Speech by Allan Crouch, President of Sakya Monastery’s Board of Advisors
It is my profound honor to welcome you here today for the 83rd birthday celebration of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya. He was born in 1929 in Sakya Tibet (don’t do the math or you will be off a year). He was educated to be the head of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism as well as successor to the throne of Sakya, the third most important political position in Tibet in early times. Due to extreme changes in Tibet in the ’50s it was necessary to depart from the world that his family had known for centuries. This change led him to a new and dynamic role as a leader in the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the West.
I could continue on reciting history……but let’s pause for a moment and reflect on the unique and fortunate place we find ourselves. A Dharma King walks among us. A part of a continuous and unbroken lineage that dates back a thousand years. Stop and think about that and of the changes he has seen in during his life. From a remote and largely isolated region of the world called Tibet in places where there was scarcely a path, a road or a motorized vehicle to the other side of the world in a new and strange land spreading the word and teachings of Buddha to a growing an interested audience in the West. Most of us can only vaguely imagine the stark changes and challenges this presented. The history that he has seen unfold. The journey from the peaks of the Himalayas to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
From early meetings in various venues and homes in the Seattle area to this Monastery that is a clear mirror of the traditional old monasteries of Tibet. An island of Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism in the heart of Seattle
All you see around you is the result of the vision, dedication and guidance of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya.
He has been a lama, teacher, student, advisor and friend to many of the greatest Buddhist minds of the 20th and now the 21st century.
He is a beloved husband, father, brother and grandfather…..but he is also the spiritual leader, mentor, guide and father figure to the simplest among us.
Many people that pass by this Monastery every day and perhaps spin the prayer wheels may have no idea of the rich history, culture and stories that reside just inside these walls.
We are so thankful to be blessed with this precious gem and gift of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya in our lives and continue to pray for his long life and the continuation of the lineage teachings as long as time endures.
Thank you Rinpoche……..and Happy Birthday.