Dharma Teens Meet with H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche

By Emma Young

On February 11, 2012, Sakya Monastery welcomed H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche for a discussion with the Dharma for Teens Program. About 15 teenagers attended the event. Dharma for Teens is a group for teenagers who are interested in learning about Buddhism.

Attendees asked questions such as, how life for teens in India differs from life in the U.S.  H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche talked to the group about their daily schedule.  In India they have a very rigorous schedule that requires them to get up early in the morning and continue their days long until about 10 o'clock. In the U.S. people have much more leisure time. One cultural difference between Americans and Indians is that, in the US people don't recognize lamas and monks by their traditional dress. In India everyone knows the Tibetan culture and lamas are not viewed as being ‘different’.

Teens asked other questions on their minds and learned how to incorporate Buddhism into their everyday lives with the insight of H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche. 

Dharma for Teens is led by Alden Moore and Emma Young. If you would like more information on Dharma for Teens or would like to be on our mailing list please contact Alden Moore or Emma Young by emailing the Monastery monastery@sakya.org. Events are announced by email.

Gyap-Shi Puja Ceremony for H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya’s Long Life

By Kim Abbey

On Tuesday, April 10th, 2012, our lamas: Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa,  Lama Migmar, and Lama Lungrig from Sakya’s Nalanda Institute in Olympia performed a special Gyap-Shi puja ceremony.

This was a religious ceremony performed for the removal of the obstacles and the long life of our Head Lama, His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya.  The ceremony also frees beings from enemies, and summons beings to virtuous activities. The ceremony of chants and offerings lasted from 9 am until 2 pm.

Days ahead, in preparation for the puja, Ven. Khenpo Jampa taught members and visitors of Sakya Monastery how to make tsa tsas, small 3”clay sculptures.  The clay tsa tsas were formed from special miniature molds in the form of stupas.  The tsas tsas were then dried and painted bright colors representing the four directions: red for West, white for East, green for South and yellow for the North.

On the day of the puja, an elaborately decorated table was set up.  At the center of table was a miniature 6” statue of Dagchen Rinpoche, which wore the full dress of a Sakya Head Lama including the sashu hat worn by Khon lineage holders.   Additionally, on the table were tormas (cake offerings), and facing the four directions were sets of 25 lit votive candles and 25 tsa tsas.  

While Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa, Lama Migmar, and Lama Lungrig recited Gyap-Shi puja prayers, members participated by reciting Dagchen Rinpoche’s long life prayer and the Three Long Life Deities prayers:  

1) Amitayus, Buddha of Boundless Life (the Sambhogakaya aspect of Amitaba)
2) Usnisa-vijaya, one of the 21 Taras, white in color with 3 faces and 8 arms, she holds an image of the Buddha in her right hand or on her crown.
3) White Tara, also known as The Wish Fulfilling Wheel, feminine deity of long life and serenity.

Near the end of the puja the specially painted tsa tsas were carried away by Sakya members to the four directions. The Gypa-shi puja ceremony went very well and was carried out all in accordance with tradition.  It was a success and made everyone happy.

For the benefit and wellbeing of all sentient beings may His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche have continued long life, good health and success in the Dharma!

H.E. Dagmo Kusho’s California Teaching Tour 2012

By Beth Johansen

On January 20th Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya left Seattle for a 10-day trip to Southern California. Her first stop was Santa Barbara where students who hosted the event: Vidya Gauci, James Elliott and Sangay Wangmo, warmly received her.

 Dagmo Kusho gave a very special teaching on the classic Sakya treatise known as “Parting from the Four Desires”, as requested by Dr. Alan Wallace. His translations of dharma teachings are absolutely clear and brilliant. During the next few days, Dagmo Kusho bestowed the Four Armed Chenrezi Initiation and gave teachings on the Chenrezi practice, “An Ocean of Compassion”.



Dagmo Kusho left Santa Barbara for Malibu where she was welcomed at the home of her long time student and friend, Carol Moss. In Malibu Dagmo Kusho gave teachings on the Chenrezi practice, “An Ocean of Compassion”.

