Rinpoche’s Health – Official Updates and Practices
Rinpoche is doing well in the physio morning and afternoon. Rinpoche's sugar levels are improving he is now on insulin. Blood pressure is now close to normal. Rinpoche still gets fatigued quickly which doctors say is normal in this kind of situation, so a lot of rest is required.
Rinpoche wants to leave the hospital soon (would then become an outpatient). That may happen next week if all goes well.
Again many many thanks for everyones prayers and support.
Yesterday went well with Rinpoche , the physio's were happy with Rinpoches progress in the pool and the gym. Quite a bit of joking and laughing going on.
Rinpoche is always keen to get into the pool by himself but hasn't been allowed, always the physio says no ... You have to be lowered into the pool by hoist. This morning the main physio says Rinpoche can try get out of the pool himself ! Rinpoche is really keen to try... We are half way through the hydro therapy ... Rinpoche enjoys the pool.
Tiny message written by Rinpoche, with his left hand, in hospital, that says "I am enjoying the hotel, 5 or 10 star hotel"
Last night Rinpoche spoke for a little while and his speech had definitely improved. Then this morning he went for 1 hour in the pool for hydro therapy, in the afternoon physio again in the gym for 1 hour ... the physio's say he has improved quite a bit. Now you can see quite a difference so it seems there was a real need for rest!
Rinpoche also spoke a little of the prayers he has been doing while in hospital ... for the other patients around him, for all the future patients that will come to the hospital, for the patients that will use the room he is using in the future, for the patients who will use the bed sheets he has been using, the pillow slips etc ... extensive prayers!
A few days back Rinpoche had what the doctors said appeared to be a continuation of the stroke ... this sometimes happens with stroke patients ... in fact for the 1 month after having a stroke there is a 50% chance of another stroke. This is one of the key reasons for being in the hospital ... to gain control over the blood sugar levels and blood pressure which are seen to be the conditions for a stroke if they are not at this time strictly controlled. Also to have the close monitoring which is necessary at these times. The doctor (who is a stroke specialist, looking after Rinpoche) says that usually patients are kept in the hospital for 4 to 6 weeks after a stroke.
Rinpoche is continuing with his physio therapy in the pool and gym, but this has been interrupted due to Rinpoche being very tired/exhausted ... another thing the doctor says happens a lot with stroke patients.
Rinpoche will start hydro therapy again tomorrow, as well as physio in the gym tomorrow afternoon if the doctor feels he has rested enough. If all goes well and the therapy can continue then Rinpoche could be able to move around a little by himself in 1 or 2 weeks. Then Rinpoche can leave the hospital and become an outpatient (continue the therapy at the hospital under the same doctors and physio therapists while staying at home).
Rinpoche also wants to try Chinese medicine, acupuncture etc. when his situation is more stable.
It has been quite overwhelming the number of people from around the world offering well wishes, the pujas and prayers done by Monasteries, Centers and students, the offers of all sorts of help by so many. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE ... A HUGE THANK YOU ... please do continue.
The night of the 3rd wasn't an easy one for Rinpoche so in the morning in consultation with the doctor we cancelled the physio therapy sessions for the pool in the morning and the session with the physio in the afternoon. The doctor did some tests and thought Rinpoche had exhausted himself the day before in the physio sessions (it certainly was a full day ... and partly maybe Rinpoche being very enthusiastic). Rinpoche rested all day and thru the evening, being very quiet and doing prayers.
This morning (the 5th) the doctor cancelled the morning session in the pool and said the physio therapist would reevaluate Rinpoche this afternoon. Rinpoche this morning seemed much more rested.
The hospital is small well laid out and in a nice setting ... quiet. We plan this afternoon to take Rinpoche outside in a wheelchair for some fresh air and have some tea. In the evenings Rinpoche watches a little of the world and local news.
The doctor just came and had a relaxed chat with us about Rinpoche's condition ... and thinks best for Rinpoche to take an extra week in the hospital to allow more time for Rinpoche to be walking with some independence.
The weekend has been quiet, tomorrow morning Rinpoche will have his first therapy session in the whirl pool. Doctors say Rinpoche's progress is very good with his right leg. The right arm has still little movement ... they say the arm is always slower than the leg. The main concern for the doctors is the control of the blood pressure and sugar levels. This they say must be under strict control ... otherwise the danger of another stroke.
