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!