By Kim Abbey
On Tuesday, April 10th, 2012, our lamas: Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa, Lama Migmar, and Lama Lungrig from Sakya’s Nalanda Institute in Olympia performed a special Gyap-Shi puja ceremony.
This was a religious ceremony performed for the removal of the obstacles and the long life of our Head Lama, His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya. The ceremony also frees beings from enemies, and summons beings to virtuous activities. The ceremony of chants and offerings lasted from 9 am until 2 pm.
Days ahead, in preparation for the puja, Ven. Khenpo Jampa taught members and visitors of Sakya Monastery how to make tsa tsas, small 3”clay sculptures. The clay tsa tsas were formed from special miniature molds in the form of stupas. The tsas tsas were then dried and painted bright colors representing the four directions: red for West, white for East, green for South and yellow for the North.
On the day of the puja, an elaborately decorated table was set up. At the center of table was a miniature 6” statue of Dagchen Rinpoche, which wore the full dress of a Sakya Head Lama including the sashu hat worn by Khon lineage holders. Additionally, on the table were tormas (cake offerings), and facing the four directions were sets of 25 lit votive candles and 25 tsa tsas.
While Ven. Tulku Yeshi, Ven. Khenpo Jampa, Lama Migmar, and Lama Lungrig recited Gyap-Shi puja prayers, members participated by reciting Dagchen Rinpoche’s long life prayer and the Three Long Life Deities prayers:
1) Amitayus, Buddha of Boundless Life (the Sambhogakaya aspect of Amitaba)
2) Usnisa-vijaya, one of the 21 Taras, white in color with 3 faces and 8 arms, she holds an image of the Buddha in her right hand or on her crown.
3) White Tara, also known as The Wish Fulfilling Wheel, feminine deity of long life and serenity.
Near the end of the puja the specially painted tsa tsas were carried away by Sakya members to the four directions. The Gypa-shi puja ceremony went very well and was carried out all in accordance with tradition. It was a success and made everyone happy.
For the benefit and wellbeing of all sentient beings may His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche have continued long life, good health and success in the Dharma!