Rinpoche is committed to staying in the rehabilitation ward of the hospital for several more days and the doctors are very happy with this. This private hospital is working quite well for Rinpoche. The staff ... nurses and doctors are very good and always willing to take time to discuss Rinpoche's situation and future, it is the same with the nurses.
Rinpoche's food is cooked at the monastery and gets delivered 3 times a day ... as well we take the hospital food which is quite ok and integrate it.
Rinpoche can stand on his own for short period of time... but you have to be there in case he loses his balance ... tonight he stood alone in one spot for several minutes and did a short walk (assisted) ... which was pretty good ... but then had to lay down and rest ... fatigue happens quickly.
Its Monday morning and Rinpoche just finished his first time in the pool for hydro therapy, Rinpoche said it was "pleasant". It looked like Rinpoche enjoyed it ... went on for about 40 mins.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche in hospital, with great difficulty putting hands in mudra of prostration during extensive offering practice.
Photograph by Holly Ansett
Ongoing list of pujas and practices dedicated to Lama Zopa Rinpoche's health and long life. Please click here.
His Holiness the Private Office sent a message to Sera Je requesting:
- Extensive Hayagriva Tsog Kong for 2 days - all the monks of Sera Je
- 4 Mandala offering to Tara – all the monks of Sera Je
- Recite 3 long life deity mantra – all the monks of Sera Je
- Medicine Buddha mantra – all the monks of Sera Je
- Extensive Hayagriva Tsog puja for one day by the special Hayagriva committee
- Offered 2 xMedicine Buddha puja
- 1 x Tara 4 Mandala Offerings Puja
- Extensive Hayagriva Tsog with Geshe Ngawang Drakpa and all the students in the Bay area
- Extensive Hayagriva puja by the Hayagriva committee at Sera Je Monastery x 7
- Students to recite praise and mantra of Most Secret Hayagriva
Khadro la Namsel Dolma
- Sera Je monks Tara puja and Extensive Hayagriva puja
- Khadro la herself did many Tara pujas, Tsog offering, Tea offering, Incense offerings, water purification (dorje Namjom)
- Extensive animal liberations and to count the numbers and to offer them to Rinpoche and request Rinpoche to live long.
- For students to do Tara Puja, Tara mantra and Tara praises with extensive offerings
- Medicine Buddha puja and practice
- To recite 100,000 x Vajra Armor mantra - completed by students at Atisha Center
- To recite Phurba Setop
- Students to do Long Life sutra –as much as possible
- 1,000 Offerings to Namgyalma
- 1,000 offerings to Medicine Buddha
- King of Prayers betraying the death puja
Sera Je Abbott requested the Sera Je monastery to do
- Heart Sutra puja and White Umbrella – by all the monks
- Extensive Hayagriva puja – by all the monks
- Medicine Buddha Puja – by all the monks
- Tara Puja – by all the monks
- 2 days Hayagriva extensive puja by the special Hayagriva monks
This is just a few of the pujas and practices. Please click here for ongoing updated list.
April 28 2011
Some students asked for help on how to view Lama Zopa Rinpoche while doing practice for Rinpoche’s health and long life, as they experienced some confusion between seeing Rinpoche with pure view as enlightened while also doing practice to help Rinpoche’s 'ordinary' ill-health.
I asked Choden Rinpoche, who is one of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s gurus, for advice on this point. Choden Rinpoche very kindly replied very quickly with the following advice:
“Students need to hold the view that the guru is holy Buddha, but he manifests ordinary appearance, like having a stroke. Just like Buddha Shakyamuni in reality he is enlightened, but he manifests ordinary appearance, like having a headache and back pain.
So when students engage in practices like Medicine Buddha and so forth for Lama Zopa Rinpoche to have a healthy and long life, students can do the practice while maintaining the view that the lama is Buddha, but dedicate the practice in order to pacify the ordinary appearance of having a stroke.”
Ven Roger Kunsang also commented:
“Your karmic projection is ill, the dharmakaya isn’t ill!
And we share a similar karmic projection. “
The Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive's April newsletter also includes some very helpful and relevant advice on this topic.
