H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche Visits Seattle

By Laura Ellis

In April 2009, His Eminence Avikrita Rinpoche, son of H.E. Zaya Vajra Rinpoche, the fourth son of H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, visited Seattle for the first time since 2002. Avikrita Rinpoche, born in 1993, has been living in India since the age of four. He began his formal studies at the age of six while residing with his maternal grandparents. At the age of nine he moved to the Sakya Center at Dehradun, and one year later to the Sakya Phodrang in Delhi. He has since alternated his time between the Sakya Phodrang (Sakya Heritage Foundation) and the Sakya Ghoom Monastery in Darjeeling. He has been receiving the complete traditional training of his lineage under the guidance of H.H. Sakya Trizin and his holy grandfather H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, who, along with other high lamas of the Sakya tradition, have conferred innumerable empowerments, transmissions and teachings upon him.

Prior to the Seattle visit, Avikrita Rinpoche had just finished his Vajrakilaya exams which entailed leading the grand Vajrakilaya Ceremony. This sacred ritual is an ancient practice upheld by the Khon dynasty and the only grand ceremony of its kind in the Tibetan tradition to remain unbroken for over 1300 years. It is rigorously complex to learn and takes over two weeks to conduct. The ceremony was presided over by H.H. Sakya Trizin and his Eminent Sons. At the ceremony, Avikrita Rinpoche chose the most demanding of the different sections to read, thus qualifying him as a proficient practitioner of Sakya rituals. Avikrita Rinpoche astonished all in attendance with his flawless performance.

The Seattle visit was mainly a vacation and a break after the exams. It was also an opportunity to spend time with his grandfather, H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and receive teachings from him. H.E.  Avikrita Rinpoche was accompanied by his younger brother, H.E. Abaya Rinpoche who has been studying in India over the last year.

Both Avikrita Rinpoche and Abhaya Rinpoche visited the Sakya Monastery in Seattle every day at 9:30 am for the entire six week visit. While Avikrita Rinpoche studied Tibetan grammar with Tulku Yeshe, Abhaya Rinpoche studied Tibetan on his own. They spent time with H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and received oral transmissions and teachings. Besides taking full opportunity in visiting all of Seattle’s famous and fun sites, the Dhungseys spent a lot of their time with family members and especially with their cousins during the weekends. Avikrita Rinpoche’s 16th birthday, hosted by his parents, was celebrated with family and friends at the Monastery.

H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche’s requested that a special Mahakali puja be performed with H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche at the Monastery. The three hour long puja was held on May 8th, 2009. It was lead by H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche himself and attended by Rinpoche’s Great Aunts Jetsun Tsegchen la and Jetsun Chimey la, Dagmo la, Mangtho la, resident monks and members.

One highlight of His Eminence’s visit was the bestowal of a Long Life Initiation on May 24th, 2009. The initiation was requested by H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and Monastery members. It has been a tradition in Khon Lineage that the first initiation bestowed by a Khon lama be a Long Life Initiation and that it is bestowed to his Khon family members. Avikrita Rinpoche gave this particular initiation (Amitabha, Amitayus, Hayagriva, Padmasambhava) after having received it himself from many lamas such as H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, H.H. Sakya Trizin, and Venerable Luding Khyen Rinpoche.  Avikrita Rinpoche remarked, “It was truly an honor for me to bestow my first initiation to Popo Dagchen Rinpoche at our very own Monastery.”

On returning to India at the end of May 2009, Avikrita Rinpoche immediately began his Vajrakilaya retreat for three months at Ghoom Monastery in Darjeeling. After the retreat he will lead the ‘Phurdup’ Vajrakilaya pujas as Vajra Master ‘Lopon’, which will go on for eight days at Ghoom Monastery. In October both Avikrita Rinpoche and Abhaya Rinpoche will attend the series of initiations from Wange Norbu Trengwa text for one month given by H.H. Sakya Trizin, which is continued from 2008. In November they will attend the Sakya Monlam in Lumbini. Next year Avikrita Rinpoche will attend college for his higher studies. Abhaya Rinpoche will continue his studies in India. Both Avikrita Rinpoche and Abhaya Rinpoche commented that the Seattle visit has been “the best ever vacation.”

