His Holiness Karmapa and the Kagyu Office have offered their sincere prayers and wishes in response to the passing of Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden, affectionately known to the Bhutanese people as Gayum Angay. Her Majesty passed away on August 24, at the age of 92.
Her Majesty is the grandmother of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the current “Druk Gyalpo,” who became King of Bhutan in 1974. Her family line traces back through centuries of Bhutanese history and includes the great terton Rigzin Pema Lingpa, one of the great figures of Bhutanese Buddhist history. Ashi Phuntsho Choden was married to the second Druk Gyalpo King Jigme Wangchuck, and gave birth in 1928 to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third Druk Gyalpo and father of the current King.
During her life, Her Majesty was reknowned throughout Bhutan and Buddhist Asia for her role is supporting Bhutan’s Buddhist traditions and practices. More information on the life of Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden is available from this Kuensel article.
The purjang ceremony for Her Majesty was held on October 18, 2003 in Kurje Lhakhang in Bumthang, in the presence of His Majesty the King, the royal family, many honored guests and thousands of devotees. His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwang Karmapa and the Kagyu Office were represented at the ceremony by a delegation led by Venerable Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche. Rinpoche and numerous other representatives of the Kagyu Office and Rumtek Monastery paid their respect and homage to Her Majesty. At the Karmapa’s temporary residence in Sidbhari, India, His Holiness Karmapa led prayer ceremonies throughout the day to mark the passing of Her Majesty. A report on the ceremony in Bhumtang is available from this Kuensel article.