Green Tara Teaching by H.E. Dagmo Kusho

Dagmo Chimey Sakya, Translator.
Notes were taken by Laura Ellis.

October 22, 2015

Prior to the Green Tara initiation at Sakya Monastery in Seattle, H.E. Dagmo Kusho gave the following commentary:

The practice of Green Tara is very important because she is the mother of all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and all sentient being.  She is also the representation of one’s own mother.  Through her loving kindness and compassion she is accessible to all practitioners, just as one’s own mother is always there for her children.  In Tibetan Buddhism there are many deities, all with their own characteristics and powers: wealth, long life, healing and so on.  Each deity fulfills all the different needs of all the different sentient beings.  Tara is the mother of all beings and fulfills all wishes.  She is known for her swiftness in fulfilling wishes.  Through the non-dual aspect of method and wisdom she represents loving kindness to all beings.  When you practice Tara, she is known for her swiftness.  She will come to your aid without any bias or delay.  She fulfills all wishes of the practitioner.

The 21 manifestations of Tara are described in the 21 Praises of Tara.  When you recite the 21 Praises you will understand each form of Tara has different attributes.  Green Tara is the embodiment of all of the twenty one Taras combined.  

In Tibetan stories Green Tara was once a princess called Yishe Dawa .  She took an oath in the presence of Buddha Amogasiddhi to practice and liberate all beings from suffering.  She vowed to always be born as a female, even though she had the ability to be born as a male and others encouraged her to be born as a male.  She wanted to be born as a female who could liberate all beings and attain enlightenment.  Another story has it that Chenrezi had vowed to Amitaba to liberate all beings but no matter how many he liberated there were always more.  When Chenrezi wept, Tara emanated as a tear from his eyes.  Therefore there is a strong connection between Green Tara, Buddha Amitaba, and Chenrezi.  Tara is also regarded as the feminine aspect of Buddha Avalokiteshwara or Chenrezig.

Green Tara is a very powerful practice.  It helps remove the 8 Fears or the 8 Obscurations which reflect the external manifestations of our fears and their corresponding mental obscurations:
1.    Lion:  pride
2.    Elephant:  ignorance
3.    Fire:  hatred and anger
4.    Snake: envy
5.    Thieves: wrong views
6.    Imprisonment:  coveting and miserliness
7.    Floods:  attachment and desire
8.    Evil spirits:  doubts and suspicions
When we have these fears we pray to Tara and she swiftly protects us from these fears.

The Great Pandita Atisha visited Tibet and later in the holy place of Bodh Gaya he composed a prayer to the beginning of the 21 Praises of Tara.  He earnestly practiced Tara and recited the mantra and she appeared to him.  She asked him to go to Tibet to benefit the people and to protect Tibet.  Since then she is regarded as the protector of Tibet.  This initiation has come all the way from Atisha in an unbroken lineage.

Chu-Tsa Teaching with H.E. Dagmo Kusho and Ven. Khenpo Jampa Rinpoche

By Laura Ellis

On Sunday, October 4th, 2015, H.E. Dagmo Kusho, Venerable Khenpo Jampa and Dharma students from Sakya Monastery gathered at Carkeek Park in Seattle, to make sacred Chu-Tsa offerings.  The word ‘chu’ means ‘water’ and ‘tsa’ means ‘mold’.  The word ‘tsa sa’ typically refers to the clay images of buddhas and bodhisattvas that are consecrated and used to fill the inside of stupas.  Dagmo Kusho la explained that another way to make tsa sa is from of water.

Dagmo Kusho la gave a brief teaching.  She said that, according to His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche, water tsa sa are especially beneficial because water sustains life, it remains forever on the earth and it goes all over the world.  Therefore the blessings imparted by the chu tsa will remain in the world forever. 