H.E. Avikrita Rinpoche Long Life Prayer

Son of the Khon Lineage, immaculate divine race from the realm of Clear Light. The Three Races embodied in the Sakya master of expression;
Take hold of existence with the white lotus of your altruistic intention
To spread the supreme Mahayana tradition of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo.

You whose transcendental activities are the spontaneous fulfillment of the qualities of relinquishment and realization;
Avikrita Vajra, please live long in Dharma.

By the blessings and power of the Gurus, Yidams, Dharma Protectors, and the host of Deities,
May you become the glory of the Buddha’s dispensation.

Ordination of H.E. Dhungsey Abhaya Rinpoche

By Dagmo Lhanze Sakya

H.E. Dhungsey Abhaya Rinpoche is a grandson of His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche and H.E. Dagmo Kusho and son of H.E. Zaya Rinpoche and Dagmo Lhanze. He completed his 4th grade education in Seattle in the fall of 2007 and later joined his brother H.E. Dhungsey Avikrita Rinpoche in India to continue his studies in the beginning of 2008.

His Eminence has received many initiations and oral transmissions from H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, H.H. Sakya Trizin and many other high Lamas of the Sakya sect. Ever since he started his traditional education, H.E. Dhungsey Abhaya Rinpoche has shown keen interest in the Khon lineage of monastic ordination originating with the Great Sakya Pandita, Chogyal Phagpa and Lama Dhampa Sonam Gyaltsen.  His Eminence realizes the importance of continuing such a lineage of ordination. He has no memories of his Great Uncle, H.H. the late Thrinley Rinpoche, as he was only a year old when he passed away, but has been inspired by this great ordained member of the Khon lineage.

On July 25th, the day commemorating the First Turning Wheel of Dharma (Cho-Khor Duchen), with the consent and blessing of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, it was decided that it would be an auspicious day for the ordination of H.E. Dhungsey Abhaya Rinpoche.  It seemed most auspicious to receive ordination from His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche, the senior-most of the ordained Sakya Lamas.  The private ceremony took place in Manduwala, seat of the Ngor-pa sub-school of the Sakya sect in India.  The Luding Ladrang is where His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche and H.E. Luding Khenpo Kushon reside.  H.E. Gyalyum Chenmo and representatives of the Sakya Centre, Rajpur, the different Ngor ladrangs and  others in the area came to pay respect and acknowledge the auspicious occasion .

The Ceremony itself consisted of the Preceptor, His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche, and ten other fully ordained Lamas and monks amongst whom were H.E. Luding Khenpo Kushon, H.E. Khangsar Shabdrung, Atro Tulku, Gyudra Khenpo Kunchok Gyaltsen and other monks.  Prior to the ordination the head is shaved, leaving just a tuft in the middle of the crown that is later cut during the ceremony.  No lay person is allowed in. Ordination vows are explained and taken, robes blessed and the final refuge consists of taking up the name, dress, signs and ways of thinking of an ordained monk.

H.E. Dhungsey Abhaya Rinpoche’s education will remain unchanged. He will continue to study alongside his brother H.E. Dhungsey Avikrita Rinpoche. Besides the differences in the physical appearance and the addition of many ordination vows, there are a few additional rituals that an ordained Rabjung Dhungsey will attend (such as the annual yarney and the bi-monthly sojong) that are not required of the white-robed Ngachang Lamas.  All the rest of the rituals and prayers are the same.

His Eminence is currently in Sakya Guru Monastery in Ghoom, Darjeeling, with his brother continuing his studies. They return to the Sakya Heritage Society in New Delhi in September.

His Eminence Sakya Dhungsey Asanga Rinpoche Continues his Dharma activities in Dharamsala, India

By Eric Dulberg and Laura Ellis

On April 12, 2009, on a warm, sunny, breezy morning in the northern plains of India, near Dharamsala, hundreds of people waited for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to arrive to consecrate Lhundrup Chime Gatsal Ling, a new Tibetan Buddhist monastery founded by His Eminence Garje Khamtrul Rinpoche. Garje Khamtrul Rinpoche is a renowned visionary Dzogchen master from the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and a personal advisor to H.H. the Dalai Lama.

