Journey to the West : Celebration of 30 Years of the Founding of Sakya Monastery

By Adrienne Chan


It’s done!--- On February 29, 1984, H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche and H.E. Dagmo Kusho signed the papers to purchase a church building in the Greenwood area of Seattle.  It was a gigantic step for a small congregation of 15-20 members.  In addition to the prayers and divinations performed by H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, a few auspicious signs also convinced us that this would be our home: 1) H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche had a dream foreshadowing the church building 2) the building had no steeple, instead it had a flat roof in the tradition of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and 3) the building’s address was 108 (number of beads on a mala).

Now, thirty years later on February 22, 2014, Sakya Monastery celebrated its 30th anniversary at a most elegant venue, the Seattle Asian Art Museum.  As soon as guests arrived, they were treated to the viewing of magnificent Asian and Buddhist artworks and delicious Asian hors d’oeuvres.

The ambience was now set for the main event of the evening. At 8pm, everyone gathered downstairs in the auditorium to view an inspiring DVD created by Coren Lindfield.  It artfully documented the history of the renovation of a church building into a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

Following the documentary, the four people who were most instrumental in leading the renovation project were honored: H. H. Dagchen Rinpoche, H.E. Dagmo Kusho, John Vichoreck and Dawa Dhondrup Ngoche. 

Firstly, Ven. Yeshi Tulku and Ven Khenpo Jampa introduced H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche. They spoke about his legacy and leadership here and abroad. Then on behalf of the Washington State Commission on Asian Affairs, Commissioner Tashi Namgyal honored Dagchen Rinpoche with a letter of commendation.

Secondly, Chuck Pettis, Co-Executive Director of Sakya Monastery, recognized H.E. Dagmo Kusho.  He spoke of her unique childhood, marriage to HH Dagchen Rinpoche, accomplishments as Buddhist teacher and her dedication to Sakya Monastery. In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary, the Monastery presented an engraved Waterford clock to H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and H.E. Dagmo Kusho.

Carolyn Massey (mother of Ven Dezhung Tulku IV, assistant volunteer to John Vichoreck, life-time member of Sakya Monastery) flew in from Evansville, Indiana to attend our celebration. She eloquently introduced John Vichoreck, who was honored and given a plaque, as Master Craftsman.  Under the direction of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, John skillfully built almost every piece of hardware (large and small) at the Monastery:  the Protector Deity alcoves; the stupa; prayer wheel frames; roof top deer; the shrine altar; the thrones; conch shell lights; double dorje appliqués; destruction and construction of the shrine room parquet floor etc.

Subsequently, Dr. Jeff Schoening, (VEI teacher, Tibetan language translator, former Monastery Librarian/VEI Director, Monastery President, life-time member) introduced Dawa Dhondrop Ngoche.  In 1990, Dawa, a graduate of a Dharmasala, India thangka painting school arrived to Seattle.  In 3 years he transformed the interior of our shrine room from white walls of canvas to spectacularly vibrant and detailed spiritual murals:  9’ tall Guardians of the 4 Direction, 9’ high mural of the Wheel of Life, Lamdre lineage, 8 Mahasiddhas etc. In honor of his magnificent work, Dawa was presented a plaque honoring him as a Master Artist.

The sponsors (David Spiekerman, Tho Luu, Chuck Pettis, Gillain Teichert, Kathleen Ramm, and Adrienne Chan) of the evening’s glorious 30th anniversary event were also honored.  H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche and H.E. Dagmo Kusho presented to each of them a thank you katag and a beautifully etched picture of a golden Chrenrezi or Manjushri.