Dagmo Kusho was joined in Malibu by Dhungsey Zaya Rinpoche, her grandsons H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche, Dagmo Lhanze and Abhaya Rinpoche’s teacher Gen Kunsang Gyatso.  The Sakya family spent three days reuniting and sightseeing together in Malibu.



While in Malibu Dagmo Kusho was invited to the Malibu Lagoon Park where many animals and birds are living.  Local residents and the students joined Dagmo Kusho in saying prayers for all the living beings in the park.



On January 27th Dagmo Kusho and the entire Sakya family went to Beverly Hills where they enjoyed lunch at the home of her son, Minzu Rinpoche and Dagmo Carol Hamilton. Dhungsey Minzu Rinpoche and Dagmo Carol played a very important part in making arrangements for this auspicious Sakya family reunion.

Dagmo Kusho would like to personally thank all of her faithful students and friends who helped with cooking, shopping and driving, and especially Jeaneen Bauer and Vidya Gauci for their tireless and enthusiastic help with driving her and the Sakya family during their ten day stay in California.

It is always a joyful experience for me to accompany H.E. Dagmo Kusho on her travels. I am deeply appreciative of the profound teachings which serve to deepen my practice and compassion.

Tenshu for H.H. Jidgal Dagchen Sakya Offered by Venerable Migyur Rinpoche

By Laura Ellis

On January 1, 2012 a ‘tenshu’, or long life ceremony, was held for His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya. The tenshu was sponsored by Venerable Migyur Rinpoche. Migyur Rinpoche attended the prayers along with his family members and disciples from Taiwan. 



The Three Long Life Deity puja was performed for H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche followed by recitation of the 12 Deeds of Lord Buddha and 16 Arhat Prayers. Offerings of Tibetan tea and long life rice were made to Lord Buddha, the protector deities, and to His Holiness. Migyur Rinpoche then offered a mandala to Dagchen Rinpoche followed by katag offerings from members of the Sangha.

After the concluding prayers, a manja, sponsored by Migyur Rinpoche, was offered to the Sangha in the Tibetan Cultural Hall. It was an auspicious and wholesome way to begin the new year. 

Long live His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya!

An Excerpt from Entryway to the Dharma, part 2

Written in 1167 C.E. By Lopön Rinpoche Sönam Tsemo
Translated in Jeffrey Schoening's Classical Literary Tibetan Class
with Jeff Bennett, Tom Linder, and Bill Sternhagen
(Continued from a previous entry in Sakya Chronicles, which presented the first two deeds of the Buddha: Descent from the God Realm and Birth)

The Third Deed: Skill in Crafts and Taking a Consort

Then, the Raising of That One: when the time came to study writing, [the Bodhisattva] went to a school of writing.
He said to the teacher: Teacher, which such as the divine writings (i. e. Sanskrit) will you teach me?  Saying that, he pronounced the sixty-four names of writings.
The teacher was astonished and said:

Among sentient beings (you are) a great marvel; although you are learned in all the treatises,
Because of conforming to the world, to the school of writing you have come.

I do not know even the name of those (writings), he said.
At that time, all the children became quite knowledgeable.
Then, the Bodhisattva himself went to a peaceful spot, and sitting in the shadow of a rose apple tree, analyzed the Dharma.  
At that time, when six young seers were flying in the sky miraculously, they were not able to proceed above the Bodhisattva, and (so) paid homage to his feet.
At that time, when the Bodhisattva wandered off and was sought out, because the king saw (the Bodhisattva) not abandoned being by the shadow when the sun passed and an array of worshiping devaputras (sons of gods), he rejoiced:

Since (you), Great Sage, were born, since (you), Radiant One, meditated,
O Guide, in this way two times, Protector, I salute your feet.

Then the Śākya elders gathered; in order that the lineage of the Ruler with a Wheel be unbroken, they requested he take a bride.  
The Bodhisattva thought:

I do not desire objects of desire; I do not (desire) a harem of beautiful women.
I will silently dwell in the deep forest, mind calmed with the bliss of meditative concentration.

