditions. His approach embodies religions as different types of vehicles which point to the same reality. His life focused is on the

Rainbow Body phenomena of the Tibetan Nyingma tradition, in which a Nyingma meditation master dissolves into the original body of life at the time of death. Analogs of this phenomena also exist in other religious traditions and Father Tiso comparative research project takes him far outside his own Christian traditions.

Rev. Tiso’s work in this direction involves:

  1. Research on deceased Tibetan master Khenpo A-Chos. Remaining to be done:
  2. examination of the yellow cloth now to be venerated as a relic at the gompa of Lo ma ga;
  3. collecting and analyzing the biography by Lobsang Nyiendrak at Zakhok Shang;
  4. collecting the five volumes of the works of Khenpo A-chos also at Zakhok Shang;
  5. further study of the practices both Nyingma and Gelug followed by the Khenpo;
  6. further interviews with his Dharma friend, Lama A-chos of Yas Che Gompa who also claims to have the ability to manifest the rainbow body (here Father Tiso entertains the possibility of  photograph this yogin manifesting the light body while still alive).

Rev. Tiso writes that “it  is evident that Khenpo A-chos is not the only recent example of manifestation of the body of light/rainbow body after death.” Rev. Tiso relates the research work on the achievement of the body of light, investigating the phenomena in many traditions:

  1. Henk Blezer in Holland is now studying the case of the Bon po master, Sharrdza (1859-1935). Research on other Bon po cases  underway in central Tibet;
  2. Swami Ramalinga of Tamily Nadu manifested the body of light in 1874 and his Tamil Siddha tradition continues to propogate and practice the yogas associated with the manifestation of the body of light.
  3. Claims are  made for Taoist masters;
  4. Light phenomena after death are  reported for various Christian saints such as Peter Celestine (1215-1296); Sergius of Radonezh (1314-1392); Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833);
  5. There are other accounts of post-mortem manifestation especially in the Eastern Christian traditions;
  6. And of course the apparitions of Christ and the Virgin Mary seem also to be connected to the body of light in some way as yet to be determined;
  7. In Christianity, the post-resurrectional body not only of Christ but of all the saints is believed to be: impassible, subtle, agile, and luminous (St. Thomas Aquinas, ST Suppl. 85, I); some saints in the Beatific Vision seem already to have these features (the dream appearances of the medical saints Cosmas and Damian, who are said to have performed medical procedures in their light bodies ever since their martyrdom in the late third century)



Seeing how a human being authentically experiences death
as a most sacred moment
will have profound effect on beings

It shows that we need not fear death
but embrace it as naturally as we embrace life
and that can only spontaneously arouse compassion and wisdom
in all those who witness it

When it comes down to it,
everything we do in life comes down to that final moment, doesn’t it?

Death is the most sacred moment
not to be feared
but to be understood
then penetrated with the wisdom that already knows
that it is not bad, wrong or evil
but as natural a state
as coming into the world in the first place

Most of us are not prepared to die
At that final moment
what arises within us spontaneously
is a combination of intense fear, attachment, sadness and confusion

This is why our teachers teach us
to begin getting AUTHENTICALLY comfortable
with our own death NOW
Use this life to let go of everything we can conceivably think of
and most of all
let go of our attachment to this life itself

Let go of all relationships,
all those we cherish
Let go of feelings of comfort and peace
within this body we inhabit
Let go of all the knowledge we have accumulated
and that we are proud of
Let go of all the triumphs in our life
that in our mind distinguishes us from others
For in the eyes of the infinite
everything we have done
will be engulfed, recycled and vanished forever

The great lesson of life
is that wonder is all around
and not just in those aspects of experience
for which we have formed attachments
it is in those things we love
as well as those things we hate
and those things we are indifferent to

It is our own conceptual filters
that causes us to become fond of one thing and not another
while in reality
everything is of one equal taste

We cling fearfully onto the small island of comfort
which we have created for ourselves
not knowing that the entire world is blessed
and full of that which we seek
Attaching to that which we value
creates artificial value
and forever disallows us from seeing
that everything is already golden, sacred and blissful
as soon as it comes into being

That is why there is truly no enemies
for if we penetrate our own layers of obscurations
to receive the wisdom
that our attachment is like a rose-colored lense
coloring this one-taste, sacred reality
then we will free ourselves
to see the sacred everywhere and in everything
We occupy the mandala of the pureland right here and now
and always have

Hence even this body and this life
is a gift that needs not be attached to
We haven’t lifted a finger to come into being
it’s all been taken care of for us
just as our nonbeing will be taken care of for us

Our fear of death
is that this consciousness we have
which allows us to become aware of everything around us
will disappear

And yet
this consciousness itself was a gift brought into being
by forces beyond its own awareness

It is our tendency to be anthropomorphic
because we see everything from the view of this human consciousness we have been blessed with
yet can consciousness ever apprehend that superconsciousness which gave rise to it?

Within each of us
this multitude of diversity and variation
lies the common seed of the superconsciousness which birthed us all
and trying to apprehend it through analysis
will always be an inherently anthropomorphic exercise

The state of pure being
is that which we are already blessed with
and intuitively know that the answer somehow lies there
even though the analytic mind rails against it
because it is powerless to do a single thing in that sphere

So this journey of life
is the journey of letting go
is the journey of falling into being
and relaxing the state of doing
so much so
that we come to recognize doing itself
as yet another state of pure being
then all is well
and we have travelled full circle

An analogy might be that we walk a circular-appearing path that is not limited to a 2 dimensional X,Y plane
but actually embedded in 3 dimensional X,Y,Z space
so when we return to the same apparent place in the 2 dimensional X,Y plane
we have traced not a circular path within the plane
but rather, a 3 dimensional path along a spiral in the Z direction
so that when the spiral projects onto the X,Y plane
it appears to be a circular path
so in the ordinary mundane world, we appear to return to exactly where we started from
just accepting being in the world
yet, it is different as well, because our journeys have taken us in a 3rd hitherto unseen direction
and what this gives us
that we did not have before
is complete acceptance of being
in the state of being
and this means
accepting our own mortality
and authentically letting go of our life

From the view of scarcity
we try to distinguish ourselves from everyone else
we don’t want to appear as everyone else
we want to appear superior to everyone else
hence we continually want to differentiate ourselves from everyone else
and this is the ignorance that creates ego

When our wisdom eye is opened
we see from a view of abundance
and we are no longer afraid of being the same as everyone else
In fact, we see all beings as sacred
and the concept of “better” is seen as a conceptual abstraction
imposed upon the living sacred mandala.

Authentically accepting our own death
is an incredibly powerful goal to strive towards
because it will cleanse us of our obscurations
which continue to bring suffering into existence

While we are still alive (what other opportunity is there?)
we must develop the confidence
that our death is not what this society preconceives it to be
and this liberating view
can only come about through intense self-discovery
that reveals our true nature in all its glory

Life is sacred
and that means
Life/Death is sacred

E Ma Ho!
How wonderful this life/death is!