Lion Statues

The new lion statues arrived at Sakya Monastery on May 5, 2011.  The statues, weighing over a half ton each, are made of marble and were custom made for Sakya Monastery by an artist in Asia.  The snow lion is a national symbol of Tibet.   H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche requested that they stand at the entrance to Sakya Monastery as a representation of Tibetan religion, culture and protection.


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Tibetan Medicine: Paltul Rinpoche’s Visit

By Teresa Lamb

As many of you may know we were very fortunate to have Dr. Paltul Rinpoche come visit us January 21st and 22nd of this year.  Dr. Paltul is a Barom Kagyu lineage holder and respected doctor of Tibetan medicine. 

Paltul Rinpoche and the Monks of Sakya Monastery

(left to right: Lama Migmar, Khenpo Jampa Tenphel, Dr. Paltul Rinpoche, Tulku Yeshi Gyatso)


Sakya Monastery members scheduled 15 minute consultations with Dr. Paltul during which time he used the Tibetan medicine technique of palpation (listening to the pulse) to diagnose health problems. Tibetan medicine pills (blessing pills) were then dispensed to treat ailments.  

At Dr. Paltul's very informative teaching on Tibetan Medicine he explained to us how much detail goes into the preparation of these Tibetan medicine pills. The methods for making them have been passed down for hundreds of years and extensive prayers and rituals must accompany the collecting, drying and preparing of these herbs. 

He also spoke about the differences between Tibetan and western medicine. For example, with Tibetan medicine faith is a key part of the treatment, knowing that this medicine is acting not only on a physical level but on spiritual and energetic level as well.  Also, Tibetan medicine typically takes longer to work but is a more complete remedy, curing the illness from the root not only the symptoms. 

Dr. Paltul kept a very busy schedule seeing people after his evening talk and all day the next day bringing great benefit to all of us here at Sakya Monastery.  The proceeds from these consultations went toward Tibetan health care development projects, thereby bringing benefit to people in Tibet as well. 

We look forward to another visit from Dr. Paltul,  hopefully next year.

2010 Prayer Wheel Project

The immeasurable benefits of the Prayer Wheel are best summed up in the words of Shakyamuni Buddha who said, “Turning the prayer wheel is better than listening, reflecting, and meditating for eons.”

By Mia Juntara, David Spiekerman, and Chuck Pettis

H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya saw the virtuous benefit of expanding the Monastery’s prayer wheel assembly to allow more people to spin them and expand the merit field. Given that the lineage of the Prayer Wheel is original and unbroken, the benefit is enormous.

The new prayer wheels were made by Tibetan artisans from Kathmandu, Nepal. They are made of copper with the mantra, “Om Ah Hung Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hung” pressed clearly into the copper. Inside each prayer wheel, there are 100,000 Tibetan script reiterations of the same Padmasambhava mantra. When the prayer wheels arrived, they were stored in the temple. Knowing that they were there kept the project moving urgently along the sangha anxiously awaited the moment at which they would finally be unveiled.

The new prayer wheels were installed at Sakya Monastery by a crew of volunteers lead by one of His Holiness’ longtime practitioners, John Vichorek, Karma Lodro Zangpo. John is the Monastery’s construction manager and is responsible for the craftsmanship and metal work that has gone into this and many other projects at the Monastery.

In a ceremony led by H.H. Dagchen Jigdal Sakya and esteemed lamas, the glorious 32 Padmasambhava prayer wheels were consecrated in a ceremony on July 3, 2010. In preparation for the ceremony, a single strand of red cord (symbolizing power) was strung from His Holiness's throne table in the Shrine Room, through the far-east window of the Monastery and was carefully placed so that it touched each of the 32 prayer wheels outside. After the guru was “connected” to the prayer wheels, the initial blessing ceremony began in the Shrine room and lasted for 3 hours. Immediately following the blessing ceremony, His Holiness and the lamas moved outside and His Holiness led the actual consecration. The consecration ceremony concluded with the recitation of the prayer for increasing goodness called "Verses for the Groups of 8 Noble Auspicious Ones."

The Monastery has been through many changes over the years, each project building upon the last, aligning with His Holiness’ ultimate vision for the temple. Every aspect of building for the gonpa is a meritorious activity, involves skill, precision, mindfulness of other sentient beings, and meditative concentration.

What is a prayer wheel?

A Prayer Wheel is a meditational object consisting of an enclosed metal cylinder imprinted with mantras, auspicious symbols and deity images, which turn on an axis. When turned the wheel spins quickly, and it is thought that this action invokes the intended deity mantra, sends blessings in all directions, and expands the merit field of the practitioner. If there are multiple wheels turning at once the merit field is increasing in manifold dimensions and this is why having Prayer Wheels at the monastery is of profound importance.

