Lama's Cremation site on Vajrapani's Ridge

Twenty-five years have passed since our beloved guru, Lama Thubten Yeshe, gave his final teaching on impermanence by showing the aspect of passing away. It was on the ridge at Vajrapani Institute—a center for which Lama always expressed special regard and affection—that the cremation of his holy body took place on March 7th 1984.  Now plans are underway to build a 4 commemorative stupas at the site of Lama’s cremation, thereby transforming this blessed place into an even more powerful spot for spiritual practice. Construction is scheduled for this winter to coincide with the 25th year of Lama’s passing.

Lama Yeshe's Cremation Stupas Sketch

The 4 stupas comprise of one 6 foot Enlightenment stupa placed above Lama’s actual cremation site. At Lama Zopa’s recommendation, three smaller 3 foot Kadampa stupas will surround the main one. Rinpoche also instructed the stupa should all be filled exclusively with the Four Dharmakaya Relic Mantras which is unusual. How Rinpoche explains the benefits of these mantras is inspiring:

These mantras are the highest relics of Buddha, relics of the dharmakaya. Other relics, the ones that we normally see, such as relics of the robes or part of Buddha’s holy body, are secondary relics. These four mantras are the highest relics.

Like one worldwide family, the nuns at Kopan nunnery in Nepal are currently rolling these mantras.

Rinpoche also gave instructions to place a statue of Lama Yeshe inside the actual vase of the stupa and to surround the statue with Lama Yeshe’s crystal mala which has been carefully looked after by Lama’s disciples, most recently by Lennie Kronish.

Gyuoto monks consecrating the cremation site

Of course, it takes the contributions of many different people to turn

these plans into a reality. Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche has demonstrated his support for this project by donating $5000 towards its completion, and the fund raising completed so far has brought in about half of $77,436.

An appeal for support is being made to the worldwide students of Lama Yeshe and Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche who, whether they met Lama in person during his lifetime or not, continue to benefit from his tireless activities on behalf of others.


May all who contribute in any way to this project reap the fruit of pure guru devotion, the root of the path to enlightenment, and may all their temporal and ultimate wishes be fulfilled.


Main Enlightenment Stupa construction $24,000
Three surrounding Kadampa Stupas w/ base/thrones $20,700
Artwork $5,000
Stupa filling (eg: mantras etc.) $4,000
Labor, plants, korwa $7,000
Retaining wall $3,500
Lighting $2,000
Stupa information Kiosks (2) $4,000
Cabin Income Loss $1,500
Contingency @ 8% $5,736
TOTAL $77,436

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