The history of the foundation initially involved dozens of individuals responding to Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa’s good heartedness (sem zangpo) and profound teachings, and eventually included thousands of Americans profoundly moved and healed by the Healing Cho tours of 2001 to 2009. It is impossible to acknowledge all who took part in this journey, but here are a few highlights.
The Discoverer Is Discovered
Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa was recognized in his teens in Tibet as a Terton, a Tibetan Buddhist treasure finder, a discoverer of teachings and practices that were secreted over a thousand years ago that would be suitable in future times. Tej Hazarika was the discoverer of such a discoverer. In 1986 Tej was touring with his Assamese family in the Indian Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh when he visited the local Buddhist Temple. Kunzang Dechen Lingpa was the lama there and the two quickly established their mutual relationship with the same teacher, HH Dudjom Rinpoche. In 1995 Tej returned with his wife and son and Kunzang Dechen Lingpa invited them to visit the retreat center. Tej made videos and when back in America reached out to fellow Buddhist friends for support for Rinpoche’s project supporting his monks and nuns in the very poor region of Arunachal Pradesh.
Connection Is Made with America
Some years later Kunzang Dechen Lingpa was hospitalized with a heart condition and required a pacemaker operation, Tej reached out to Moke Mokotoff who donated funds for the operation. After the successful operation in India, Rinpoche was inspired to visit America to fulfill a vision he had some decades back where Guru Rinpoche had instructed him in a dream to build a specific Zangdokpalri Temple on a specific hill on the border of Tibet for world peace.
Arriving in the United States in May 2001, Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa, his son and spiritual heir Rigdzin Dorje and 4 monks and nuns were warmly received by the New York Sherpa community where his reputation for his healing treasure practice, Healing Cho was renowned. At the same time, Rinpoche was requested to teach by a small group of long-term Buddhist westerners.
In one teaching to western students in New York on August 30, 2001, Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa expounded on the noble truth of suffering and the nature of impermanence. Interrupting the formal teaching, Rinpoche addressed the audience that they had no idea of the nature of impermanence; that they understood that they would someday perish, but that they believed that such externals as the World Trade Center buildings would go on existing. “Mark my words, someday these buildings will be dust…not even their names will be known!” Rinpoche declared. As we all know those buildings were dust less than two weeks later.
The Foundation Is Created
Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa’s health was fragile at this time and Moke rented a house in Woodstock, New York, for Rinpoche and entourage to rest. In the following weeks, Rinpoche taught locally, and a small group of students formed around him. Around this time Rinpoche called Tej and Moke into a private meeting and revealed his mission to build the Zangdokpalri Temple and support a community of traditional monks and nuns, requesting them to form an official charity. A Board of Directors was then compiled consisting of Tej, Moke, Anne Moore, and Urgen Sherpa, all operating under the Spiritual Direction of Rinpoche. The work of forming a legal nonprofit organization was soon completed, a website and social media efforts launched, and a small network of generous and dedicated volunteers and supporters arose to work toward realizing Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa’s vision.
The Chod Healing Tours Are Undertaken
Under the sponsorship of the foundation, Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa and an entourage of monks and nuns returned to the United States annually to conduct a series of Chod Healing Tours until Rinpoche passed away in 2006, after which his son Dungse Rinpoche led the tours until 2009. Moke organized and administered these annual tours at over 30 venues across the United States and one in England. On these tours the Lamas and nuns would perform the two-day healing chod ceremony, ultimately benefiting thousands of individuals. >more about Chod and the healing tours
Zangdokpalri Temple Is Completed
Donations received at these healing events generated enough funds over the years to undertake and complete the temple project. The external structure was soon built, and a unique group of the finest artists from Bhutan and Nepal gathered to create and complete the traditional artistic details, including statues, murals, and architectural design. The temple was completed and formally consecrated in 2009 and the monastic community of several hundred monks and nuns, according to Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa’s vision, is becoming an oasis of Buddhist scholarship, sacred art, meditation, and service. >more about the temple project
During the time while the temple was being constructed, the Foundation also provided assistance to the nunnery, retreat facilities, and various emergency campaigns to aid the monks, nuns, and surrounding community in Assam, one of the most beautiful but most impoverished areas on the planet. At the same time, activities were undertaken to bring the blessings of Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa’s teachings and practices to the West, including a series of music and teaching cds and dvds, publications, and related videos that were made available during the Chod events and through the website. >more about our activities
The Work Continues
Today, the spiritual community of monks and nuns in India continue the practices, prayers, and retreat meditations as taught in Kyapje Kunzang Dechen Lingpa’s revealed Buddhist teachings, providing blessings and services to the local people and to the entire planet. The Zangdokpalri Foundation is dedicated to their continued support for the benefit of all beings. >how you can help