Frances Clark Thabit Thargay
Frances Thargay left this life at 7:55pm on April 17, 2021.
May she be free from suffering. May all beings be free from suffering.
We wish you joy in your journey, beloved.
Obituary | Funeral | King of Prayers | Life (coming)
Frances Thargay Obituary
On April 17, 2021, Frances Thargay, beloved daughter, wife, mother grandmother, and friend passed away at the age of 91.
Frances was born Fannie Mitchell Clark in Clay County, MO, on September 26, 1929, to Pauline Potter Clark and Arthur Barrett Clark. She never graduated High School because she refused to take gym class.
She ran away from home to become a front person for a Donkey Baseball team, traveling all over the south setting up their games. Many of these towns were so isolated that she (a teen), was asked to speak at town meetings on various topics. Upon being returned to St. Louis, she ran away from home again and again until she finally made it to NYC, the city of her dreams, 17 hours on the bus. She spent her first night there riding the subways with her best friend, Jeri Jane Jennings.
In NYC’s West Village of the late 1940s, Frances became an actor with the Living Theatre. Her stage name was Fannie Mitchell. She appeared in Picasso’s “Desire Trapped by the Tail” (in which her friend Norman Solomon played the entire Polish army), Stein’s “Ladies Voices,” and Karel Čapek’s “R.U.R.” She embarked upon an affair with Julian Beck and lived for a time in the Cherry Lane Theater, her favorite. It was one of the happiest times of her life.
In 1954 she met and married Walter Thabit. They raised four children. Frances and Walter separated around 1970. Walter passed away in 2005. Frances Thabit steeped her family in avant-garde music and art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She created a haven for young neighborhood musicians that fostered creativity.
In the 70s, Frances became engaged with Tibetan Buddhism. Though her teacher Domo Geshe Rinpoche, she met Nyandak Gendun Thargay, of Kham, Tibet, the love of her life, and married him in 1978. This was one of her happiest times.
From the late 70’s to 1986, Frances Thargay worked with Tenzin Tethong, then His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative to the United States, pro bono as his Executive Assistant at the Office of Tibet. She also became the director of the US-Tibet Committee. As such, she organized the first Conference on Tibet (and wrote the first draft of Richard Gere’s proposal for Tibet House). Frances and Nyandak sadly separated around 1986.
A few years later, Frances bought a house and land in Vermont and set herself to gardening and working on her house. She called this her last great love affair.
Around 2009, Alzheimer’s disease began working its insidious damage. Her family cared for her until mid-2017, when she entered the Union House Nursing Home in Glover, VT. With all our hearts, we thank the staff of Union House. We deeply appreciate your kind, loving care of our dear Frances.
Frances will be remembered for her passionate love and support of the arts and of her family, her service to the Tibetan community, and her intelligence, warmth, and laughter.
She is predeceased by her parents and both of her husbands. She is survived by her children, Darius, Alia, Nick, and Paavo, and her grandchildren, Corina and Ben.
Frances Thargay’s Funeral will be Tuesday April 27
We realize that travel in covid times is difficult and dangerous.
We are at peace with this.
We welcome you to take some time during the services to think of Frances and to wish her well on her journey.
Darius, Alia, Nick, Paavo, Corina, and Ben
In lieu of flowers, we welcome you to consider a donation to
Frances Thargay Funeral
Frances Thargay’s funeral was tiny, me (Alia), my brother Nick, a few good friends, and a gal from the nursing home who came to pay her respects.
Frances is a Buddhist, so I asked Venerable Geshe Ngawang Singey, a Tibetan monk, to come and say prayers for her at the funeral home and at the grave.
He said that every 7 days from the day of the death (so every saturday), for 49 days, we should think good thoughts about her rebirth, and that best thing we could do for her was to he happy and remember her with happiness and pleasure that she would now be reborn into a new body (reincarnation).
It was a lovely sunny, breezy spring day, perfect. She is up high where she can see everything going on, all the comings and goings.
The flowers were gorgeous. I gave one of the arrangements to Geshela and brought the other one home.