  Two hundred guests attended the gala event. An array of special guests included:
      1)   H.E. Minzu Rinpoche and Dagmo Carol from California
      2)    H.E. Dhungsey Avikrita Rinpoche and H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche and their teachers: Gen. Tashi Nyima and Ven. Khyentse from India
      3)    HE Jestsun Kusho of Sakya Tsechen Thubten Ling, Vancouver, BC, her granddaughter, Misa and their attendant drove down from Canada
      4)    Ven. Dhontog Rinpoche, director of Sapan Institute came from Washington DC
      5)    Ven Pema Oser (Yangsi), Gen. Tsering Gonpo, Mrs. Lam ( Lama Yangsi’s teacher, and center member respectively) represented the Mahsandhi Yoga Center in  Hong Kong)           
      6)    Ven Jamyang Gyaltsen, Director of Sakya Heritage Society, New Delhi, India
      7)    Ven Tulku Jigme and entourage came up from the Eugene Sakya Center, Eugene, Oregon
      8)    Geshe Jamyang, founder of Nalanda Institue, Olympia .WA
      9)    Tashi Namgyal, member of the Tibetan Parliament North America and a Washington State Commissioner on Asian Pacific Affairs 
      10)     Kunga Tenpa, Sakya Tsechen Association, New York
      11)    Johnnie Vichoreck from Argentina
      12)    Carolyn Massey from Indiana

In conclusion, in residential north Seattle, an authentic Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, evolved before our eyes.  It is now an exquisite home for the Buddha Dharma in the West.

H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Attends Inauguration of Memphis Temple

by  Dagmo Chimey Sakya

In June 2014, His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche graciously accepted a request by the Quan Am Buddhist Temple in Memphis, Tennessee to attend the inauguration and opening ceremonies of this Vietnamese Buddhist temple.  The invitation and resulting trip to Memphis were kindly facilitated by Mr. Tho Luu, a long student and dharma friend of the Sakya Monastery.

His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche was accompanied by Her Eminence Dagmokushok la and their entourage included Jetsunma Aloki la, Jetsunma Mamaki la, Venerable Tulku Yeshi la, Venerable Khenpo Jampa la, Mr. Tho Luu and myself.  On a cool Saturday morning on June 17th, we boarded our flight for Memphis with a changeover in Atlanta.  Upon our arrival at the Memphis airport, Rinpoche was greeted by representatives of the Quan Am Temple and a delegation from Vietnam who had made the trip to attend the inauguration and have an audience with Rinpoche and Dagmola.  While we checked into our hotel rooms, Tulku la and Khenpo la went straight to the temple to prepare for the fire puja scheduled for that evening.   After a wonderful dinner with the visiting Vietnamese delegation who had previously met Dagmola and His Eminence Dhungsey Asanga Rinpoche in Vietnam in 2012, we settled in for the evening within the confines of cool air conditioned rooms of the hotel.




On June 18th, the day of the inauguration, a delegation from the temple arrived to escort Rinpoche and his entourage from the hotel to the temple.  Our first sight of the temple was breathtaking.  In the dry Memphis landscape, the temple stood out like a jewel in its vividness.  The streets leading to the temple were lined with many Vietnamese men and women in bright flowing robes of various hues and colors holding incense and flowers in their hands.  Within the temple, thousands of devout Buddhists had gathered to join in the opening ceremonies.  The Vietnamese sangha were also well represented by many monks and nuns in more sedate robes of orange, browns and greys.  The opening ceremony commenced with prayers both in Vietnamese and Tibetan, which was then followed by the cutting of ribbon ceremony.  Dagchen Rinpoche cut the ribbon simultaneously with a senior Vietnamese master representing the Vietnamese congregation.  The ribbon cutting was applauded with loud fire crackers and a ceremonial Vietnamese dragon dance.  Then all dignitaries were led to seats under a large canopy before the dais where a large Buddha statue sat with its head covered by a bright silk cover.  To our delight, we learnt that the statue was the famous Jade Buddha for Universal Peace.  The Jade Buddha fashioned after the Buddha statue inside the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodh Gaya is carved out of Jade and sits on an alabaster throne.  The Buddha a symbol of world peace and harmony tours around the world so that everyone can have an opportunity to view the Buddha.  During the course of the ceremonies, the Jade Buddha was unveiled and we had the unique opportunity to view upfront and close, such a pure work of art, beauty and devotion.  The Buddha truly had a calm and peaceful effect on all those that gazed upon its serene expression despite the Memphis heat.   Rinpoche, Dagmola and the monks recited prayers in praise of the Buddha and for the benefit of all beings.  Rinpoche then blessed and consecrated the temple along with the Vietnamese senior master who performed prayers in his native language.  The conclusion of the prayers were marked by the release of thousands of colorful balloons and by the release of white doves that soared into the blue skies above.



