SECOND in a Series
This story is part of a series leading up to the celebration of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s 90th birthday in September, 2013. At the conclusion of this year’s Ten-Day Teaching, a large shrine dedicated to White Tara, the protectress of health and longevity, will be assembled at KTD as part of a three-day White Tara Puja for the benefit of His Holiness Karmapa and all the teachers of the lineage, especially to celebrate Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s 90th birthday, long life and dharma activity. The White Tara Shrine will include beautiful statues consecrated by Khenpo Rinpoche. To find out more, click here.
As Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s birthday approaches, his students from all over the world are feeling gratitude for the blessing of his continued teachings.
“He turning 90 years!” says Lama Karma Drodhul. “That’s amazing, right? I feel it’s amazing how long he can stay. We hardly see people reach 90 in Tibet. If they are in their 60s, they feel they have a quite long life.”
Many of the masters, such as Thrangu Rinpoche, have emphasized White Tara practice. Having written extensively about it in The Wish-Fulfilling Wheel: The Practice of White Tara, Khenpo Rinpoche himself has, at times in the past, credited White Tara with the protection of his health and well-being.
According to Lama Kathy Wesley, Khenpo Rinpoche shared a story about his special relationship to White Tara during a 1987 teaching at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra.
“In telling the story, Khenpo Rinpoche explained that when he was younger, he developed the thought that he would only live to be 60 years of age,” she says. “This thought stayed with him for many years, and, in 1984, when he turned 60 (by the Gregorian calendar), he began to develop illnesses, and began to think his long-held notion was coming true.”
“At that time, both His Eminence Gyaltsap Rinpoche and the Very Ven. Kalu Rinpoche advised Khenpo Rinpoche to undertake a one-month White Tara retreat. Khenpo Rinpoche did the retreat in the former Lama House (now the President’s House) at KTD. during the first 15 days, Rinpoche says he experienced unusual happenings in the house – strange noises, and so on – but after that, the difficulties subsided, and he was able to successfully complete the retreat.”
“After this, his health improved, and he was able to surpass his 60th birthday.”
According to Lama Karma, White Tara practice is a daily occurrence in Tibet, with the praises done three times, and generally dedicated to the wellness of the masters.
“Khenpo Rinpoche – he always practices something that he never tells us,” says Lama Karma. “His practice is kind of hidden. When you go to his room and he’s doing practice, he’ll kind of make a joke or something, pretend he’s not practicing. But, when you are with him, you kind of know what his main emphasis is. “
While traveling with Khenpo Rinpoche in Taiwan, Lama Karma heard him make special note of White Tara’s influence.
“We met a devoted student of Rinpoche and she really cried quite a lot because Rinpoche was quite aged,” he says. “He was holding her hand he said ‘don’t worry – I just discovered in myself that even though my age is advanced, my mind is becoming clearer.’ I thought it was very special to hear him say my mind is becoming clear.
“And he said ‘I will stay longer because of the blessing of White Tara.’ ”
– Tracy Zollinger Turner, Columbus KTC
You can participate in the White Tara Shrine project by “adopting” an 8-inch White Tara statue to take home after the September puja, or donating toward a 24-inch White Tara Statue to be given to Khenpo Rinpoche for his birthday. Proceeds benefit His Holiness’ activities at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. Click here for details.