Karmapa Center 16 is delighted to welcome Acharya Lhakpa Tshering to its Board of Directors. He will oversee fundraising for the center.
Lhakpa Tshering was born in a remote village in Dagapela in southern Bhutan. One of nine siblings, he and his family lived in an “environmentally friendly house” with no electricity or running water.
At the age of five, he remembers his father offering a butter lamp every evening of the full and new moon in front of a black and white photograph on a shelf in a corner of the house. Growing up with no electricity, Acharya said the memory of a butter lamp in the dark is still very vivid in his mind.
Once in while, his father would take down the photo and wipe off the soot that had collected on it with a piece of cloth. Later, when he was in second grade, Acharya was able to read the caption below the picture: “HH the Sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorji.” It was a photograph that his father had cropped from a Bhutanese monthly newspaper.
His father had the good fortune of meeting His Holiness, and Acharya kindly shared the story with us.
My Father’s Meeting with His Holiness
By Acharya Lhakpa
In 1966, at the age of 32, my father, Dawa Sherpa, traveled to Sikkim with two other companions from his village to make an offering to His Holiness the 16th Karmapa in Rumtek, on behalf of his late maternal uncle for his rebirth in higher realm. Traveling by foot and vehicle for a week, they arrived in Rumtek on the 15th day of the lunar month, a full moon day. Soon after their arrival at the monastery, His Holiness was scheduled to give a Black Crown ceremony. My father and his friends considered it auspicious that upon emerging from an audience with His Holiness, they were able to receive the blessings of the black crown. After the ceremony, my father made an offering to His Holiness and requested prayers for his uncle. His Holiness responded with gracious smile. For the sake of tendrel (making a spiritual connection), my father requested His Holiness to give him the transmission of Avalokiteshvara’s six syllable mantra. Today my father still has a vivid memory of the young, majestic Sixteenth Karmapa.
Though he never met His Holiness in person, from an early age, Acharya felt a connection to him through his father.
In 1993, Acharya enrolled at Rumtek Monastery’s Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Sikkim, India, where he served as an assistant teacher and member of the student welfare committee.
During his time at Rumtek, he received many teachings and empowerments from His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche, regent of the Karmapa lineage, who in turn had received the teachings directly from the 16th Karmapa. Acharya strongly feels that his mindstream has been blessed by the lineage and that through his own engagement on the Buddhist path, his precious human life has become meaningful.
Acharya completed his post-graduate or acharya degree in Buddhist Studies in 2002. He then served as co-librarian with Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche, taught at Karma Shri Nalanda Institute and acted as an editor for Nitartha international in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In 2006, at the request of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, he moved to Nalanda West in Seattle, Washington, USA, where he supports students as a resident teacher. He is also a visiting teacher at Nalandabodhi centers throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
If you’d like to share your memories or photos of His Holiness with us, please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we offer our heartfelt thanks for your continued interest and support of KC16. May the Center be of great benefit to all beings!