He reconsidered, (saying):

Lotuses grow in filthy swamps.  Among happy  people a king obtains offerings.
When the Bodhisattva obtains an excellent entourage, then billions of beings will win immortality.

The wise bodhisattvas of yore, they all kept company with queens and children.
But, (they) were not impassioned with desire, nor strayed from the bliss of meditation.
I too shall train in those qualities.

So saying, he remained silent.
Then the king asked: What sort of lady will you wed?
The Bodhisattva replied: (I will wed) one who is praised with possessing these thirty-two qualities.
The king commanded the brahmins: You, go and seek one possessed with these qualities.  Because these qualities matter most, the caste is not paramount.
When the brahmins searched, they saw there was one so endowed called Gopā (Sa ‘tsho ma), a daughter of Śākya Dandapāni (Lag na be con).
(They) reported that to the king and (he said), “Ask her (hand in marriage).”
When the brahmins asked (her hand in marriage), Śākya Dandapāni said: We will give to the one skilled in crafts, arts, and sports, but your youth is not skilled at all.  
When that was reported to the king, the king was not pleased.  
The Bodhisattva beheld that and asked three times, “Father, what is wrong?” He explained in detail. Dandapāni challenges me.
The Bodhisattva said: A crafts, arts, and sports competition is acceptable.
The king said: Are you able? (The Bodhisattva said: I) am able.
Because such a (competition) was good, bells proclaimed, “A competition on the next day.”
Then Devadatta struck the Bodhisattva’s elephant with his palm and killed it.  Sundarananda (Mdzes dga’ bo) tossed that (elephant carcass) outside the village.  The Bodhisattva, without dismounting from his chariot, tossed that (carcass) with his little toe a distance of two miles.  
Then, in the midst of the many gathered people, starting with the writing competition, the writing teacher Viśvamitra said, “(They) are unable to compete with you.”
Then, at the time of the calculation competition, Shākya Arjuna was also unable to compete.
Likewise, when there were the leaping, swimming, strength, and throwing competitions, what need to mention the other youths?  Dandapāni was also not able to compete.
The gods, [exclaiming], “In that way also what a great wonder,” said:

This one dwells at the heart of the earth, the seat of buddhas of yore.
With calm abiding holding in the sky and arrows of empt[iness]
defeating the enemies, the defilements, and rending the net of (false) views,
you will obtain enlightenment, peace, untainted, and  without sorrow.

At that time the gods thought, “When will this one be enlightened?”
Then, the Bodhisattva took (as wives) the excellent lady Gopā and a retinue of twenty thousand.
Then the Bodhisattva lived in the palace to the age of twenty-nine.
This is the Third Deed.

The Fourth Deed: The Great Departure

At that time, although the Bodhisattva was not wasting time, the Tathāgatas exhorted (him) with songs such as the “Dharmatā Exhortation”:

Seeing beings with their hundreds of sufferings, You made an aspiration of old:
“May I become the protector of beings, their shelter and refuge!
May I become an excellent benefactor and friend and advocate!”
Virtuous hero, recollect your previous deeds and your aspiration, “I shall benefit beings.”

Then the gods exhorted him.
Then, intending to go from park to park, when he went into the city, at the eastern gate he beheld the suffering of old age.
At the southern (gate), the suffering of illness; at the western, he beheld the suffering of death.  He understood that those arose in all beings.  Then, when he went to the northern, the gods emanated the form of a monk.
While the Bodhisattva knew, he asked, “What is this?”
Chandaka said: This is called “a monk,” one who is freed from suffering.
The Bodhisattva returned home and thought, “I will depart in a week.”
At that time, because there arose the sound from the cymbals saying, “The prince will depart in seven days,” everyone guarded the Bodhisattva.
Then, he went to the king unperceived by anyone the night he intended to depart, and he voiced this request:

Divine One, it is fit that the time has come for my departure.
Do not hinder me; please do not be unhappy.

The king said: Son, I will give you what you wish.  Do not say that!   
The Bodhisattva said: Father, I want freedom from birth, old age, sickness, and death.   
The king thought: That I am not able to give, but even when this one was born, he said, “(This) will be my final existence,” and the brahmins also predicted that he would depart, so he will certainly go, and with a few words gave his permission.
Then, when the Bodhisattva departed, he made these four aspirations:

I will proclaim the sound of Dharma to all sentient beings. I will remove the darkness of ignorance.
I will pulverize the mountain of pride. I will unravel the knot of craving.

So thinking, he went to the top of the palace and at midnight, when the constellation Pusyā (rgyal po rgyal) arose, he paid homage to all the buddhas of the ten directions and supplicating them again and again, said to Chandaka:

This auspiciousness, accomplishing all my goals, without doubt will be achieved this night, but
Chandaka, do not put if off, but swiftly give to me the royal horse decorated with adornments.

So, he brought the horse.
Then some of the gods intoxicated the guards, some made the harem of ladies unattractive, and some worshiped him.
The Four Great Kings lifted up the four legs of the horse and carrying the Bodhisattva and Chandaka in the sky, upon proceeding, day broke at a place six yojanas distant.
That very (Bodhisattva) cut off his locks.
Then, (the Bodhisattva) gave to Chandaka such things as the horse and head ornaments and said to him, “Chandaka, carry these and go to Kapilavastu.  Address my parents with my words: ‘The prince has gone but do not grieve.  He will return again having been enlightened.  Listening to the holy Dharma will soothe grief.’”
Chandaka said: Will I not be punished?
(The Bodhisattva) said: According to your kindness to me, you will be treated with kindness, do not fear.  Then Chandaka returned, and when he gave the account of the arrangement, by the blessing of the Bodhisattva sorrows were soothed.
Then as soon as the Bodhisattva thought, “I do not want these fine clothes, but need saffron-colored robes,” the devaputras in the form of hunters took the clothes of the Bodhisattva and presented him with saffron-colored robes.
The Bodhisattva put them on and was ordained.   
This is the Fourth Deed.

NWDA’s 8th Annual Teachers Meeting

On the traditional first Saturday in October, the Northwest Dharma Association held its eighth annual Teachers Meeting at the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Seattle. The 2011 event was possibly the largest and most diverse of the NWDA teacher gatherings yet.

In addition to ample representation from Sakya, those attending included a contingent of monks from Chua Co Lam Pagoda, Seattle’s largest Vietnamese Buddhist temple. Other teachers came from various Zen lineages, Hua Yen, Pure Land, Dharma Punx, and Vipassana meditation sanghas.

Ven. Kenpo Jampa, abbot of Sakya monastery, led the gathering in an opening prayer, following which we had two hours of spirited discussion on a subjects of concern to virtually all teachers and sanghas.

First up was the subject of outreach. It was widely agreed that we could benefit from emulating our Christian friends and be more outgoing in our efforts to find new members. Koshin Cain and others agreed that Buddhist sanghas often act too coolly towards newcomers looking for a Buddhist “home” and while that attitude may be in keeping with Buddhist tradition, it doesn’t work well in the American milieu.

Dagmo-La (Sakya Monastery) pointed out that Buddhism is all about loving compassion. Our treatment of newcomers should reflect that.

Tashi Paljor of Sakya came up with a neat idea: each year a different sangha submits a “Buddha’s Birthday Card” to NWDA, who then emails it to all members. Great way to foster inter-sangha fellowship!

After a delicious vegetarian lunch, Ven. Khenpo Jampa talked on the subject of “bringing the Dharma to western minds.” He stressed that Buddhism cannot be learned from books – a true seeker must have a qualified teacher. And we as teachers, before attempting to teach others, must be sure we have a thorough and complete understanding of the Dharma ourselves.

As the conference came to an end, Ven. Khenpo Jampa closed with dedication of merit, and gave each attendee a small vajra pendant.

Many thanks to our hosts, Sakya Monastery, and to all who attended for making the 2011 NWDA Teachers Meeting a super event!

This article is excepted from one that appeared in the Fall 22011 Northwest Dharma News, written by Bill Hirsh: http://www.northwestdharma.org/news/Fall11/teachers-meeting.php .



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