H.E. Dagmo Kusho’s Asia Trip

By Laura Ellis



Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya spent three weeks in Asia in September 2011. The primary purpose of her visit to India was to attend Dhungsey Asanga Rinpoche's Vajrakilaya exams in Dehra Dun. She toured multiple Sakya monasteries and nunneries in India and Nepal and made many offerings to the lamas, monks and nuns of those monasteries. Her Eminence was accompanied by her granddaughter, Jetsun Soyangla. Jetsun Soyangla is the eldest daughter of Dhungsey Sadu Rinpoche and Dagmo Pema. Overall the trip was very successful.



Dagmo Kusho and Jetsun Soyangla stayed several days in New Delhi at the Phuntsok Phodrang in order to check on the young monks in residence there. Dagmola reported that the monks are all doing very well. Many of the monks, ages 6-18 years old, are from orphanages. The Phuntsok Phodrang in New Delhi is home to 31 people, including monks, teachers and staff. Dagmola was delighted to be able to offer each of the young monks a brand new set of clothing provided by patron, Tho Luu, who is the head of Sakya Buddhist Center in Vietnam. The maroon and yellow garments were made in Vietnam.

On the way to India Dagmola stopped in Hong Kong where she gave a Chenrezi initiation at the Maha Sandhi Yoga Center. At the Hong Kong Sakya Center she gave a Green Tara teaching. Lama Tashi came from Taiwan to assist with the teaching.

In Dehra Dun, the seat of His Holiness Sakya Trizin in India, members of the Phuntsok Phodrang gathered to attend H.E. Asanga Rinpoche’s Vajrakilaya exam. H.H. Sakya Trizin and family members of the Drolma Phodrang hosted members of the Phuntsok Phodrang and their attendants including Dhungsey Ani Rinpoche and his family, Dhungseys Avikritar Rinpoche and Abhaya Rinpoche, and Dagmola and Jetsun Soyangla. It was a memorable home coming and reunion for family members of both palaces.

H.E. Asanga Rinpoche, grandson of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and H.E. Dagmo Kusho, began his studies at Tharlam Monastery in 2006 when he was five years old.  He is now twelve, and according to many lamas and khenpos, including H.H. Sakya Trizin, his performance during the exams was exceptional.

The trip was very beneficial on many accounts.  Many offerings were made by Sakya family members and by patrons.  Dagmola was happy that her granddaughter, Jetsun Soyangla, made a connection with the numerous Sakya monasteries and nunneries in India and Nepal.  According to Dagmola, Jetsun Soyangla enjoyed the trip, especially the nunneries, and the reunion with her cousins, Dhungseys Avikritar Rinpoche, Abhaya Rinpoche, Asanga Rinpoche, and members of the Drolma Phodrang’s royal family.  May the Sakya teachings long endure!

Thanksgiving from the Heart

(Address given by Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche at the 50th Anniversary of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche’s and H.E. Dagmo Kusho’s arrival in America.  Sakya Monastery, Seattle, October 16, 2011)



To my dear Gurus, H. H. Dagchen Rinpoche and H.E. Dagmokusho, and to my dear dharma sisters and brothers: 

Today is a very special day for all of us. We are gathered in celebration of Dagchen Rinpoche’s and Dagmokusho’s having thus  far given fifty years of their precious lives to  increasing the buddha-dharma throughout the world, and especially for their having established this center, the Sakya Monastery of Seattle. 

From this temple and from your teachings, how many people have found themselves, and have found the precious dharma, and thus have obtained a beautifully altruistic and peaceful life?   Many of us have actually achieved certain visualizations and/or realizations which greatlyaid in the generation of love and compassion for all beings, and which produce  the wisdom for realization of these world-transforming intentions. 

Your teachings and this temple are a beautiful garden which cultivates the flowers of realization among us practitioners.  From this garden, thousands of people so far, including myself, have gathered so many of these beautiful realizations and attainments.  You two Gurus are like our sun and moon, in the sky of our hearts; continuously you shine out upon us the light of the dharma, like the rising sun or the softly-radiating moon.

This light of the dharma ever-more continually dispels the darkness of our ignorance.  Without this light of your teachings, advice, and selfless example, how could we ourselves come to generate the brilliance of each one’s enlightenment, or even the brightness of our liberation, or even the clear mindfulness which leads us to these?
I’ve spent ten years in other monasteries’ schools, and now thirteen years in your Sakya monasteries (the first four years in Nepal, and then nine years here).  I believe that I’ve so far become in fact at least halfway a Sakya Practitioner, and I ask only to live another ten years or so, to complete the other half!  I feel so fortunate to have been able to serve you, Dagchen Rinpoche and Dagmokusho, and I intend throughout the future to continue to do so, because I know that service for one’s gurus is the essence of the buddha-dharma, the only path for beginners to achieve enlightenment. 

