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. 

His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche Bestows Yellow Zambala Initiation to Members of Sakya Tsechen Thupten Ling in Canada

By Adrienne Chan

 


 

On November 26, 2011 His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche bestowed the Yellow Zambala initiation to Her Eminence Jetsun Kushok Rinpoche (sister of His Holiness Sakya Trizin) and to the members of her center, Sakya Tsechen Thubten Ling  of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. The initiation took place over Thanksgiving weekend and it was, indeed, memorable. The weather the day before and the day after the initiation were sunny, crisp and cool. However, on the day of the initiation, we experienced an incredible fortuitous blessing; it rained, or one might say, it poured that day. Water is paramount in the practice of Zambala. Dagchen Rinpoche has mentioned that it represents infinity, no end. Zambala is a Buddha who grants material and spiritual prosperity. Thank you, Your Holiness, for bestowing the awesome body, speech and mind blessing of Zambala for benefit of all beings. May prosperity abound for all!

At the request of Dagchen Rinpoche, in the afternoon after the initiation, Venerable Khenpo Jampa Tenphel gave a teaching to the Zambala initiates. He explained how to practice the Dharma and the Zambala sadhana. He taught that before starting any practice a student should always recite with heartfelt conviction “Refuge” and “Bodhicitta”. Furthermore, the practice of Zambala is different from other practices. It is unique because it can grant two kinds of siddis—the common (worldly) and the uncommon (accomplishments of a Buddha or Bodhisattva). At the end of Khenpo’s talk he asked each student to perform the Zambala water ritual and recite the mantra three times.   

The following day, about 50 members of the Vancouver Tibetan community had an audience with Dagchen Rinpoche. Tibetans of all ages attended. Dagchen Rinpoche gave advice to all, and in particular he spoke to the younger generation on preserving Tibetan Buddhist culture. Additionally, Rinpoche bestowed to the group the oral transmissions of Chrenrezi and Manjushri.  

His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho and entourage (Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa, Thupten Jampa (translator), Beth Johanson (driver) and I), thank Her Eminence Jetsun Kushok Rinpoche and her center members for their kind hospitality. We enjoyed meeting her devoted Sakya Tsechen Thubten Ling students, especially Cathy Diaz and Jin Yeo. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.

 


 

Visit and Teaching of His Eminence Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

By Stephanie Prince

We were very happy and honored to have His Eminence Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche visit Sakya Monastery on June 27, 2011.  We were a large assembly to greet him.  H.E. Khyentse Rinpoche expressed his delight to be at Sakya Monastery.

H.E. Khyentse Rinpoche bestowed upon us the oral transmission of the Aspiration of Samantabhadra, which is one of the most devotional prayers recited regularly by members of Sakya Monastery under the guidance of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Rinpoche.  Additionally, Khyentse Rinpoche gave us a brief explanation of the deep importance of the sevenfold branches found at the beginning of the Aspiration: taking refuge with prostrations, confession, rejoicing in the happiness of others, making offerings, requesting that the buddhas continue to turn the wheel of Dharma, beseeching that they remain for the benefit of all sentient beings, and dedication for the benefit of all beings.

He clarified for us the difference between Samantabhadra, the Bodhisattva, and the Samantabhadra who is the Primordial Buddha (in the Tibetan Nyingma tradition).  He also related a memory from his youth when he was instructed to pay respect and homage to one of the Sakya Dhungseys (lineage holder) who was visiting the monastery where Khyentse Rinpoche was living and studying.   He told how very revered and important are all members of the Sakya Khon family.
 
At the conclusion of the Dharma teaching, dedication prayers were recited and katags were offered.  Khyentse Rinpoche specifically dedicated merit to H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, praying for his long life.  We disciples, in the traditional manner, requested three times for Khyentse Rinpoche to return to Sakya Monastery.

Mandala offerings were made to Khyentse Rinpoche first by the Sakya Phuntsok Phodrang family and then by the Sakya Monastery Board of Advisors.  H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche then arrived at the Monastery and Khyentse Rinpoche offered a mandala to this senior-most member of the Sakya Khon lineage.  It was a rare and auspicious opportunity for us to behold these two great masters of the Sakya tradition performing the activities of enlightenment in each other’s presence.

Pursuing Peace Together: 4th Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service

By Adrienne Chan

Leaves of the birch tree were blowing swiftly in the cool dark evening of November 20, 2011.  Inside our Tibetan Cultural Hall there were about 40 people of various faiths (Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Buddhist) gathered together for warm conversation and to sip delicious hot apple cider. After hot cider and homemade cookies made by Kathleen Ramm and Teresa Lamb, our interfaith guests all moved upstairs to the main shrine room for a viewing.  Erick Emerik gave the brief tour.  Following the tour, Venerable Tulku Yeshi and Venerable Khenpo Jampa led this beautiful array of humanity on the candlelight vigil from Sakya Monastery to Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church.  

“Pursing Peace Together” was the theme of the interfaith service, organized by the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church.  This is the third consecutive year that Sakya Monastery has participated in the service.   The evening began with a procession of 10 religious leaders each wearing their various sacred robes. Then prayers were recited from each tradition. On behalf of the Buddhist tradition the following verses were recited:

“Turning One’s thoughts to Dharma” by Ven. Tulku Yeshi and Ven. Khenpo Jampa and
“The Four Immeasurables” by Ven. Tulku Yeshi and Eric Emerik.
Towards the end of the service, Tulku Yeshi gave a heartfelt talk on compassion.

It was a very moving service; especially hearing prayers and chants of compassion, love, and faith recited in Hebrew, Tibetan, English and Arabic. The service closed with the blowing of the Shofar (Jewish horn) and the congregation singing in unison, “World Peace Prayer”.   

 

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