(Compiled by Sakya staff from excerpts of the documentary film, ‘Golden Jubilee’, produced by the Golden Jubilee Organizing Committee)
“In Lumbini’s misty dawn it seemed as if all the symbolic beings of a mandala offering had come to life in a magnificent procession. Precious excellent horses with their splendid riders and precious elephants topped by maidens scattering flower petals inspired cheers from the enthusiastic crowds, jostling for the best vantage points to catch a glimpse of their revered Guru.”
The Golden Jubilee (50 year anniversary) of His Holiness Sakya Trizin’s enthronement as a leader of the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism coincided with the Great Sakya Monlam Festival. The Golden Jubiliee celebrations spanned the first three days of this 18th annual Monlam Festival held in Lumbini, Nepal, the birth place of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni. The celebration was attended by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, the Eminent Dhungseys of both palaces, and leaders of the Sakya, Ngorpa, and Tsarpa schools. Lamas, tulkus, monks, nuns and lay practitioners came from all over the world to express their devotion to His Holiness, the Sakya throne holder, and pray for his long life.
In the afternoon of this first day of the Golden Jubilee celebrations H.H. Sakya Trizin gave a speech on the preservation and protection of our environment. His speech outlined our interdependence with all inhabitants of our planet. This was followed by a tree planting event. H.H. Sakya Trizin and H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, participated in the tree planting ceremony in the spacious Lumbini Park.
On November 24th H.H. Sakya Trizin gave a special teaching on the subject of World Peace. His Holiness imparted a message concerning our deep responsibility to cultivate our own qualities of inner peace, “Everyone is longing for happiness… For the sake of happiness so much progress has been made in the last century in science and technology. Due to these developments a lot of benefits for humanity have resulted but it is quite clear that the real peace and happiness is only achieved by transforming one’s mind stream.” The teaching was followed by an event involving the lighting of one hundred thousand butter lamps, dedicated to World Peace.
On the third day of the celebrations, on November 25th, H.H. Sakya Trizin arrived at the monastery amidst a grand procession. “In Lumbini’s misty dawn it seemed as if all the symbolic beings of a mandala offering had come to life in a magnificent procession. Precious excellent horses with their splendid riders and precious elephants topped by maidens scattering flower petals inspired cheers from the enthusiastic crowds, jostling for the best vantage points to catch a glimpse of their revered Guru.”
Once all of the lamas were seated inside the temple, the mandala offerings began. Sakya family members of both palaces made mandala offerings to His Holiness, followed by Sakya masters. Next to make offerings were prominent royal dignitaries, heads of noble families, Sakya leaders, administrators, ordained and lay practitioners. Over 10,000 devotees in all; each requesting His Holiness “to manifest abundant long life for the sake of his disciples. H.H. Sakya Trizin graciously received all of them in a seeming unending stream that lasted for most of the day.”
The afternoon celebration of this third day took place in an enormous, specially constructed pavilion near to the Buddha’s birth place. “It was a delightful evening of wholesome entertainment and cultural presentations, all offered to His Holiness.”
On November 26th, H.H. Sakya Trizin recommended that a long life mandala be offered for the the eldest Sakya lineage holder, H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya. “It was a day long mandala offering ceremony and tenshug, and a moving tribute to the revered leader of the Phuntsok Phodrang.” In response to disciples’ request for H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche to live long, Rinpoche replied in Tibetan that he is healthy and soon will be 100 years old. This brought tears of joy to the eyes of hundreds of his devotees.
After these initial days of special Golden Jubilee celebrations, Monlam returned to its normal schedule of prayers until 5pm every day. Many offerings were made by both palaces. The ordained received offerings from their beloved gurus of money, blessed photos, tea and many other cherished offerings. There was a large donation made by both palaces to ensure the future of the Monlam Festival.
May His Holiness Sakya Trizin live long, and may the glorious Sakya teachings long endure!