Thus, in fact, each of us here can feel proud to be actually walking this noble path of practice and, in particular, service to you two precious Gurus and your beautiful temple here.
Throughout these past five decades of seasons, as we know, there has been, literally and also figuratively, much rain, snow, storms, floods, winds, and so on, but you’ve helped us to endure all of these, since under the guidance of you gurus we’ve been so blessed to be able to work hard, to think carefully, and to prepare for the worst.

In the past nine years alone, since I’ve been here in your Seattle monastery, I’ve seen you two Gurus giving the precious teachings and leading practices for thousands of souls, thirsty and hungry to receive, to follow, and to actualize the potential of the buddha-dharma.   

 I wish to thank you two, for choosing me to write the most recent versions of your biographies so far.   Among all the full-length books I’ve written regarding various dharmic subjects and teachings, these two have been my favorites to write.

We ordinary people in general cannot now see any buddhas other than as they manifest as Guru-lineages.  Thus, you two are not only the representions but also the manifestation itself of all the buddhas to us.

For we in this dark age, you are the dual-flamed lamp lighting the way.

For we, having somehow caught the plague of self-cherishing, you are the doctors administering the healing, relieving medicine of selflessness. 

For we, trapped on the wrong side of the river from our rescue you have made a huge ferryboat to continually carry masses of us across to our salvation.

For we, lost in the desert of ignorance from our dry self-conceptions, you have made a fruitful oasis where we obtain the refreshing nectar of your wisdom.

So, please, dear Gurus, continue to live a very long life, and continue to carry us along in the flow of your teachings and guidance; a flow as vast and unebbing as the Ganges River, carrying us upon the immense current of the buddha-dharma, here in the West and throughout the whole world, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

We thank you so much, dear Gurus, and we wish you both a very long and even more-rewarding life, while wishing the same for each and every one of each other, and for every sentient being.

50th Anniversary of His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche’s and H.E. Dagmo Kusho’s Arrival in America

(Speech given by David Spiekerman and the 50th Anniversary Celebration Event at Sakya Monastery on October 15, 2011)




Good Morning. On behalf of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya I would like to welcome you to our once in a lifetime celebration of the 50th anniversary of the arrival of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya to Seattle.  On October 12, 1960 Rinpoche and his family stepped on the ground of the Pacific Northwest in North America and changed irrevocably the course of Tibetan Buddhism forever. 

In October 1960, JFK had not been elected President of the US yet. The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US was in high gear. For the white people in this country, samsara was showering them with many pleasures and economic well being. However for African Americans and most other dark skinned non-Europeans, life vacillated between the tolerable and the horrible.

In 1960 color TV was in its infancy. There were no personal computers or cell phones. FM radio was rare. I was 13 years old, and Murray Gordon was in his early 20’s.

In October 1960, the Seattle World’s Fair was two years in the future. The tallest building in Seattle was the Smith Tower. There was no I-5 or I- 405. There was no Microsoft, Amazon, Costco, or Starbucks. MacDonald’s had less than 30 restaurants nationwide. Pizza, Mexican food, and Thai food were unfamiliar to the majority of most Americans.

In 1960 in Washington State, the population of people with Asian ancestry totaled 15,500, half of whom were Filipino, and the other half Chinese and Japanese. Today 484,000 people of Asian ancestry call Washington State their home. In fact, the majority of people in this room did not live in Seattle or were not yet alive in 1960.

In 1960, if you saw an image of the Buddha in Washington State, it was probably in a small shop in the International District where you could buy a statue of a cute, wooden, fat, smiling, and happy Buddha. If you mentioned the word ‘Dharma’, people would give you a puzzled look and dismiss you as a boring nut case. In 1960, the Pacific Northwest was a virtual wasteland in terms of knowledge of the Buddhadharma.

Now please take a moment and look around you in this beautiful and peaceful shrine room and contemplate the vast distances that we have come from 1960 to 2011 thanks to Dagchen Rinpoche and Dagmo Kusho.

After witnessing the devastation of his homeland and fellow Tibetans in the years leading up to his flight to India in 1959, Rinpoche made a remarkable choice in 1960. Although he had to abandon the ancient sacred spaces in the monasteries of Sakya and his Tibetan homeland, he maintained with profound equanimity the most important sacred space, the one permanently residing in his mind. His omniscience empowered him to choose Seattle, of all the many other places in the Free World that he could have chosen to establish a new home for the Sakya lineage. And the kindness of strangers played a significant part that encouraged him to make his new home in Seattle

Rinpoche recognized, with his unalloyed clarity, that Seattle had fertile soil for the roots of the Sakya lineage to flourish and then to flower into great ornaments of the Dharma.