There is great healing benefit for oneself and all beings. When one performs the chu tsa offering one is helping other beings to heal.  Therefore the result is that one self will also receive healing blessings. In waterways it is said that for every four foot stretch of water there is a water goddess.  The goddess helps purify the water.  That is why in Tibet, one person can be seen washing clothes upstream and downstream another person is drinking from the river.  Tibetans believe this. The chu tsa offering can purify the water in the same way.  Practicing the chu tsa offering is very easy, it does not cost anything, benefits all beings, and the accumulation of merit is tremendous.  For these reasons it is a good practice for lay practitioners.  In Tibet, it is traditional for groups of lay practitioners (even entire villages) to gather on auspicious days of the year and perform chu tsa.

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Everyone was delighted and surprised when H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and his son, H.E. Zaya Rinpoche, unexpectedly arrived at the park.  Dagchen Rinpoche led us in the recitation of the Aspiration of Samantabhadra. We then recited the Three Long Life Deity prayers for our holy teachers before going down to the beach at the place where the fresh water stream meets the sea. 

Dagmo Kusho la showed us how to make the chu tsa by placing the mold mindfully in the water in an upright fashion so that the image is imprinted perfectly upon the water.  Just as with clay tsa sa, the water has to fill the entire mold in order to make a perfect image.  Dagmola emphasized how important it is to do the practice in the proper way.  Then one repeats the process many times while reciting mantras.  One can recite any mantra one chooses, usually Om Mani Padme Hung.

Khenpo-la playfully showered participants with blessings from his tsa sa mold.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  Perfect weather for engaging in this meritorious activity by scenic Puget Sound surrounded by mountains, a blue sky, a fresh breeze and clear water to carry the Buddha’s adamantine blessings all over the world.

May our precious teachers live long and may the Buddha Dharma spread and increase!

How To Become A Good Practitioner

by Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche

Our Sangha recently had the pleasure of receiving a glorious teaching from Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche entitled, “How to become a good practitioner.” Rinpoche began his lecture with the following words:

In many ways, you know more than me. Because there are so many books about Tibetan Buddhism that are written in English, you have had the opportunity to read from many masters from many different schools. You can read teachings from Thai, Chinese and Zen Buddhism books as well as from the Indian and Tibetan Masters.

Yet, I have received many teachings from lots of Tibetan Masters, many of them being realized Masters. It is hard to really know who is on the path or who is realized. However, from my side, I respect them as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. For me, they are very important spiritual teachers, the most important beings in my life. More than my parents, or the same as my parents.

This means that we are like 50/50. You know more than me in one way, by being able to read so much information on the Buddhadharma. Then, I know more than you in another way that I can share with you. That is why I am here today to sit down and give this talk, to be able to pass down to you the teachings that I have received over many years. I have tried very hard to learn English to be able to communicate with you in the best way possible, to save the time that it takes to translate.

If you would like to read the complete transcript, you can download it here.

The Beauty Of Chenrezi Practice

by Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche

This past Saturday, we students had the fortunate opportunity to listen to a precious Dharma teaching from Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche and receive transmission on the two texts that he had explained. After a few days of unexpected summer rainstorms filled with lightning and showers, Saturday came along with radiant sun and warmth. Many students gathered to welcome Rinpoche and he began to teach the glorious Dharma; giving direction and explanation on the two Chenrezi texts used at Sakya Monastery. These two texts are entitled, “An Ocean Of Compassion” and “Filling Space To Benefit Beings”. As we began, Rinpoche shared that traditionally Tibet is called the “Land of Chenrezi” as ancient Tibet is known for being so peaceful. He then gave us an eloquent reminder of the importance of the Dharmic bridge between ourselves and our gurus. We should remember to remain thankful and appreciate this connection that we are so fortunate to have. If someone helps you to practice Dharma, we should think that this person is a good person and be thankful, respecting them. We don’t really know if this person is an emanation of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, but this connection, the Dharma, is perfect. Don’t think that guru means someone wearing a yellow robe or sitting on a throne, those kinds of things. If someone gives teaching of perfect Dharma, that’s your Guru. This person, you can visualize on the crown of your head or in your heart, and respect this person.