Among the many dignitaries present at this auspicious consecration were all the heads of the Tibetan Government-in Exile, His Holiness the Karmapa, many high Nyimapa lamas and His Eminence Sakya Dhungsey Ani Vajra Rinpoche (second of five sons of His Holiness Sakya Dagchen Rinpoche) and His Eminence Sakya Dhungsey Asanga Rinpoche (son of Dhungsey Ani Rinpoche and Dagmo Chimey Dollkar, eldest daughter of Kamtrul Rinpoche). Dhungsey Ani Rinpoche’s and Dagmo Chimey la’s two daughters were also present, Jetsun Aloki la and Jetsun Mamaki la.

H.E. Asanga Rinpoche, who is now ten years old, has been studying for the past five years at the Tharlam Monastery, a Sakya monastery in Boudhanath, Nepal. As the maternal grandson of Khamtrul Rinpoche, Asanga Rinpoche was accorded the distinct honor of performing in the monastery’s first event, a long long-life ceremony to honor and pay homage to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Upon the initial arrival of H.H. the Dalai Lama, and after brief prayers at the temple door, His Holiness cut the red ribbon, officially opening the monastery to the public. Once inside the monastery, a long-life ceremony was performed for H. H. the Dalai Lama. As part of the long-life ceremony, there was “The Offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama of the Articles Representing the Eight Auspicious Symbols” which was performed solely by H.E. Asanga Rinpoche. Standing directly in front of H. H. the Dalai Lama, Asanga Rinpoche chanted the long offering prayer to His Holiness from memory. There were several hundred people sitting inside the monastery and many more watching from T.V. monitors outside the monastery. This long and elaborate prayer, lasted over 20 minutes during which time, Asanga Rinpoche held up towards H.H. the Dalai Lama, a tray containing each of the eight auspicious symbols with his two hands and offered each one-at-a time, while reciting prayers particular to each of the auspicious symbols. His Holiness the Dalai Lama received each item with a big smile. It was very unusual for these particular prayers to be performed at a monastery inauguration, especially by such a young lama. Asanga Rinpoche has the unique status of being a Sakya Khon lineage holder as well as the maternal grandson of the monastery’s Nyingmapa founder. His participation in the monastery’s inauguration was very special indeed!

Several days after the inauguration, Khamtrul Rinpoche, still beaming, asked his grandson, Asanga Rinpoche to bestow at Lhundrup Chime Gatsal Ling monastery the oral transmission for the Manjushri practice called "Ghang-lo-ma." Asanga Rinpoche agreed to do so for the benefit of the Khamtrul Rinpoche’s many students who had come from around the world to witness the monastery’s inauguration ceremonies. Asanga Rinpoche made an introduction to the oral transmission, its meaning and significance first in Mandarin Chinese and then in English. Finally, he gave the actual Ghang-lo-ma oral transmission and recitation of the mantras in Tibetan

All of us here in Seattle and the West look forward to the day when Asanga Rinpoche returns to the Sakya Monastery here to give teachings, blessings and empowerments.

Long live the Dharma!
Long live the Sakya Monastery!
Long live Asanga Rinpoche!

Sakya Monlam 2008

Contributed by Allan Crouch
Photos by Lekshay Muller

The 17th Sakya Monlam, also known as the Great Prayer Festival, is held every year for ten days in Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. All of the fours traditions of Tibetan Buddhism have a Monlam Festival which are held at different times. This year’s Sakya Monlam was from November 25th, 2008 until December 7th,  2008. It was held at Tashi Rabten Ling, a Sakya monastery built by His Eminence Chogye Trichen.