Thank you Rinpoche, for seeing the potential of Seattle to become a safe space for the Buddhadharma and the home of the Sakya lineage in North America.





New Victory Stupa to be blessed at Earth Sanctuary

A blessing ceremony for a newly completed holy Buddhist stupa monument and Tibetan prayer wheels will be held on Saturday, October 8 at 10:30 a.m. at Earth Sanctuary, a nature preserve and retreat center on south Whidbey Island. The public is invited to the ceremony at 5536 Emil Road, Langley, Wash.. The ceremony will be held outside; attendees should bring a cushion or something to sit on.  The ceremony will be held rain or shine.

A stupa is the most important Buddhist monument and is a sacred structure designed to bring peace and harmony to a community and the world.  The blessing and consecration ceremony will be led by His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, the Head Lama of Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Seattle, Wash.  H.H. J.D. Sakya will be assisted by Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya, Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa, and Lama Migmar.

Everyone is also invited to visit Earth Sanctuary and walk with reverence, prayer or meditation around the stupa.  An ADA-compliant parking space and sidewalk to the stupa enable the disabled to easily access the site and enjoy the Earth Sanctuary landscape.

Directions to the stupa:  From 525, turn onto Newman Road and drive for about ¼ mile and turn right onto Emil Road.  Drive up the hill about 2/10s of a mile and turn left into Earth Sanctuary on the gravel road.  The stupa is visible from Emil Road. 

Letter From H.H. Sakya Trizin

We're pleased to share with you a letter that we've received from H.H. Sakya Trizin! Click on the image below to download the letter in PDF form.



His Holiness Sakya Trizin's Visit

By Teresa Lamb




August was a busy and auspicious month for Sakya Monastery!  On August 13th, His Holiness Sakya Trizin and family arrived at the family residence of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya.  This visit was a reunion of the two Sakya families (also referred to as Phodrang , meaning ‘palace’), Sakya Phunsok Phodrang led by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya and Sakya Drolma Phodrang led by H.H. Sakya Trizin.  The visit would be an occasion to benefit hundreds of Dharma practitioners.  

His Holiness Sakya Trizin arrived at Sakya Monastery to a traditional Tibetan welcome of Gyaling horns, a brightly colored parasol (udu), a red carpet and banners with eight auspicious symbols, and monastics dressed in the high red hats of Sakya tradition.  For westerners like me, this was something I have never had the opportunity to see before; an extra special treat!

The first of four public engagements began with an audience requested by the Tibetan Association of Washington.   Following the talk, His Holiness Sakya Trizin and members of the Sakya Drolma Phodrang, members of the Sakya Phunstok Phodrang, and members of Sakya Monastery were treated to Tibetan tea, fruit, cookies, East Tibetan traditional song and dance performances.  The performers, all Eastern Tibetans local to Seattle, were adorned in beautiful and elaborate clothing flown in especially for the event.

Between scheduled engagements, H.H. Sakya Trizin, his wife H.E. Gyalyum Kusho, his son H.E. Gyana Vajra Rinpoche, and entourage visited with Dagchen Rinpoche’s son’s homes.

The following day, August 14th, approximately 320 people arrived at the Center for Spiritual Living for a rare Chenresig Gyalpo-lo Empowerment in the King’s Tradition.  The Center was completely transformed;  wall hangings with beautifully colored brocade fabric embellished with gold embroidery and. prolific offerings of multi-colored flowers framed the ornamental throne where His Holiness was to be seated.  As a backdrop to His Holiness’s throne hung a large thangka of Chenresig with all of the Sakya Deities.  To the right of the throne stood a mandala of Chenresig.  To the  left sat all attending Dhungseys (sons of the Holy Sakya families).

On Monday morning, His Holiness gave a teaching on “The Non-Differentiation Between Samsara and Nirvana”.  His Holiness explained the Sakya view as it relates to the Lamdre teachings, a specialty of the Sakya Tradition. This day also marked the official welcoming of H.H. Sakya Trizin and family to Sakya Monastery.  Drums, conch shell horns, Tibetan Gyaling horns and banners were added to the ceremonial welcome as members of the Sangha lined the sidewalks offering katags to His Holiness and the Holy family. 

Later in the evening at Sakya Monastery, His Holiness’s final engagement was bestowing the Mahakala Initiation.  Mahakala is one the most revered Tibetan Buddhist protector deities.  Over 160 people came to this sold out event.

After the initiation, His Holiness Sakya Trizin and family joined H.H. Dagchen Sakya and family upstairs for refreshments and to say goodbye.  Before leaving everyone came together for a portrait of the two Phodrangs and a group photo with all of the volunteers who helped to make the event a success.  

This truly was a momentous event and a great blessing for us all!                 



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