Lama Yeshe passed away around the time of Losar in 1984. Here is an interesting tribute that Lama Zopa made about Lama Yeshe, shortly after his death. It’s a tribute about Lama Yeshe’s ability to reach each individual person at their own particular level, and how Lama Zopa Rinpoche suspected that Lama Yeshe was a highly developed, hidden yogi.
Here’s one interesting excerpt from the tribute:
One time Lama was telling me that the whole point is to transform everything into Dharma, every action should be turned into the Dharma. He said that for some people even breathing became work for other sentient beings. Besides teaching and other normal activities, eating, sleeping, sitting, even the breath benefited others. Every movement becomes work for others.
When he said these things I always felt very much that Lama was describing himself, all his own qualities, his own actions, the realizations of his own holy mind, his own bodhicitta.
I remember one time Lama said ‘I cannot do the work of the second bhumi bodhisattva, the third bhumi bodhisattva, I just cannot do work for other sentient beings as second bhumi bodhisattva, third bhumi bodhisattva.’ Lama didn’t mention the work of the bodhisattva path of merit and accumulation, the first bhumi bodhisattva. For me, according to our general karmic view this shows that Lama had already generated the realizations of the first bhumi, and not only sutra. Otherwise there was no reason for him to say that he cannot do the work of the second, third bhumis.
Actually, in one way it looked like Lama already had realizations, that Lama was a bodhisattva from the very beginning of his life. I remember one time when a great meditator friend of Lama used to come to see him and they would teach each other. This yogi would say for example that ‘training the mind in the three principal paths is very old-time talk, very ancient talk.’ For him you see, this work was finished ages ago. Anyway, he would talk like this. And Lama said one time, ‘Oh, shunyata, I realized that while I was debating in the courtyard’; when he was young, at Sera Je.