We went to Parker Pie for the mercy meal and ate good pizza outside on the porch. Geshela and Gary (who kindly brought Geshela to us–and administers Thosum Gephelling Institute) came to the meal.
It took a lot of effort, and it was worth it. About as perfect as it could be.
Our thanks to Dave at Curtis-Britch Funeral Home, Pearla at Kingdom Floral Designs, Gary and Geshela at Thosum Gephelling Institute, and Mark at the Pleasant View Cemetery for their kindness and help.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST LOVED ONES and might want to say prayers for their speedy and auspicious rebirth, I include the prayer that Geshe Ngawang recommended be said every seven days from the date of death to 49 days afterwards. Visualize your loved one as the one to whom you direct they prayer. Say the prayer aloud.
THE KING OF PRAYERS
You lions among humans,
Gone to freedom in the present, past and future
In the worlds of ten directions,
To all of you, with body, speech and sincere mind I bow down.
With the energy of aspiration for the bodhisattva way,
With a sense of deep respect,
And with as many bodies as atoms of the world,
To all you Buddhas visualized before me, I bow down.
On every atom are Buddhas numberless as atoms,
Each amidst a host of bodhisattvas,
And I am confident the sphere of all phenomena
Is entirely filled with Buddhas in this way.
With infinite oceans of praise for you,
And oceans of sound from the aspects of my voice,
I sing the breathtaking excellence of Buddhas,
And celebrate all of you Gone to Bliss.
Beautiful flowers and regal garlands,
Sweet music, scented oils and parasols,
Sparkling lights and sublime incense,
I offer to you Victorious Ones.
Fine dress and fragrant perfumes,
Sandalwood powder heaped high as Mount Meru,
All wondrous offerings in spectacular array,
I offer to you Victorious Ones.
With transcendent offerings peerless and vast,
With profound admiration for all the Buddhas,
With strength of conviction in the bodhisattva way,
I offer and bow down to all Victorious Ones.
Every harmful action I have done
With my body, speech and mind
Overwhelmed by attachment, anger and confusion,
All these I openly lay bare before you.
I lift up my heart and rejoice in all merit
Of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in ten directions,
Of solitary realizers, hearers still training and those beyond,
And of all ordinary beings.
You who are the bright lights of worlds in ten directions,
Who have attained a Buddha’s omniscience through the stages of awakening,
All you who are my guides,
Please turn the supreme wheel of Dharma.
With palms together I earnestly request:
You who may actualize parinirvana,
Please stay with us for eons numberless as atoms of the world,
For the happiness and well-being of all wanderers in samsara.
Whatever slight merit I may have created,
By paying homage, offering, and acknowledging my faults,
Rejoicing, and requesting that the Buddhas stay and teach,
I now dedicate all this for full awakening.
May you Buddhas now living in the worlds of ten directions,
And all you gone to freedom in the past, accept my offerings.
May those not yet arisen quickly perfect their minds,
Awakening as fully enlightened ones.
May all worlds in ten directions,
Be entirely pure and vast.
May they be filled with bodhisattvas
Surrounding Buddhas gathered beneath a bodhi tree.
May as many beings as exist in ten directions
Be always well and happy.
May all samsaric beings live in accord with the Dharma,
And may their every Dharma wish be fulfilled.
Remembering my past lives in all varieties of existence,
May I practice the bodhisattva way,
And thus, in each cycle of death, migration and birth,
May I always abandon the householder’s life.
Then, following in the footsteps of all the Buddhas,
And perfecting the practice of a bodhisattva,
May I always act without error or compromise,
With ethical conduct faultless and pure.
May I teach the Dharma in the language of gods,
In every language of spirits and nagas,
Of humans and of demons,
And in the voice of every form of being.
May I be gentle-minded, cultivating the six paramitas,
And never forget bodhicitta.
May I completely cleanse without omission
Every negativity and all that obscures this awakening mind.
May I traverse all my lives in the world,
Free of karma, afflictions and interfering forces,
Just as the lotus blossom is undisturbed by the water’s wave,
Just as the sun and moon move unhindered through the sky.
