By Kristine Honda
It was a beautiful sunny day on Sunday, November 6th when the members of Sakya Monastery gathered to celebrate His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Rinpoche’s 83rd birthday. Praise of the Twelve Exemplary Deeds of Lord Buddha and the Sixteen Arhat prayer were recited. Venerable Tulku Yeshi Gyatso said prayers for Dagchen Rinpoche’s long life and Venerable Khenpo Jampa Tenphel spoke about the significance of reciting long life prayers . Jampa Jorkhang, the President of the Tibetan Association of Washington, gave a heartfelt speech about how rare it is to have an opportunity to see and receive blessings from His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche. Lastly, Murray Gordon, Dagchen Rinpoche’s student of 25+ years, recited two poems he had composed honoring Rinpoche (one was an acrostic poem, which read “RINPOCHE” when spelled out vertically).
Mandalas were offered by the Sakya Phuntsok Phodrang Dhungseys and family, Sakya Monastery Board of Advisors, and by Tashi Paljor. The children of the Dharma School presented a birthday cake to Rinpoche as they led the Monastery in a chorus of the happy birthday song. Wangdu Tashi (age 12) played ‘Sakyapa Khyeno’ on the violin as the Sangha chanted the prayer.
To begin the Birthday celebration and feast (manja), Tibetan children, Sonam Yangzom (age 6) and Sonam Tsomo (age 6), dressed in elaborate traditional Khampa clothing, recited the food offering prayers for us. After lunch, Metta Mayes (age 7) from our Dharma School, played a beautiful violin piece titled “Long Long Ago” for Dagchen Rinpoche. Birthday songs were offered in Chinese, Hungarian and Japanese.
We wish our precious lama a long life and good health so he can continue to guide students on the path of Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings!