By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 6: Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche known simply as Chatral Rinpoche has passed away on Dec. 31, 2015 at Pharping, Nepal at the age of 102.
He was born on 18 June 1913 in Kham region in Tibet. He was one of the foremost Dzogchen Masters from the Nyingmapa lineage. Rinpoche is one of the few living disciples of Khenpo Ngagchung and also studied with some of the most renowned masters of the last century including Dudjom Rinpoche, Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro and the Dakini Sera Khando. Rinpoche is one of the primary lineage holders of the Longchen Nyingthing.
Dungsey Garab Rinpoche posted in Face book, “Chatral Rinpoche, Sangye Dorje has passed away. He lived for over 100 years and was one of the last living disciples of Khenpo Ngawang Palzang, Vimalamitra in human form. He was a Dzogchen master and a reclusive yogi known for his great realization and strict discipline.”
Another Lama, Dzongsar Jamyang Kyentse Rinpoche, described the passing away of Rinpoche as losing a “sentry who was zealously guarding the Buddha dharma”. In a message posted on his website, he wrote, “Around him, paraphernalia like gold-plated roofs and thrones are nowhere to be found. He was a Chatral in the true sense. Just knowing he was alive and breathing somewhere between Siliguri and Pharping made our hearts quake. Even though we never got to see him, especially towards the end of his life – and I myself was refused an audience 20 times or more – his mere presence on this earth shattered hypocrisy.”
Chatral Rinpoche shunned institutional life and lived his life as a wandering yogi retreating in hermitages in remote areas of India and Nepal. However, he commanded the respect and adulation of many recognized Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhism.
Chatral Rinpoche was a staunch advocate of vegetarianism and is known to have bought countless animals from slaughter houses to be freed, a practice he performed throughout his life.
He is survived by his wife Kamala and his two daughters, Tara Devi and Saraswati.
The passing of Chatral Rinpoche marks the demise of the second lama in the last few weeks from the Nyingmapa lineage following the passing of Kyabjé Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, the head of Nyingma tradition on Dec. 23, 2015.