Prayer Wheels in Tibet were made in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials. The larger ones often surround monasteries and stupas. Prayer wheels must be made under the guidance and direction of a Lama and are then blessed and consecrated. HH Jigdal Dagchen Sakya has guided this project definitively from start to finish.

How are prayer wheels used by practitioners?

The practitioner spins the Prayer Wheel thereby increasing the power of concentration on the mantra and increasing the merit field, which is in turn used to dedicate merit to other beings. The Prayer Wheel is used to harness meditative focus on compassion.

Some Benefits of Using a Prayer Wheel

• The Meditational Deities, Dakinis, and Dharma Protectors help us when we turn a prayer wheel.
• Turning the prayer wheel has the power to quickly bless and guard you
• Turning this wheel with great remorse and confession will eliminate the five actions of immediate retribution, the four heavy (bad deeds), the eight wrong views, and the ten nonvirtues.
• If you turn the wheel by hand, whoever sees you turning the wheel, touches you or the wheel, remembers you or the wheel, is struck by the shadow of you or the wheel, will never go to the three lower realms and will be established on the stage of Buddhahood.
• Any man or woman who turns the wheel will obtain whatever they wish for that is in harmony with the Dharma.

Sakya Monastery is seeking donations to help defer the costs of the Prayer Wheel Project. Donors will have their name listed on plaques displayed near the stupa and prayer wheels. You may also donate on behalf of or in memory of a loved one. Donating is not only a way to increase merit, but is also a way to help preserve the art, culture, and teachings of Ancient Tibet. The immeasurable benefits of the Prayer Wheel are best summed up in the words of Shakyamuni Buddha who said, “Turning the prayer wheel is better than listening, reflecting, and meditating for eons.”

To make a donation, please go to

Teachings in Minnesota and New York, 2010

By Venerable Tulku Yeshi Gyatso
Transcribed and Edited by Cynthia Lim

Upon invitation, H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Rinpoche, accompanied by H.E. Dagmo Kusho, Venerable Khenpo Jampa, Venerable Lama Migmar and I visited Sakya Thupten Dargye Ling in Minnesota on June 4, 2010. When our party arrived, Khenpo Kalsang Gyaltsen and the local Tibetan community gave warm greetings and presented us all with white khatas. We had beautiful accommodations in the downtown area of Minneapolis.

On June 6, Dagchen Rinpoche gave a Buddha Amitayus and Hayagriva long life initiation.

There was much preparation and excitement in the air on the morning of June 7, when Rinpoche performed the consecration of the new Sakya Dharma center. That afternoon, many people received Rinpoche’s blessings through individual audiences.

We then made our way to New York. The Kham Nagchen Nyennga Society had invited Dagchen Rinpoche to perform special prayers for the earthquake victims of Yushu, Tibet. Our group was greeted at the airport by Paltul Rinpoche and many Tibetans offering khatas.

On June 11, our group met at ‘Tibet House’ (founded by Robert Thurman). The Tibet House displays an array of Tibetan artifacts, some of which are quite ancient. We were all happy to meet our old friends in New York City and although New York is busy, we found it quite interesting. Khenpo Pema requested a Chenrezi initiation on behalf of his center and the Tibetan community. Dagchen Rinpoche, attended by Sakya Monastery monks, performed the initiation.

Dagchen Rinpoche, on June 12, performed a Vairocana fire puja for those who died in the Tibetan earthquake. Victims of the earthquake received blessings when their names, written on pieces of paper, were burned at the conclusion of the puja.

On June 13, Dagchen Rinpoche performed Vajrakilaya prayers followed by dedication of merit and Kunrik/Monlam prayers for over 1000 people. Following the initiation, Rinpoche gave a lecture on the importance of preserving Tibetan dharma and Tibetan culture. Dagmo Kusho then gave a talk in Tibetan and English, expressing her sympathy for those who are suffering from the earthquake in Yushu and the benefit that will come from prayers by people of all religions around the world.

It is to be noted as well, that nearly every free moment Rinpoche gave private audiences and advised many people who visited the hotel. At last, on June 14, Dagchen Rinpoche, along with his monk attendants, consecrated the dharma center of the Kagyu lama, Tsewang Rinpoche, in the Fleshing area of New York. The consecration was followed by a dharma lecture for members.

On the evening of June 14, Rinpoche was interviewed on Manhattan Cable Television, speaking of the tragedies of the earthquake victims in Tibet as well as relaying events of his personal life in Tibet.