In the evening of June 18th, His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche bestowed the Tse-ta-zung-drel (Amitayus and Hayagriva) combined initiation to the Vietnamese congregation in the main shrine room of the Quan Am Temple.  While Tulku la and Khenpo la assisted Rinpoche in the initiation preparation, I had the privilege of translating for Rinpoche from Tibetan to English.   Mr Tho Luu then translated from English to Vietnamese.  The Vietnamese sangha received the initiation with great devotion and respect.  For the majority of them, receiving a Tibetan Buddhist initiation was a novel experience as it was their first time meeting with a Tibetan lama.  By the conclusion of the initiation, Rinpoche had won over the hearts and devotion of these people as he posed for individual photos with great patience despite the lateness of the hour.  Jetsunma Aloki la and Jetsunma Mamaki la also assisted with handing out blessing cords and found that the Vietnamese Buddhists were just like us Tibetans in that we always request extra protection cords for our family members who could not make it to the initiation.  In short, it was a well-attended event and the people were very happy to have had the opportunity to receive the long life initiation from Rinpoche and learn and receive Tibetan Buddhist teachings from a Tibetan lineage holder.  As a result, they respectfully requested Rinpoche to return soon to Memphis again to give more teachings in the future.  Rinpoche and Dagmola were also very pleased to have made such a good connection with so many devout Vietnamese Buddhist practitioners.

The next day, Quan Am Temple representatives wished to host a lunch for Rinpoche, his entourage and the delegation from Vietnam.  After enjoying a wonderful meal at a Japanese restaurant, Rinpoche and Dagmola returned to the hotel to rest for the day.  The previous day had been long and taxing for Rinpoche and so he needed some rest.  Finding some free time on our hands, Mr. Tho Luu arranged for the rest of us to visit some Memphis attractions around town.  So of course we were driven to visit Graceland, the home of the famous Elvis Presley, an American icon and a musical legend. We were duly impressed with his numerous awards, his costumes and his collection of cars.  Next, we visited the banks of the mighty and historical Mississippi River.  Being a history buff, this was truly exciting.  The Mississippi River flows through ten states in the United States and its tributaries reach even further.  As we walked up and down the banks, we reflected upon the river’s significance and its impact on American history.  We were also delighted to see an original river boat docked on the side of the river.  After a delightful day getting to see the historical side of Memphis, we headed back to the hotel to settle in for the day.

On June 20th, we were invited back to the Quan Am Temple for a traditional Vietnamese vegetarian lunch.  Rinpoche rested in one of the monk quarters until it was time for us to drive to the airport.  After saying our fond farewells, we headed back to Seattle where cooler and more tolerable temperatures awaited us.

His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche, Her Eminence Dagmokushok la, the Jetsunmas, Venerable Tulku Yeshi la, Venerable Khenpo Jampa la and I had a wonderful time in Memphis.  Our personal thanks go out to Mr. Tho Luu for facilitating this trip.  Without Mr. Tho Luu, this trip and the many benefits that resulted from it, would not have been possible.  As usual, Mr. Tho Luu went out of his way to make sure everyone was comfortable and well taken care of.  Also Mr. Tho Luu has been a long-time supporter and patron of the Quan Am Temple, and so the successful inauguration of the temple is a testament to his dedication and devotion in the Buddha Dharma.