This morning was an early start for Rinpoche. The physiotherapist came to his room at 9 a.m. sharp and began Rinpoche’s training, helping him to understand how he can get out of bed by himself and into a wheel chair with the minimum amount of help.
Then the two therapists and I (with Rinpoche in the wheelchair) went to the gym. Sangpo and I had dressed Rinpoche in his swimming shorts and singlet. (This is the first time ever Rinpoche has gone to the gym, in gym style clothes.)
Rinpoche spent about one hour in the gym and the therapists were quite surprised by how eager and fast he was in learning to reuse his right leg again. The therapists are mainly concentrating on the right leg moving (the right arm has no movement at all, but that will come later). In the gym session Rinpoche was mainly learning how to help himself get onto the wheel chair and off and back on to the bed, and some simple walking movements.
Rinpoche still is not able to walk unaided but the process has started. At the end of the session the doctor and the two therapists were quite pleased with Rinpoche’s first session in the gym and his progress. Tomorrow they want to Rinpoche to go in the hydro pool to start exercises there. Later today Rinpoche will have a session with the speech therapist and the occupational therapist.
Both the therapists were surprised by how much Rinpoche was laughing and joking through the session. Rinpoche commented to the therapists that he thinks his progress is partly due to the 3,000 monks in Sera Je doing prayers.
Today was the first day we could have access to key medical staff due to the Easter holidays.
The doctors have said no visitors for sometime as Rinpoche is exhausted and with the physio it is going to be very tiring for him.
Here in the private hospital now we have 2 doctors looking after Rinpoche and a good team of physiotherapists. Plus great support from the retreaters doing lots of prayers and pujas; Atisha Center and Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery are always helping out.
The doctors say Rinpoche has a good chance of recovering with intensive therapy over the next several months ... maybe not fully recover ... that is still too hard to say, but they are feeling quite positive after today's tests.
In the next 2 weeks the doctors say they will have a better idea of the longer term outlook. The doctors do want Rinpoche to stay in the rehabilitation ward of the hospital for the next 2 weeks. Their biggest concern apart from the therapy is controlling the sugar levels and blood pressure ... if this doesn't happen they are very concerned Rinpoche will have another stroke and this could be far more serious ... although they say this was a serious one.
Khadro-la in Dharamsala is very eager to come to Australia to help Rinpoche using her own unique methods ... we are trying hard to get her here as soon as possible. Khadro-la has been on the phone every day giving advice and organizing pujas for Rinpoche.
All of Rinpoche's Gurus, many High Lamas and so many students have been doing prayers and pujas ... This is deeply, deeply appreciated, THANK YOU.
Rinpoche seems in very good spirits, laughing and joking a lot and entertaining the staff with short little comments on Dharma (that need to be translated), but tiring easily.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche entered hospital on Saturday 23rd April, now is the second day under observation. Yesterdays cat scan showed no bleeding or clot in the brain. There will be another scan to confirm that. Possibly Rinpoche will be able to leave the hospital tomorrow if doctors say ok.
Rinpoche's right arm and leg have lost some use, speech is slurred making it difficult to understand him, but this part got a little better today.
Doctors say Rinpoche will need intensive therapy for His right side and speech ... Hopefully to regain all or most use back. This can take several months but difficult to say.
Rinpoche's tour in Australia and Indonesia as well as his return to Nepal will have to be cancelled.
Practice Requested Dec 7 2011:
Recite the Golden Light Sutra (see posting above for more details)
This is the advice for practices that can be done, as advised by Khadro la and Choden Rinpoche:
1. Medicine Buddha puja ... with extensive offerings.
2. 4 Mandala offering to Tara ... as many as possible.
3. Most Secret Hayagriva mantra with supplication as much as possible:
4. White Tara mantra with Lama Zopa Rinpoche's name
With deep gratitude for all your support,
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is in hospital in Australia receiving treatment for a stroke.
All FPMT centers, projects, services and study groups are requested to offer Medicine Buddha puja with strong prayers for Rinpoche's health and long life.
All students are requested to do Medicine Buddha practice, and to recite the mantras of long life deities such as White Tara and Amitayus, with strong prayers for Rinpoche's health and long life.
Rinpoche's Schedule: Rinpoche's remaining teachings in Australia, and the program in Indonesia have been cancelled.