All of us departed New York City on the evening of June 15 with fond memories of our whirlwind trip to both Minnesota and New York. We landed at Sea-Tac airport a few hours later and together returned to Sakya Monastery.

Tenshug, Long Life Ceremony for H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya

By Venerable Khenpo Jampa Tenphel
Translated by Tsering Gaga and Laura Ellis

On Saturday June 20th, and Sunday, June 21st, a Tenshug Puja (ceremony) was held for H.H. Sakya Gongma Dagchen Rinpoche's long life was held at Sakya Monastery.

Prayers began on Saturday with lamas and monks performing White Tara prayers (Drolkar Yishin Norbu). Those in attendance included: H.E. Dagmo Jamyang, Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche, Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa Tenphel, Lama Tashi (Dagchen Rinpoche's representative at his center in Taiwan; Taiwan Dechen Choling Gi Gutsa), Lama Migmar and Lama Tenzin. Venerable Khenpo Jampa was the main chant leader, Dorje Lopon.

Prayers continued on Sunday, Father's Day. Again, lamas and monks performed the long life practice and with music and incense, "invited" H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, "Turner of the Dharma Wheel," to enter the shrine room with music and incense. The Sakya Dhungseys, Jetsunmas and all Sakya Dagmos were also invited to enter the shrine room. Together with patrons, Larry and Teresa Lamb, and Sakya Monastery members and friends, Dagchen Rinpoche was welcomed to his lion throne.

With purity of body, speech and mind, mandala offerings were made to Dagchen Rinpoche that he may live long. Offerings were made first by the Sakya family, followed by Kathog Rinpoche, Lama Tashi Rinpoche , Taiwan Sakya Center President, Sonam Yangkyi, Sakya Monastery board members, Tibetan Association of Washington members, and Sakya Monastery members.

Venerable Tulku Yeshi then read a passage from Dagchen Rinpoche's autobiography. This was followed by the formal request for Rinpoche to live long, performed by Venerable Khenpo Jampa. Rinpoche replied that because of the pure intentions of disciples' request, and because of their prayers and devotion, by that power he said that he will live long.

The Tenshug overall went very well and was blessed with auspicious signs and good fortune.

Venerable Lama Tashi and Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche Visit Sakya Monastery

By Adrienne Chan

From June 15th to July 21st, 2010,the Monastery was honored to host two lamas from Taiwan: Venerable Lama Tashi (Lama Tashi) and Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche (Kathog Rinpoche). Lama Tashi is HH Jigdal Dagchen Sakya’s representative at Tsechen Thupten Dekyi Choling, Taipei, Taiwan. Accompanying Lama Tashi was Chen Shih-fang, President of Tsechen Thupten Dekyi Choling.

Kathog Rinpoche is the head master of Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Dharma Association in Taiwan, with branches in France and Singapore. Elisa Chi, President of Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Dharma Association, joined the visit at the beginning of July.

Twelve years ago, Sakya Monastery invited Lama Tashi, accomplished lama and ritual master of the Sakya sect, to create 15 exquisitely designed butter sculptures (tormas) for the main altar and the Mahakala shrine. This year H.H.J.D. Sakya requested Lama Tashi to replace the incredibly blessed and well-preserved 12-year-old tormas with new tormas. Lama Tashi graciously agreed and artfully created not only the original 15 tormas, but also an additional 30 tormas. The 35 new tormas were placed on the main altar, the Mahakala, Palden Lhamo, and White Mahakala shrines. The tormas ranged in heights from a “fist high” to “elbow to finger tip high." Each torma was intricately decorated; some had rosette flora designs, eyes, representations of jewels (norbu) etc. Lama Tashi is indeed a superb sculptor. Additionally, he is an accomplished Sakya ritual master. On July 2nd, he gave an excellent teaching on the White Mahakala practice (puja).

In July, the Monastery members also received profound Dharma teachings from Kathog Rinpoche, master lama of the Nyingma sect. He bestowed a Padmasambhava Initiation and also taught the following: "How to Prepare for the Moment of Death and the Bardo", Dana Kosha (Tsok Kor) and Dzogchen (the central teachings of the Nyingma Sect). Sakya Monastery deeply appreciates the kind teachings of Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche and Venerable Lama Tashi. Furthermore, we were blessed with their presence as they were able to join our lamas in three very auspicious celebrations: the June 20th and 21st Tenshug Ceremony for H.H.J.D. Sakya’s Long Life; the July 3rd consecration ceremony for our 32 new prayer wheels; and the July 11th Celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 74th Birthday.


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