May I ease the suffering in the lower realms
And in the many directions and dimensions of the universe.
May I guide all wanderers in samsara to the pure bliss of awakening
And be of worldly benefit to them as well.
May I practice constantly for eons to come,
Perfecting the activities of awakening,
Acting in harmony with the various dispositions of beings,
Showing the ways of a bodhisattva.
May I always have the friendship
Of those whose path is like mine,
And with body, words and also mind,
May we practice together the same aspirations and activities.
May I always meet a spiritual mentor
And never displease that excellent friend,
Who deeply wishes to help me
And expertly teaches the bodhisattva way.
May I always directly see the Buddhas,
Masters encircled by bodhisattvas,
And without pause or discouragement for eons to come,
May I make extensive offerings to them.
May I hold within me the Buddha’s genuine Dharma,
Illuminate everywhere the teachings that awaken,
Embody the realizations of a bodhisattva,
And practice ardently in all future eons.
While circling through all states of existence,
May I become an endless treasure of good qualities—
Skillful means, wisdom, samadhi and liberating stabilizations—
Gathering limitless pristine wisdom and merit.
On one atom I shall see
Buddha fields numberless as atoms,
Inconceivable Buddhas among bodhisattvas in every field,
Practicing the activities of awakening.
Perceiving this in all directions,
I dive into an ocean of Buddha fields,
Each an ocean of three times Buddhas in the space of a wisp of hair.
So I, too, will practice for an ocean of eons.
Thus I am continually immersed in the speech of the Buddhas,
Expression that reveals an ocean of qualities in one word,
The completely pure eloquence of all the Buddhas,
Communication suited to the varied tendencies of beings.
With strength of understanding I plunge
Into the infinite awakened speech of the Dharma
Of all Buddhas in three times gone to freedom,
Who continually turn the wheel of Dharma methods.
I shall experience in one moment
Such vast activity of all future eons,
And I will enter into all eons of the three times,
In but a fraction of a second.
In one instant I shall see all those awakened beings,
Past, present and future lions among humans,
And with the power of the illusion-like stabilization
I will constantly engage in their inconceivable activity.
I shall manifest upon one single atom
The array of pure lands present, past and future.
Likewise, I shall enter the array of pure Buddha fields
In every direction without exception.
I shall enter the very presence of all my guides,
Those lights of this world who are yet to appear,
Those sequentially turning the wheels of complete awakening,
Those who reveal nirvana–final, perfect peace.
May I achieve the power of swift, magical emanation,
The power to lead to the great vehicle through every approach,
The power of always-beneficial activity,
The power of love pervading all realms,
The power of all-surpassing merit,
The power of supreme knowledge unobstructed by discrimination,
And through the powers of wisdom, skillful means and samadhi,
May I achieve the perfect power of awakening.
Purifying the power of all contaminated actions,
Crushing the power of disturbing emotions at their root,
Defusing the power of interfering forces,
I shall perfect the power of the bodhisattva practice.
May I purify an ocean of worlds,
May I free an ocean of beings,
May I clearly see an ocean of Dharma,
May I realize an ocean of pristine wisdom.
May I purify an ocean of activities,
May I fulfill an ocean of aspirations,
May I make offerings to an ocean of Buddhas,
May I practice without discouragement for an ocean of eons.
To awaken fully through this bodhisattva way,
I shall fulfill without exception
All the diverse aspirations of the awakening practice
Of all Buddhas gone to freedom in the three times everywhere.
In order to practice exactly as the wise one
Called Samantabhadra, ‘All Embracing Good’,
The elder brother of the sons and daughters of the Buddhas,
I completely dedicate all this goodness.
Likewise may I dedicate
Just as the skillful Samantabhadra,
With pure body, speech and mind,
Pure actions and pure Buddha fields.
I shall give rise to the aspirations of Manjushri
For this bodhisattva practice of all embracing good,
To perfect these practices
Without discouragement or pause in all future eons.
May my pure activities be endless,
My good qualities boundless,
And through abiding in immeasurable activity,
May I actualize infinite emanations.
