Obituary: Khenpo Karpo who passed away on Wednesday morning at Bumrungrad hospital in Bangkok, Thailand is still in a deep meditative state (Thukdam).

Sources said that Khenpo passed away at around 3:55am on Wednesday. He was admitted to the hospital last November with a prolonged lung problem. Khenpo was 82.

His disciple Khenpo Dawa said that Khenpo’s precious body will be flown to the country once the meditative state is complete. “We don’t know when the Thukdam would break,” Khenpo Dawa said.


Great Buddhist masters in their texts have said that Thukdam is recognition of the nature of mind at the moment of death, and awakens into the state of luminosity. Only highly realised practitioners manifest the luminosity that lasts a number of days.

Khenpo Karpo has touched the hearts of many Bhutanese as well as people outside Bhutan after he built the giant bronze statue of Guru Nangsey Zilneon in Tangmachu, Lhuenste.

The 157-foot statue, which was completed at a cost of Nu 700 million, is one of the tallest Guru statues in the world.

Following completion of the statue, Khenpo Karpo organised Rinchen Terdzo empowerment (the Treasury of Precious Termas) at Takila where thousands of people from the country as well as from out side attended the wangchen.

Khenpo Karpo was born in Zhongmey Dargay Choling village in Lhuentse in 1934.

When he was 12, Khenpo had joined Sherphu Gonpa and learned basic Buddhist studies, arts, rituals and ceremonies.

A few years later, Khenpo travelled on foot to Kalimpong where he took refuge in His Holiness Dudjom Jigdrel Yeshey Dorje and received ordination, transmissions, instructions on preliminary practice of Dudjom Tersar lineage.

Since then he was closely associated with HH Dudjom Rinpoche for three decades. During that time Khenpo has received Bodhidattava vows, empowerment and several teachings including the dzogchen (Great Perfection) from HH Dudjom Rinpoche.

From Dzogchen Polo Khenpo Rinpoche, Khenpo Karpo studied Madhyamika, Bodhisattvacharyavatara, Khejug, Yeshe Lama, Longchen Rabjampa’s Sangnying Chochu Munsel, Khenpo Ngakchung’s Dzogchen Nyengyud, astrology, Buddhist grammar and literature, and Poetry.

He has also received many teachings from great masters such as Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche from whom he has received Vinaya vows. Khenpo has also received teachings from Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche, Mniling Trichen Rinpoche, among others.

When he was 40, Khenpo completed a three-year retreat in Darjeeling, India, following which he underwent several years of meditation in Bhutan and Nepal.

On the spiritual advice of HH Dudjom Rinpoche and Dzogchen Polo Rinpoche, Khenpo Karpo founded the Palphu Retreat Centre in Zhongmey, Lhuentse, in 1992, which today has 51 monks living there.

Khenpo also established the Ugyen Dhongag Yodsel Choling monastery in Takila, which has 80 monks today.

During the later part of his life Khenpo Karpo started giving teachings. He leaves behind thousands of disciples around the world.

Tenzin Namgyel


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