By Kalsang Rinchen
Lati Rinpoche (1922 -2010)
Dharamsala, April 12 - His Eminence Khensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche passed away yesterday at his quarter inside the Tsuglakhang premise. Rinpoche was 88 years old. He was one of the leading Buddhist masters of Gelug (yellow hat) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Rinpoche breathed his last at 5:45 AM (Indian standard time) without any complications. He was not under any medical care. Rinpoche circumambulated His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s temple just moments before his demise. Rinpoche’s body has retained its heat as he is believed to be in a meditative state (Thugdham
as per Tibetan Buddhist Tantric practice, is explained as a stage in which a highly learned lama or practitioner with his life time practice of meditation is able to meditate on the ‘Clear Light Stage’, an ultimate process of inner dissolution of five elements and consciousness. The practitioners, while in Thukdham, are able to control their body from decomposition and to maintain the internal body heat.
His body will be flown to his monastery in Mundgod Tibetan settlement for final rites after he ends his meditative state.
Lati Rinpochs was the Abbot Emeritus of Gaden Shartse Monastery in Mundgod, South India, for eight years. Belonging to a very rare class of scholars, saints and practitioners who completed their religious studies in independent Tibet, Rinpoche continued to spread the Dharma by teaching at various monasteries and schools since he followed His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama into exile in 1959. Rinpoche had taught Buddhist studies to many young lamas as directed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Rinpoche was born in the Kham region of Eastern Tibet in 1922. He became a monk at the age of ten after being recognized as a reincarnated Lama. He joined the Ganden monastery, one of the three monastic universities of Tibet. He completed his Buddhist studies with Geshe Lharampa degree in 1959.