In the Very Merry Month of May

By Stephanie Prince


In 2013 and in 2014 in early May, His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche and his family and the members of Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism were very pleased and delighted to host His Holiness Sakya Trizin and his entourage to Seattle. Many volunteers contributed to creating a wonderful and traditional welcome on both occasions with banners of Dharma victory, new prayer flags, traditional music, incense, and offering of ceremonial scarves (katags).


The schedule in 2013 (May 6-8) began on the evening of their arrival with a sumptuous dinner at an Indian restaurant sponsored by Tho Luu, a long time disciple of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche.


The next day H.H. Sakya Trizin, after receiving a Dharma King’s welcome at the Monastery, gave Mahayana teachings on bodhicitta and then bestowed the White Mahakala initiation. I remember his mentioning before the bestowal that some people would think there was a contradiction regarding the name “White Mahakala” because we are more familiar with Black Mahakala. But He assured us that there was no contradiction and that meditation on this form encourages the removal of poverty, generates harmony in the environment, and increases the well-being of all sentient beings.


In the evening of H.H. Sakya Trizin’s last day here, he met with the Tibetan Association of Washington and gave a Vajrakilaya blessing. Shortly afterwards on that same evening, H. H. Sakya Trizin joined H. H. Dagchen Rinpoche as we all gathered to conduct our monthly Gurgyi Gonpo Mahakala Torma puja. It is so inspiring to be able to practice with the great masters of the lineage.


In 2014 we were exceedingly fortunate to have H. H. Sakya Trizin visit us once again and several programs were planned. On the first evening of teachings, H.H. Sakya Trizin gave us a detailed and enlightening Dharma lecture on “How to Be a Good Buddhist”. He stressed the importance of first being a good human being. Then he gave a clear explanation of what makes us a Buddhist. From the method side, we take our Refuge vows in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and, in the Vajrayana, in the Guru who is inseparable from them. Then from the wisdom side, we have an understanding and acceptance of the four seals: that all composites are impermanent; that all defilements/obscurations are suffering; all phenomena have nature of emptiness; and nirvana (transcendence of suffering) is peace.


On Friday late afternoon, May 9, H. H. Sakya Trizin met with the Tibetan Association of Washington community of family and friends. He gave a general talk and then bestowed a Powa transmission as requested.


Later in the evening, H.H. Sakya Trizin bestowed the initiation of the 1000-armed Chenrezi Bodhisattva of Compassion. It was very auspicious to receive this especially because next month during Saka Dawa (Holy Buddhist days), a special meditation retreat focusing on this tutelary deity will take place. As part of the preliminary teachings His Holiness told us about the three types of creating the enlightenment thought: as a king [or queen] who after being enthroned uses their power to help people; or as a sailor who travels together with the passengers to reach the destination; or as a shepherd who sends the beings first and remains last—this is considered the greatest type like that of Chenrezi. Then His Holiness told us the story of the 1000-armed Chenrezi and how after making a vow never to abandon beings or he would split apart if he did, Chenrezi did get discouraged when he saw that so many beings still were suffering even though he had liberated so many others. And thus he split into many pieces when he thought he could no longer keep his vow. However, his spiritual master, Amitabha, took pity on him and restored him with 1000-arms and eleven heads.


After this most sublime initiation, mandalas and the symbols of body, speech, mind, qualities and deeds of the Buddha were offered by the Sakya Phuntsog Family and then by the Board of Advisors and patrons. Long life prayers were recited and our traditional Happy Trails song was sung. Thank you Root and Lineage Lamas for all your blessings and activities dedicated for the benefit and liberation of all beings.

Sarva mangalam. May all be auspicious

H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche Completes the Vajrakilaya Ceremony and Exam

By Laura Ellis

 


 

His Eminence Abhaya Rinpoche successfully completed the Vajrakilaya exam during the ten day annual Vajrakilaya ceremony in Dehra Dun, India. The ceremony, presided over by His Holiness Sakya Trizin, was attended by an unprecedented six lamas of the Sakya Khon lineage, three from the Drolma Phodrang and three from the Phuntsok Phodrang, as well as tulkus and lamas from the Sakya sect and over 500 monks.


