The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Sunday, September 07, 2014


Dudjom Sangyum, Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo Enters "Thug dam"


Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo. From

Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo and Dudjom Rinpoche. From
Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo (1925–2014) was the consort and second wife of HH Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje, a high lama of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. She spent many years with Rinpoche establishing Dharma centers in India and the United States and helping to propagate the Nyingma Buddhist Dharma. Together they had two daughters and one son, Shenphen Dawa Norbu Rinpoche, who upholds the Dudjom Tersar lineage through his own teaching activities.
Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo was considered a wisdom dakini. HH Dilgo Khytentse Rinpoche wrote a longevity prayer for her in which he refers to her as an emanation of Yeshe Tsogyal, the consort of Guru Rinpoche. She was also recognized as an emanation of White Tara. Dakinis would visit her in dreams as well as grant her prophecies that would instruct on methods for extending Dudjom Rinpoche’s and other high-ranking Tibetan lamas’ life force. She was also considered gifted in the art of divination, and was active in the role of recognizing many tulkus, or incarnate lamas.
Sangye Khandro, in an interview in the book Dakini Power, said she thought of Sangyum Kusho as one of her root teachers. “She was Dudjom Rinpoche’s source of everything, giving Rinpoche the energy he needed to benefit beings. As a wisdom dakini, she extended his life. As an aristocrat, she is very proper and formal, completely unique. She always looks immaculate, very beautiful and feminine, wearing the finest jewels and silks. . . . if there is any woman on the planet who I admire most and want to be like, it’s her” (Haas 2013).
After Dudjom Rinpoche’s passing in 1987, Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo spent the last 20 years of her life in New York City, in a strict retreat in her brownstone house. She would not leave the house, but instead chose to spend her time engaged in spiritual practice. She said that when she passed there should be no elaborate ceremonies performed to honor her or on her behalf, nor should high lamas trouble themselves by visiting her body. In this way, she showed great humility in not wanting to trouble anyone.
On 27 August at 5:55 pm EST, at the age of 89, Dudjom Sangyum, Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo passed into the state of thug dam. Thug dam is a state of meditation that realized masters enter as they leave this world and their human bodies. During thug dam, the consciousness of the meditator enters the heart center, and while the rest of the body grows cold in rigor mortis, the heart center itself will stay warm. At this point they have not entered the bardo, nor are they alive in a conventional sense; instead they are absorbed in meditation upon the ground luminosity of being. Usually, the meditator will remain sitting upright in meditation posture during the entire duration of the thug dam, which can last three days or longer depending on the meditator’s capacity to maintain meditative absorption within the ground luminosity.
Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo not only practiced the Dharma completely, serving a holy master intimately, but also illustrated the most profound manner of passing from this world, directly exemplifying the great meditative power that Buddhist practitioners are capable of displaying at the time of death.