If you would like to read the complete transcript, you can download it here.

Ven. Khen Rinpoche Jampa’s First Visit to Vietnam

By Tenpa Wangchuk

Ven. Khen Rinpoche Jampa, abbot of Sakya Monastery, the seat of His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche’s in North America, went to Vietnam under the direction and guidance of His Holiness to teach, bestow empowerments and also to prepare for the consecration of the Long Tho Cremation Plant as well as Sakya Tsechen Shide Choling, His Holiness’ seat in Vietnam. He said that although it was as hot as Delhi in India (over 100 degrees at midnight!), it was truly a blessing and a pleasure to serve His Holiness and to share the immaculate Sakya tradition with the people of Vietnam. The students there were very eager and enthusiastic to learn the teachings of the Secret Mantrayana and Khen Rinpoche felt a deep karmic connection with all of the people that he met. He believes that the arrival of the Sakyapa in Vietnam will be very fruitful and bring the immeasurable blessings of the Holy Dharma to many, many people for the benefit of all mother sentient beings. Mr. Tho Luu and Mrs. Dang Hong, two long-time followers of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, organized and sponsored his visit. Along with the members of the Sakya Center in Ho Chi Minh City, they meticulously provided for his every need and facilitated many opportunities for him to share the wisdom teachings of the Buddha.

On the 21st of August Khen Rinpoche gave a public teaching on the practice of Yellow Dzambala followed by a Yellow Dzambala puja and candle offering ceremony. On the 22nd he gave a teaching on the Green Tara Four Mandala practice and afterwards performed the puja with 25 members of the Ho Chi Minh City Sakya Center. He gave a public teaching on the practice of Chenrezig on the 23rd, the same practice that we engage in here in Seattle at Sakya Monastery on Thursday evenings, and led the students in the meditation afterwards. On August 24th he conducted a smoke offering puja with the Sakya Center members, making offerings to the spirits of the deceased (Sur) for the Chinese Ghost Festival, a tradition similar to the Day of the Dead in Mexico. From the 25th to the 27th he met with students privately to confer blessings and teachings, consecrate statues, perform divinations and hold private audiences. On the 28th he conducted a Chöd practice with the Sakya Center members, dedicating the merits of the practice to the countless beings that lost their lives in the violence of the Vietnam wars. Khen Rinpoche then conducted a Vajrapani fire puja on the 29th and bestowed the empowerment of Vajrapani with two arms the next day at the newly finished Nagarjuna Memorial Tower Park temple complex.

To the astonishment of all in attendance, Vajrapani’s form could be clearly seen in the shape of the flames for 10 minutes during the fire puja! Khen Rinpoche believes that this is a truly auspicious sign for the establishment of the Sakya tradition in Vietnam. All the teachings and pujas were very successful, with no obstacles. In all, he bestowed the refuge vows to 29 new students and inspired countless more to follow the teachings of the glorious Sakyapa.  We sincerely rejoice in the merit of the turning of the Dharma wheel by His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche, the Khön Dhunge Family, Ven. Khen Rinpoche Jampa and all the compassionate teachers of the three times! May it be auspicious!

To His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche, Her Emminence Dagmo Kusho, the Khön Dhunge Family, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism and Sakya Tsechen Shide Choling, a branch of Sakya Monastery in Vietnam, Mr. Tho Luu, Mrs. Dang Hong, and the Dharma sisters and brothers of the Sakya Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Ven. Khen Rinpoche Jampa would like to express his heartfelt gratitude for the tremendous opportunity to share the Buddhadharma with new students in Vietnam! He dedicates the merit of all his practice and teachings to your long life, good fortune and freedom from obstacles.

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Tenshug Offering for H.H. Jigdal Dachen Sakya

Photos from the Tenshug offering for H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya on August 23, 2015.

The Tenshug was sponsored by

- Vairocana Abhya Jnanakara (Yeshe Jungney) Rinpoche and family, from Golo, Tibet
-The Da Ping family from Lhasa, Tibet

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