By Larry Lamb
In 2010, under the guidance and instruction of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Rinpoche, work began on the construction of the two Tuks and two Gyaltsens for the Monastery rooftop. The two Gyaltsens (Tibetan for ‘dharma victory’), bring peace, and two Tuks (Tibetan for ‘mind’) are for protection. They represent the wrathful, or dharma protector deities, in particular, Mahakala.
Working from a drawing given to him by Dagchen Rinpoche, John Vichorek designed the framework for the four sculptures. I assisted John with the construction. Traditionally, they are built with bricks and plastered over with cement. John, however, wanted to construct them out of materials more suited to our wet weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Taking care to maintain the circular shape they were coated with a layer of fiberglass which would stand up nicely to the rain in Seattle.
With the fiberglass work done, Lama Migmar, and Lama Tashi ( invited from Dagchen Rinpoche’s Taiwan Center to help with the project) set to work doing all the outside design work and preparing all the sacred objects for the inside of each sculpture. It was really incredible to watch these two masters work; Lama Migmar forming the delicate designs on the outside of the Gyaltsens with epoxy putty, and Lama Tashi sewing together the coverings for the Tuks.
Once the Tuks and Gyaltsens were finished, and installed on the roof, they were ready to be consecrated by H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche. The consecration was set for August 6th, 2011. Our painting contractor was kind enough to leave their giant man-lift for us to hoist all the necessary people, and ritual items up onto the roof of the Monastery. The consecration ceremony was lead by H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche. Also participating in the ceremony were: Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho, Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa, Lama Tashi, Lama Migmar and Ven. Lekshey.
One auspicious sign that manifested during the consecration was the parting of the clouds. The morning started out very cloudy while we were setting everything up. Once the ceremony began, everyone noticed that the clouds starting dissipating above the Monastery and the circle of blue sky increased in all directions. A circular rainbow then appeared around the sun. It was really quite an amazing ceremony. As the consecration drew to a close, the clouds began to close back in around us.
Helping with the Tuk and Gyaltsen project was a great way to spend time around these incredibly talented and devoted disciples of His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche; all working to complete his Monastery.