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 .


Tuk and Gyaltsen Project

By Larry Lamb

In 2010, under the guidance and instruction of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Rinpoche, work began on the construction of the two Tuks and two Gyaltsens for the Monastery rooftop.  The two Gyaltsens (Tibetan for ‘dharma victory’), bring peace, and two Tuks (Tibetan for ‘mind’) are for protection.  They represent the wrathful, or dharma protector deities, in particular, Mahakala. 

Working from a drawing given to him by Dagchen Rinpoche, John Vichorek designed the framework for the four sculptures.  I assisted John with the construction.  Traditionally, they are built with bricks and plastered over with cement.  John, however, wanted to construct them out of materials more suited to our wet weather here in the Pacific Northwest.  Taking care to maintain the circular shape they were coated with a layer of fiberglass which would stand up nicely to the rain in Seattle.

With the fiberglass work done, Lama Migmar, and Lama Tashi ( invited from Dagchen Rinpoche’s Taiwan Center to help with the project) set to work doing all the outside design work and preparing all the sacred objects for the inside of each sculpture. It was really incredible to watch these two masters work; Lama Migmar forming the delicate designs on the outside of the Gyaltsens with epoxy putty, and Lama Tashi sewing together the coverings for the Tuks.

Once the Tuks and Gyaltsens were finished, and installed on the roof, they were ready to be consecrated by H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche. The consecration was set for August 6th, 2011. Our painting contractor was kind enough to leave their giant man-lift for us to hoist all the necessary people, and ritual items up onto the roof of the Monastery.  The consecration ceremony was lead by H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche.  Also participating in the ceremony were:  Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho, Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa, Lama Tashi, Lama Migmar and Ven. Lekshey.

One auspicious sign that manifested during the consecration was the parting of the clouds.  The morning started out very cloudy while we were setting everything up. Once the ceremony began, everyone noticed that the clouds starting dissipating above the Monastery and the circle of blue sky increased in all directions. A circular rainbow then appeared around the sun. It was really quite an amazing ceremony.  As the consecration drew to a close, the clouds began to close back in around us.

Helping with the Tuk and Gyaltsen project was a great way to spend time around these incredibly talented and devoted disciples of His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche; all working to complete his Monastery.

Monastery Painting Project

By Larry Lamb



The re-painting of the Monastery originally started about three years ago.  A team of many dedicated volunteers started scraping and sanding all of the window and door frames. The large shrine room windows received an extra treatment of epoxy on the outside and, once everything was prepared, we started painting. The windows and doors looked incredible when we were finished.  The new paint around the doors and windows showed off how much the rest of the building really needed a fresh coat of paint.

In early 2011, at one of the Sakya Monastery board meetings, permission was given to hire a painting contractor. We were also informed that His Holiness Sakya Trizin would be visiting Seattle and giving teachings at the Monastery and other venues.  What a great opportunity to have the Monastery really looking new!

It was decided to start the preparation, and painting in early July, with an estimated completion time of 3 to 4 weeks, this would work out very nicely for the timing of H.H. Sakya Trizin’s visit. 

The crew from DeWalt Construction arrived on July 11, and set to work pressure washing, and preparing  the outside of the Monastery for painting. Melinda DeWalt, the owner of the company, brought out some paint samples for H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche to choose from. They painted three large patches of different tones of yellow near the stupa.  Once Dagchen Rinpoche decided on the color, ‘sunflower yellow’, the painting crew set to work masking and painting.

With Dagchen Rinpoche’s guidance, the painting of the Monastery could not have gone any smoother.  The whole process fell into place as things progressed. It was truly a great experience being involved in the project from the very beginning, all the way to the end.  Many thanks to all of the volunteers who helped with the project.  It is so wonderful to see our beautiful Monastery looking so fresh, and to know that it is protected from the elements for years to come. 

Third Annual Live Animal Release Ceremony

By Kristine Honda

On April 9, 2011, Sakya Monastery held its third annual Live Animal Release Ceremony for the long lives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche, Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya and our lamas at Sakya Monastery.    H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, Dhungsey Sadu Rinpoche and his family, H.E. Dagmo Kusho, Venerable Tulku Yeshi, Venerable Khenpo Jampa, Venerable Lama Migmar, and members of Sakya Monastery participated in the prayers and in releasing captive Dungeness crabs in the vicinity of Anacortes.

It was a wonderful, blessed occasion.  It was rainy in most of the Puget Sound region that day but in the area of the live animal release, there was no trace of rain.   Over 150 live Dungeness crabs were purchased from a local purveyor who was kind enough to transport the crabs for us.  Venerable Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche led the prayers for the crabs.  The Aspiration of Samantabadra, Chenrezi’s mantra, liberation by hearing mantras, and long life prayers for H.H. the Dalai Lama, H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and H.E. Dagmo Kusho Sakya were performed.

The majority of the blessed crabs found their way out to Puget Sound.  May they have a long life and a future connection to H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and the Three Jewels!

This year, we will once again have a live animal release, on Saturday April 7th.  Please join us for this very auspicious event.  We can save lives and generate merit whether or not we can actually attend the release itself.  Donations will be collected each week prior to the event and donations can also be made online.  Please put in the comment box (if available) that the funds are for the crab release. 


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