On the day of the exam, August 21, 2013, Sakya family members including the parents of Abhaya Rinpoche, Dhungsey Zaya Rinpoche and Dagmo Lhanze, Dhungsey Sadu Rinpoche, his three Jetsunmas and Dagmo Pema, and H.E. Dagmo Kusho, all made mandala offerings to H.H. Sakya Trizin, H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche and his three teachers. And they made offerings of meals and money to the 300 monks participating in the ceremony and an elaborate feast for all including the lay practitioners who attended the ceremony that day.  Ordained representatives from all Sakya monasteries in India and Nepal as well as lay people came to make offerings and congratulate Dhungsey Abhaya Rinpoche.

 


According to Dagmo Kusho, Abhaya Rinpoche performed beautifully and eloquently. After the ceremony was completed H.H. Sakya Trizin informed the family that Abhaya Rinpoche “did very well”. He repeatedly congratulated Dhungsey Rinpoche and his teacher Gen. Kunsang Gyatso.  Everyone was very happy to hear this auspicious news.


Abhaya Rinpoche had been preparing for the Vajrakilaya ceremony for over one year. The eight hour ceremony involves memorizing over 400 pages of text as well as faultlessly keeping time with the drum while reciting prayers from memory.


Family members from the Phuntsok Phodrang were graciously hosted by the Drolma Phodrang during their 10 day stay in Dehra Dun. It was a beautiful and memorable time for the Sakya family.

H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche is now preparing at the Phuntsok Phodrang in New Delhi for retreat and prequalification education for college. In 2014 he will begin his higher studies.

Long Live H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche!

Sakya Family Asia Visit and H.E. Dagmo Kusho’s World Tour

By Laura Ellis

On August 10, 2013, members of the Sakya family, accompanied by Gillian Teichert, departed from Seattle for Asia in order to attend H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche’s Vajrakilaya exam and ceremony in Dehra Dun, India.  En route to India the party first stopped in Hong Kong where Dhungsey H.E Sadu Rinpoche and H.E. Dagmo Kusho were invited to give teachings at the Mahasandi Yoga Center and the Hong Kong Sakya Center.  Sadu Rinpoche gave Chenrezi and Medicine Buddha oral transmission and teachings as well as the Three Long Life Deity oral transmission and teaching.  As always, the Sakya family enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. Edward Wong from the Mahasandi Yoga Center and Mr. Roland Yeung from the Hong Kong Sakya Center.  They were grateful for all of the help from friends and students at these two dharma centers.


In New Delhi, the travelers were greeted by the 72 monks and teachers at the Phuntsok Phodrang.  Dagmo Kusho was glad to see that the 40 new monks, who she met for the first time, were all happy, healthy and studying hard.  They even spoke a little English!


On August 20th, the Seattle group with attendants from Delhi, arrived in Dehra Dun, one day prior to the Vajrakilaya exam.  There was much preparation to be done.  The next day the family, including Dhungsey Zaya Rinpoche, Dhungsey Sadu Rinpoche, his daughters, Jetsun Soyangla, Jetsun Chodronla, and Jetsun Dechenla, Dagmo Kusho, Dagmo Lhanze, and Dagmo Pema were to make elaborate offerings to His Holiness Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche and his two teachers, and all monks present at the Vajrakilaya ceremony.


The Drolma Phodrang graciously welcomed the whole family including attendants. Family members of both holy palaces enjoyed meals together every day. It was a beautiful and memorable time. In all there were nine Khon lineage holders plus four jetsunmas, five dagmos and extended family at this family reunion in Dehra Dun.