The 2008 Sakya Monlam, for world peace, was a particularly auspicious occasion as it was the first time His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya had been able to attend since its inception outside of Tibet in 1993. Also in attendance were HE Avikrita Sakya, HE Abhaya Sakya, HE Asanga Sakya, Dagmo Jamyang, Dagmo Lhanze, Chime Tenzin, and Adrienne Chan. The program was led by His Holiness Sakya Trizin and was attended by at least 4500 tulkus, monks, nuns and lay practitioners from all over the world including Tibet. Because of the added presence of all four lamas of the four Sakya traditions, the 2008 Monlam is said to be one of the highest attended in its 18 year history. As Lekshay Muller indicated, “There was an added level of bliss at this year’s event in great part due to the significant added presence of the Phuntsok Phodrang.” One of the primary sponsors for the last four years are the paternal relatives of Dezhung Rinpoche IV, Yustang Lodro (uncle) and Tselhamo (grandmother).

Each day, all would gather and recite many prayers including the Sixteen Arhat prayer and especially the Aspiration of Samanthabhadra prayer. The Aspiration of Samantabhadra was recited 25 times a day for world peace and the benefit and happiness of all sentient beings. This is in addition to numerous mandala offerings throughout the 10 days. The Sakya Monlam concludes on the 10th day with long life blessings and thanking of all the sponsors and contributors.

His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya took particular delight in participating in this elaborate annual event with the sole purpose of rendering prayers for the benefit of all living.  Dagchen Rinpoche and entourage will attend the 2009 Sakya Monlam in November. The anticipated attendance for 2009 or 18th Monlam (50th enthronement ceremony for H.H. Sakya Trizin)  is expected to be as much as 6000.

H.E. Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche's Teachings

By William Higareda

Sakya Monastery had a very special visitor this summer. H.E. Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche gave a two day teaching on August 4 & 5 entitled "Dharma Lecture: Introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism". Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa holds a both special and unique position within the Sakya Lineage as the throne holder of the "Dzongpa" tradition. Within the Sakya Lineage the main branches are the Ngorpa and Tsarpa traditions. The Dzongpa lineage is not as well known. Gongkar Rinpoche (Tenzin Jampel Lungtok Namgyal) was born in 1978 high in the mountainous region of Arunchal Predesh in northern India, close to the Tibetan border. At the age of eleven, he was recognized as the reincarnation of Dorje Dhenpa Kunga Namgyal by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Sakya Trizin.

The teachings ended on August 5th with a focus exclusively on the Vajrayana tradition. Gonkar Rinpoche’s emphasis was on the importance of correct motivation (Bodhicitta), Ngondro, proper visualization, finding a qualified Lama, and he explained how and why Vajrayana is a swift path to enlightenment. Gongkar Rinpoche was very humble with his approach to teaching westerners. He stressed the importance of receiving teachings with an open mind, even if one has heard the teaching many times before.

Gongkar Rinpoche is currently working on building the "Gongkar Tsedup Lhakhang" monastery which is approximately 7 km from the Gongkar Choede Monastery. He is deeply committed to preserving the Dzongpa lineage and it's precious texts. Hopefully we can look forward to another visit from Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche and hearing more about his work that will benefit countless sentient beings.

2009 Annual Meeting - Speech by Dhungsey Mati Rinpoche

Tashi Deleg, Good Afternoon Everybody.

I look forward to this day every year because it’s uplifting to see the continual evolution of the Sakya Monastery and all of you who have helped make it so.

From a small curious group gathering in a basement on Ward Street, to this magnificent Monastery filled with knowledgeable minds, it’s truly amazing.

I would now like to read to you a short passage from H.E. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche while he was giving teachings in France in 1990. “Throughout the stream of our lives from time without beginning until present, we have all been wandering in Samsara accumulating evil.  When we die, where else is there for us to go to but the lower realms?  But if the wish and thought occur to us to promote loving kindness, compassion and to bring all beings to the enlightened state of Buddha hood, we have generated what is known as Boddhichitta.”

Few have mastered the two aspects of Boddhichitta (The mind of Enlightenment), however, on a relative level this is what all of you do through your selfless activities in support of His Holiness and our Monastery for the benefit all sentient beings. From the kitchen volunteers to the advisory board. Grounds keeping, construction, shrine room and building maintenance as well as all the ritual activities, and due to impermanence, it never ends.

An organization this size does not run as smoothly as it does without the tireless efforts from so many on all levels, so I extend my deepest appreciation to all of you – and especially to His Holiness and Dagmo Kushog for their continual guidance and supreme blessings.

Dhungsey Mati Vajra


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