Visit the Tranquil Village of Parping
Located in the picturesque Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, the small village of Parping is a picture of peace and tranquility. While being off the beaten track of commercial tourism, Parping is most likely best known for the retreat built by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche , as well as being the place where this well-respected spiritual leader’s cremation took place on 8 December 2003, a year after his death.
As a teacher of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche was renowned, not only in his home country of Nepal, but also in the Western world and he acted as a spiritual leader for countless students throughout the world. His talents were many and varied, including being an accomplished sculptor and painter, as well as a skilled physician. His inner serenity was reflected in his melodic chanting voice and his compassion for others. He was a firm believer in self-motivation and the motivating of others to achieve spiritual goals. In line with this, in 1998, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche built a retreat in Parping in 1998 with the purpose of initially training eight people according to the Kat’hog tradition under the tutelage of Kyabje Getse Tulku. Visitors to Parping will soon appreciate why this charming part of Nepal, set in the verdant Kathmandu Valley surrounded by majestic mountains, was the perfect choice for a retreat.
Having led a life of self-sacrifice, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche gave of himself right to the end. After completing a teaching session at about 9 pm on 16 November, he suffered heart failure in the early hours of the morning of 17 November 2002. Although he had taken his last breath, according to his son Jigme Tromge Rinpoche, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche remained in a state of meditation known as “t’hug dam” for a further six days. During this time he remained in a natural meditation posture with no-one touching his body and no deterioration that would normally occur following death. On Friday 22 November his meditation ended and his body started to go through the changes associated with death.
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche’s body was transported to the retreat center in Parping and forty-nine days of traditional and spiritual ceremonies followed. When his cremation took place on the full moon of 8 December 2003, more than a thousand of his students gathered in Parping to mourn the demise of his physical presence and to offer prayers for his eventual rebirth. Filmmaker Christopher Sheppard documented the ceremony in a film called “Wisdom Fire: The Cremation Ceremony of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche” which captures the emotions of those who had looked to Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche for guidance as they bid farewell. The film has been favorably received and the profits from the sale will be channeled into the Padmasambhava Pureland project in Brazil – a cause which was dear to the spiritual mentor’s heart.
Photograph sourced from flickr.com – user Wonderlane.