By Kirsten Throneberry
added Commentary by Zaya Rinpoche
The community of the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism was recently blessed with a visit from His Eminence Sakya Dhungsey Avikrita Rinpoche and His Eminence Sakya Dhungsey Abhaya Rinpoche who are the grandsons of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche and Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya—and—the sons of Dhungsey Zaya Sakya Rinpoche and Dagmo Lhanze.
The Dhungseys were accompanied by Venerable Tashi Nyima, teacher to Avikrita Rinpoche and Gen Kunsang Gyatso, Abhaya Rinpoche’s primary teacher, and Jamyang Gyalsten, Sakya Heritage Foundation Manager. H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche arrived in Seattle on the 20th of January 2012. Taking a break from their studies in India, the eminent Dhungseys enjoyed a reunion with family, bestowed teachings at Sakya centers in Seattle and Southern California, and performed special pujas for the protection of the dharma and all beings.
During the Dhungsey’s stay in Seattle we were fortunate to share in the birthday celebration of H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche who turned 15. In addition to this joyous celebration we were also honored February 5, with the Manjushri Vadisingha Initiation and Teaching as well as a lecture on Transforming the Mind on February 19th, both of which were bestowed by H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche.
Manjushri is considered to be the personification of the Buddha’s wisdom. Manjushri on a Lion embodies the ability to express that wisdom. Saraswati, a goddess of learning and the arts, might be thought of as the female counterpart of Manjushri. The uncommon and fortunate blessing of this Manjushri Vadisingha Initiation and Teaching given by His Eminence gives us the opportunity to enjoy a favorable environment for our own discernment to increase.
During the lecture on Transforming the Mind, H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche explained in some detail the concept of The Exchange Practice (Tonglen) highlighting how essential it can be to our path. This Exchange Practice, he noted, refers to the exchange of our own merit for that of the suffering of others. In other words, offering up our own grace to others while striving to take upon ourselves the burden of their anguish. Among the many kernels of wisdom that he offered throughout his lecture, one was the reminder that there is no greater danger than our own afflicted emotions. When unchecked, they can create an environment where endless karma unfolds. He also emphasized the crucial importance of negative people to our spiritual growth, in their own way—he explained—they are as important in regard to our spiritual development as is the Buddha. To treat them badly is like finding a diamond and throwing it away. Their value lies in the fact that they provide us with a heightened opportunity to practice our own compassion and kindness. H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche shared that The Exchange Practice was at one time a restricted teaching, reserved only for the most advanced practitioners and that it can provide us with an amazingly powerful tool on our spiritual path. Indeed, it was an incredible blessing to have this teaching and the Manjushri Vadisingha Initiation bestowed to us by His Eminence.
On the morning of February 22, 2012 (Losar-Tibetan New Year), At the specific request of The Tibetan Association, H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche gave a speech on culture & religion for the Tibetan people at Sakya monastery which was well-received. Earlier, on February 11th, H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche each spoke and gave insights to a very fortunate group of teens at a special Teens only discussion group which was also held at Sakya Monastery.
Their diligent commitment to their studies required H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche to return to Nepal and India with their teachers in late February. Meanwhile, we eagerly look forward to their eventual return and to the continued gift of their presence, wisdom, and guidance in our lives.
Commentary by Zaya Rinpoche
In addition to the wonderful article written by Kirstin, I want to acknowledge the immense appreciation and gratitude to all the people who supported the events mentioned in her article. Besides the teachings in Seattle on January 28th, HE Dhungsey Avikrita Rinpoche gave a very heartfelt and moving Initiation at Rosemead Buddhist Monastery in California of the Three Wrathful Ones – Vajrapani, Hayagriva and Garuda, a sacred transmission that comes from Mahasiddha Legkyi Dorje,. He explained how to conduct a daily meditation and recitation of the Three Wrathful Ones, guiding us on how to best cultivate the benefits of this profound practice for our daily lives. It was held at Rosemead, CA organized by our Tara Ling Center members Jeffrey Wu, and many close friends of H.E Dagmo Kusho. H.E. Minzu Rinpoche, along with many supporters and friends, traveled from other parts of the country to attend the Initiation. It was a memorable moment when H.E. Dagmo Kusho introduced both Dhungseys Avikrita Rinpoche and Abhaya Rinpoche to all her Tara Ling, Santa Barbara members at the Center. This was followed by a Green Tara Puja, which made the occasion all the more auspicious.
On behalf of the Dhungseys Avikrita Rinpoche, Abhaya Rinpoche, the Venerable Teachers Tashi Nyima & Kunsang Gyatso, as well as Dagmo Lhanze & myself, I wish to express the deepest appreciation and profound gratitude for all the support, compassion, and thoughtfulness everyone provided our entourage. Numerous gatherings and family/friend functions were kindly offered to us almost daily resulting in many joyous get-togethers, which created many lasting memories.
Most importantly, with the guidance and leadership of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, may his vision carry on this most precious lineage and may his teachings continue to flourish and benefit all sentient beings.