Limitless is the end of space,
Likewise, limitless are living beings,
Thus, limitless are karma and afflictions.
May my aspiration’s reach be limitless as well.
One may offer to the Buddhas
All wealth and adornments of infinite worlds in ten directions,
And one may offer during eons numberless as atoms of the world
Even the greatest happiness of gods and humans;
But whoever hears this extraordinary aspiration,
And longing for highest awakening
Gives rise to faith just once,
Creates far more precious merit.
Those who make this heartfelt aspiration for the bodhisattva way
Will be free of all lower rebirths,
Free of harmful companions,
And will quickly see Amitabha, Infinite Light.
And even in this very human life,
They will be nourished by happiness and have all conducive circumstances.
Without waiting long,
They will become like Samantabhadra himself.
Those who give voice to this extraordinary aspiration
Will quickly and completely purify
The five boundless harmful actions
Created under the power of ignorance.
Blessed with supreme knowledge,
Excellent body, family, attributes, and appearance,
They will be invincible to vast interfering forces and misleading teachers,
And all the three worlds will make offerings.
Going quickly to the noble bodhi tree,
And sitting there to benefit sentient beings,
Subduing all interfering forces,
They will fully awaken and turn the great wheel of Dharma.
Have no doubt that complete awakening
Is the fully ripened result—comprehended only by a Buddha—
Of holding in mind by teaching, reading or reciting
This aspiration of the bodhisattva practice.
In order to train just like
The hero Manjushri who knows reality as it is
And just like Samantabhadra as well,
I completely dedicate all this goodness, just as they did.
With that dedication which is praised as greatest
By all the Buddhas gone to freedom in the three times,
I, too, dedicate all my roots of goodness
For the attainments of the bodhisattva practice.
When the moment of my death arrives,
By eliminating all obscurations
And directly perceiving Amitabha,
May I go immediately to Sukhavati, Pure Land of Great Joy.
Having gone to Sukhavati,
May I actualize the meaning of these aspirations,
Fulfilling them all without exception,
For the benefit of beings for as long as this world endures.
Born from an extremely beautiful, superlative lotus
In this joyful land, the Buddha’s magnificent mandala,
May I receive a prediction of my awakening
Directly from the Buddha Amitabha.
Having received a prediction there,
May I create vast benefit
For beings throughout the ten directions,
With a billion emanations by the power of wisdom.
Through even the small virtue I have accumulated
By offering this prayer of the bodhisattva practice,
May all the positive aspirations of beings
Be fulfilled in an instant.
Through creating limitless merit
By dedicating this prayer of Samantabhadra’s deeds,
May all beings drowning in this torrent of suffering,
Enter the presence of Amitabha.
Through this king of aspirations, which is the greatest of the sublime,
Helping infinite wanderers in samsara,
Through the accomplishment of this scripture dazzling with Samantabhadra’s practice,
May suffering realms be utterly emptied of all beings.
I asked Gary about the 7 days–did the day day of death (Sat) count as 1 in which case we should do the prayer on Friday, or the next day, which would make 7 days Saturday again?
Gary told me, “The King of Prayers can be said every 7 days, Friday or Saturday for 7 weeks (49) days. You can go with every Saturday from here I think.”
I also asked how to direct it for the departed one, since it seemed very personal.
“When you say it, say it with the motivation that you are speaking it to your mom and doing it for yourself as well. As you know, in Buddhist terms your mom is in the intermediate state of the bardo sorting out her next incarnation and thoughts and prayers are directed to her attaining the most optimum rebirth within the next 49 days from her passing on.
“Buddhism says that the Bardo is a very tricky place and we rely on our karma and our mental stamina to avoid the pitfalls and temptations and put ourselves in the best direction. As you recite it, your intent is your aspiration for your mother.
“Frances is on her way as are we all. When we pray , in the Buddhist view, we are always praying for ourselves. In this way hopefully we become better beings and as a result we benefit others.
“If you are a reader, I suspect you are, check out “Lincoln in the Bardo.” It touches on one person’s view of what goes on in the bardo mixed with some actual history from Lincoln’s days.”