After I ran away from New Jersey at 16 years of age… I hitchhiked to Los Angeles. Straight across the USA I was determined to become ordained and practice Dharma… When I arrived in California after many hardships on the road with around 50 dollars in my pocket, I stayed with a cousin (from my step parents) and his family. They were kind to me. I stayed a few months and then moved into Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre or TDL and the spiritual head is the Most Venerable Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen from Gaden Shartse Monastery. We called him reverently Geshe-la.
I stayed in TDL until I was 23 and went to Gaden with the blessings of both Geshe-la and HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. Geshe-la allowed me to stay in the centre and I also worked to support my Dharma studies during the ages of 16-23. In my free time, I would very happily attend Dharma classes from Geshe-la and learn rituals. I also had the great chance to serve Geshe-la by cooking, cleaning and doing Geshe-la’s laundry. I was very, very, very happy to serve my guru and live at the centre. Extremely happy and fortunate to serve such an attained master. Geshe-la was very, very devoted to HH the Dalai Lama, HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. He would talk re them all the time. They were among his gurus.
Recently Ven. Geshe-la has passed away on Feb 13th at 12:20pm in Los Angeles. Needless to say, I am very sad and miss Geshe-la very much. I have no worries as I know from living with Geshe-la that he is an attained being and has full control of when he wishes to pass and where he wishes to take rebirth again. Even still I love him very much and miss him tremendously. I can only repay his kindness back slightly by holding my vows, being kind, making the Dharma grow and supporting Gaden Monastery which he loved so much.
Below was extracted from TDL’s website. Geshe-la after death, remained in clear light death meditation. By all appearances, he has died, but his subtle consciousness has not left his body for 3+ days while his body did not decompose. This is a sign of a greatly attained being. Geshe was a great practitioner of Guyasamaja, Heruka, Yamantaka and Vajrayogini. After clear light, Geshe-la’s consciousness left the body to take rebirth again. That can definitely be achieved by accomplishing tantra. These days, great masters like Geshe-la showed the truth of Tantra and its amazing abilities to give us control of our death, bardo, rebirth. We have to fully take advantage and practice. How kind of Geshe-la that even his death he uses to give us a final teaching. The power of tantra is real. Don’t doubt… Please take refuge in your lama and yidam and practice… please don’t waste your life on chasing illusory temporary benefits… See below and be inspired and blessed.
I am not amazed Geshe-la can do this, but I am amazed I had the fortune to sit at his feet and served and learned from him. I am amazed stupid/silly me had the chance to be with such a great master. I forever take refuge in Geshe-la.
May Geshe-la’s holy incarnation take rebirth soon to continue his holy works.
(Below extracted with thanks from TDL’s website)
Ven. Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen’s Passing
Ven. Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen completed his clear light meditation
President’s Day, around 4:00pm Feb 16th, Geshela showed that he had finished meditation in clear light, and left the body. This happened while the monks and some students were doing a ritual. The monks attending Ven. Geshela’s body noticed signs that Geshela had left the body, all the monks were called upstairs to do appropriate pujas beside his body, and soon afterwards a double rainbow filled the sky to the northeast of the center. Geshela had stayed in a state of clear light meditation for about 3 days 3 hours, his body remaining unchanged for that time.
One or more of Geshela’s students who were not at the center at the time reported later that they had just happened to go outside coincidently when the rainbow appeared and were awed by it, and had the thought that it might have to do with Geshela. Several have noted the great unusualness of this rainbow, especially its size and vividness. We were told that people in town came out of buildings just to witness and comment on this beautiful sight. A large picture of the rainbow even made it into the California section of the Los Angeles Times Newspaper.