Venerable Lama Tashi and Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche Visit Sakya Monastery

By Adrienne Chan

From June 15th to July 21st, 2010,the Monastery was honored to host two lamas from Taiwan: Venerable Lama Tashi (Lama Tashi) and Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche (Kathog Rinpoche). Lama Tashi is HH Jigdal Dagchen Sakya’s representative at Tsechen Thupten Dekyi Choling, Taipei, Taiwan. Accompanying Lama Tashi was Chen Shih-fang, President of Tsechen Thupten Dekyi Choling.

Kathog Rinpoche is the head master of Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Dharma Association in Taiwan, with branches in France and Singapore. Elisa Chi, President of Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Dharma Association, joined the visit at the beginning of July.

Twelve years ago, Sakya Monastery invited Lama Tashi, accomplished lama and ritual master of the Sakya sect, to create 15 exquisitely designed butter sculptures (tormas) for the main altar and the Mahakala shrine. This year H.H.J.D. Sakya requested Lama Tashi to replace the incredibly blessed and well-preserved 12-year-old tormas with new tormas. Lama Tashi graciously agreed and artfully created not only the original 15 tormas, but also an additional 30 tormas. The 35 new tormas were placed on the main altar, the Mahakala, Palden Lhamo, and White Mahakala shrines. The tormas ranged in heights from a “fist high” to “elbow to finger tip high." Each torma was intricately decorated; some had rosette flora designs, eyes, representations of jewels (norbu) etc. Lama Tashi is indeed a superb sculptor. Additionally, he is an accomplished Sakya ritual master. On July 2nd, he gave an excellent teaching on the White Mahakala practice (puja).

In July, the Monastery members also received profound Dharma teachings from Kathog Rinpoche, master lama of the Nyingma sect. He bestowed a Padmasambhava Initiation and also taught the following: "How to Prepare for the Moment of Death and the Bardo", Dana Kosha (Tsok Kor) and Dzogchen (the central teachings of the Nyingma Sect). Sakya Monastery deeply appreciates the kind teachings of Kathog Rigzin Chenpo Rinpoche and Venerable Lama Tashi. Furthermore, we were blessed with their presence as they were able to join our lamas in three very auspicious celebrations: the June 20th and 21st Tenshug Ceremony for H.H.J.D. Sakya’s Long Life; the July 3rd consecration ceremony for our 32 new prayer wheels; and the July 11th Celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 74th Birthday.