Lama Achuk Parinirvana – Told by a Tourist

Achuk-9One of the greatest Lamas in modern history, the founder of Yachen Gar, His Holiness Lama Achuk Rinpoche, passed into parinirvana in the early morning on July 23rd. I happened to be in Yachen Gar as a tourist and experienced this historical and miraculous event.

Lama Achuk already showed some weakness in health in late May and early June of this year. The entire monastery, which has more than ten thousand monks and nuns, and a few thousand lay Buddhists, felt great sadness and everyone were deeply concerned. Not just the monks and nuns in Yachen Gar, but also every Buddhist in Tibet and the rest of the world were deeply concerned about his health.

It was a cold rainy morning on July 23rd, all the monks and nuns, including all the lay Buddhists who were at the monastery, were required to go to the main temples to recite Buddhist Sutras, especially the Hundred Word Mantra, for the whole day for a period of seven days. Everybody was told that it was for the purpose of blessing Lama Achuk’s health.

ycg-outsideAs a tourist in Yachen, I could easily feel the sorrow in the cold and humid air and see it on everyone’s face. In the evening of July 30th, news has spread which comfirmed that Lama Achuk had gone into parinirvana! Tears rolled from everyone’s eyes! The front yard of Lama Achuk’s house was decorated with flowers. Individuals shared their memories of Lama Achuk with each other, his kindness, his incredible capacity and stories. Within 25 years, Lama Achuk has established one of the world’s largest Buddhist meditation center on an empty land! His Holiness has been recognized as a perfectly enlightened master and renowned throughout the world.

ycg-lineBut his parinirvana was not the end of the story. We were told that his mourning hall was opened for visits from early morning of July 31st. I got up at 6 am the next day and went to see what was going on. There were already a lot of people queuing. I stood in line and waited with a very curious mind to see him for the last time.

After waiting for more than 2 hours in the line, we finally went into the garden in front of the yard where his mourning hall was located. It was raining all the time and a male voice was singing some mantras over the loudspeakers which was heard throughout the entire monastery. Everybody in the line was dressed very smartly. Most of them had the tears in their eyes and khatas in their hands. Nuns and monks were in separate lines and went in through a separate door. Some of them held flowers and some with khatas as well. Everyone was in tears. Finally, when it was my turn to enter into the mourning hall, I found that a lot of nuns were sitting on the wet grassplot murmuring some Buddhist Sutras together in front of the Lama’s body. It felt like the sounds came from an ancient time, with pure soul…

ycg-hallThe mourning hall was very unusually decorated. There were no black and white curtains or flowers which were often seen in funerals, rather the entire yard, even from outside, was full of very colourful flowers, mainly in yellow, pink, red and white, which was very beautiful. With the Western mind, I was expecting to see Lama Achuk lying inside a coffin. I did not find any coffin, rather a well-decorated golden throne! In the middle of the throne, Lama Achuk’s body was sitting there as he used to do, dressed with his cassock and miter. What surprised me was that the size of his body was no bigger than a one-year-old baby! I heard long ago that he had attained inconceivable achievements and could leave this material world without any piece of body left, just like turning into a rainbow! Now, I saw that! Only 7 days later, the body size had already turned to be even much smaller! I knelt down in front of him to show my highest respects!

The visiting queue was getting longer and longer. The rain also got heavier. I was told that there were unusual thunders sounding from deep within the sky, even the earth shook. People told me, these were the signs of his blessing…

rainbowIn the following days, more and more people came from all over the Tibet and the rest of China went to visit his mourning hall. The mourning hall was open for visitors from 6 am to 8 pm each day. There were different auspicious signs that were witnessed by people almost every day. For example, sometimes people could see the lights of Buddha sit on the throne and this sign was filmed by some private cameras. On one sunny day, without any rain, everybody could see a beautiful rainbow hanging in the sky and it slowly turned into a big lotus flower. This sign appeared continuously in the sky for duration of over 20 minutes so that everybody in Yachen could see it.

All of these auspicious signs gave people gratification and encouragement, which allow one to have more confidence in the Buddhist belief. Everybody believed that Lama Achuk would return to Yachen soon after his reincarnation!

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