By Alyssa McFarland
On Saturday, April 29, 2017, a candlelight vigil concluded the week-long Drub Choe prayers in honor of the one year anniversary of the parinirvana of H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Dorje Chang. Over one hundred sangha members came together at the Sakya Monastery for Tibetan Buddhism to light candles in remembrance of the Sakya master and founder of the Monastery.
H.E. Dagmo Kusho Sakya explains light is both an offering and a way to provide clarity. “We light candles to clear away darkness and the defilement of ignorance. In Tibet, candles are made from butter and are called butter-lamps. They burn continuously twenty-four hours a day in all monasteries and in some homes.”
This butter-lamp prayer, entitled “An Ocean of Offering Clouds,” was composed by Gaton Ngawang Legpa Rinpoche (1865-1941), who was a great Sakya lama and the root lama of Dezhung Rinpoche III. The prayer was translated and transliterated by Khöndung Avikrita Vajra Sakya, with the assistance of Gelong Ngawang Khyentse, at the express request of Dagmo Kusho Sakya.
At 8pm, we gathered together and first watched a film by Lama Kunga Rinchen and the Sakya Monlam Foundation about Rinpoche’s life, his passing, and his cremation ceremony in New Delhi. The movie brought tears to many eyes.
After the video, we lit candles and chanted “An Ocean of Offering Clouds,” led by Ven. Khenpo Jampa, using the beautiful chanting melody created by H.E. Asanga Rinpoche, as we circumambulated the shrine once then proceeded to circumambulate the Monastery in the light Seattle drizzle.
An Ocean of Offering Clouds
The container of finest metal,
Equivalent in extent to the three-thousand worlds, within which
Is contained the best butter, completely filling,
In the center of which are wicks like Mount Meru.
Having been placed, they blaze with a tongue of flame
That has the essence of the five wisdoms;
Their aspect, the dazzling radiance
Of a hundred million suns. This butter lamp:
It pervades the space in the ten directions through every realm.
From the expanse of the light, clouds are projected;
An ocean of Samantabhadra’s offering clouds
Offered for eternity, until the end of existence.
May I and everyone connected to me,
The observed objects, whether living or deceased,
Complete the two accumulations, clear away the two obscurations,
And swiftly attain the unsurpassed bodhi!