Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In memoriam: Tsering Chungtak

A fellow student of Geshe Dorji Damdul has recently passed away. On July 21 I received this note and photo from Tibet House in Delhi, of which Geshe Dorji Damdul is the Director:

Tsering Chungtak. Photo from Tibet House Delhi.
With a very heavy heart, we are informing you that, Tsering Yangchen, one of the regular attendees at Tibet House philosophy classes, Delhi, passed away in the evening of 21/Jul/2016. She was only 30 years old and had an aspiration to complete her Phd from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi in the field of Sociology. She was also working with an organization which is trying to fulfill one of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's commitments to make Secular Ethics widely available to younger generations in schools, colleges and Universities across the world.

She was an extremely kind hearted person and introduced quite many people to Dharma and Venerable Geshe La's classes. She was an excellent singer and had an extremely positive outlook towards life.

Venerable Geshe La has requested that whoever wishes to pray for her, the recitation of the following Mantras at least 1000 times each is recommended.

Buddha Shakyamuni


Arya Avalokiteshvara (The Buddha of Compassion)


And the most important thing to do is the practice of the two Bodhicittas commonly referred to as the Vajra and Moon Practice as taught by Venerable Geshe La.

The recommended practice can be found in the prayer book printed by Tibet House. In the newest version the practice begins on page 32 and ends on page 44.

Miss Tibet 2006, Tsering Chungtak. Photo from Miss Tibet website.

I later learned Tsering was Miss Tibet 2006, and had given up the opportunity to compete in an international pageant when the Chinese government tried to force her to wear a sash bearing the names of Tibet and China.

In her platform for Miss Tibet 2006, she wrote:

Tsering Chungtak, approximately 2006, Miss Tibet website.
"I think Miss Tibet contest is one of the platform where we can contribute something for Tibet's cause. It creates awareness among the masses. The Miss Tibet Pageant is not explicitly political, but implicitly it is involved, because through it people come to know about Tibet and its rich culure. Moreover, by holding this pageant it also preserves our tradition and culture. Not only this, the Miss Tibet contest itself is a message to the world that TIBET IS NOT A PART OF CHINA."

The comments left on the Miss Tibet website by former and current Miss Tibets are very touching.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Miss Tibet 2006, Tsering Chuntak, to whom I have always looked up as a senior at our university, JNU. You will never cease be the source of inspiration for me. I will truly miss your presence in the university. With the blessing of Buddha, may you have a swift rebirth to a higher realms.
Om mani padme hung.
Pema Choedon, Miss Tibet 2015

Due to health problems, Tsering had to step away from her Phd studies at JNU. She was a research scholar with Ayur Gyan Nyas, an Indian trust founded to inculcate ethical values in elementary through high schools.

Tsering died on the evening of July 21 after suffering a heart attack. On July 25 I received this beautiful invitation from Tibet House Delhi:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sacred Ceremony of

'Aspirational Bodhisattva Vow'
for the late Tsering Chungdak
The coming Wednesday, 27 July 2016, marks the completion of the first seven week cycle of the passing away of the late Tsering Chungdak la.
Tibet House is organising a Sacred Ceremony of Aspirational Bodhisattva Vow* dedicated to Tsering Chungdak la'speaceful transition to a favourable rebirth, once again as a student of the Buddha's teachings, for the benefit of all dear mother sentient beings. 


 06:00 PM onward
Tea - 05:30 PM
Venue: Conference Hall, Tibet House

Ven. Geshe Dorji Damdul, Director of Tibet House will lead the ceremony.

*The commitment, as a part of this vow, is to pledge not to harm others and instead help others to the best of one's ability.

Geshe Dorji Damdul did not indicate this in the July 25 email, but the Aspirational Bodhisattva Vow can be found in the Tibet House prayer book should you wish to read it at home.

May Tsering Chungdak immediately be born in a pure land where she can achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. Or may she at least receive a perfect human rebirth, meet the Mahayana (Tibetan) Buddhist teachings, and a perfectly qualified Mahayana Guru who reveals the path to enlightenment. By pleasing the holy mind of the virtuous friend, may she, by herself achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible.

May we all find our way back to our teachers.

Sending out love and prayers for Tsering and her loved ones.

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