According to Dagmo Kusho, H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche performed beautifully on his exam. She could hear his voice clearly since she was seated nearby during the ceremony. “He had such a deep voice with no accent and was fearless,” said Dagmo Kusho of Abhaya Rinpoche’s performance. After the exam the two families gathered again at the Drolma Phodrang. As they sat down for the evening meal His Holiness Sakya Trizin Rinpoche said, “Abhaya Rinpoche did very well.” Everyone was so happy. What an auspicious day for the Sakya Khon lineage and all sentient beings!


During the next few days, the visitors made offerings at many monasteries and nunneries. Twelve were visited in person and three had offerings sent to them. Those visited were Sakya College, Sheta College, Kyigu Monastery in Kanwar, Sakya Puliwala and Dzongpa Monastery. Each received money offerings and a manja; occasionally, a full lunch was sponsored. With so many august personages present, Dehra Dun offerings were the most elaborate.

Back in New Delhi, the travelers stayed for two more days at the Phuntsok Phodrang. They offered a puja and gifts to all of the monks. Dagmo Kusho had ordered shirts for the monks from the Sakya Vietnam Center. The 72 monks received clothes, money, and a special meal during the all-day puja.


From New Delhi, Dhungsey Sadu Rinpoche and family, Dagmo Kusho and Gillian Teichert traveled to Nepal where they visited and made offerings at four more monasteries and a nunnery and made offerings including: Tharlam Monastery, Tarig Monastery, International Buddhist Academy (IBA), a Sakya nunnery in Kathmandu, and Chogye Monastery. They stayed seven days in Nepal. Every day there was a special long life puja for His Holiness Dagchen Rinpoche. At Tharlam Monastery the Sakya family sponsored two days of puja and offerings, including lunch and dinner for the monks.

Dhungsey Sadu Rinpoche and family and attendants visited pilgrimage sites in Pharping, Swayambunath and other holy sites including Lhug Gang Kye (Tib) or Shref Budhanilkantha Bishnu Bhagwan (Nep), the site of the self-arising statue from the middle of a lake. Dagmo Kusho tried to spend every moment with her beloved 94 year old aunt and nun, Ani Chimey. Ani Chimey resides at Tharlam Monastery, which was founded by her brother and Dagmola’s uncle, the late Dezhung Rinpoche III. Tulku Dezhung Rinpoche IV is 23 years old and is studying at Sakya College in Dehra Dun.


Although Dagmo Kusho did not have plans to teach while in Nepal, a request came for her to give a White Tara initiation. Since the request came from a very devoted student of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche, Dagmola could not refuse. The student has been in solitary retreat since he received the Lamdre initiation from Dagchen Rinpoche seventeen years ago! Dagmo Kusho bestowed the White Tara initiation to Guru Rani and 150 devotees at the Guru Ama Rani Center in Kathmandu on August 31, 2013.

On the last day before the group was scheduled to return to Seattle, Dagmo Kusho received news that the monks who were to accompany her to the long-anticipated teachings in Spain, had received their visas.  H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche had been invited to give teachings at the Sakya Center in Barcelona, Spain, however he was not able to travel at the time so Dagmo Kusho was invited.

Dagmo Kusho and two monk attendants from the Phuntsok Phodrang in New Delhi, arrived in Barcelona on September 14, 2013.  Over the next six days at Sakya Tashi Ling, Dagmo Kusho bestowed a Green Tara initiation and teaching, a Chenrezi teaching and refuge vows. Dagmola very much enjoyed the natural beauty and scenery at this dharma center set peacefully atop a mountain in Barcelona and she was moved by the faith and devotion of students in Spain.

One day the group traveled to another dharma center in a village several hours away. The scenic ride on country roads lined with pomegranate trees, flowers and fruits of every kind was relaxing and pleasant. Although Dagmola has been travelling several weeks, she found her time in Spain to be regenerative due to the warm hospitality of Lama Jamyang Tashi, Kutsap and center members.  

Dagmo Kusho returned to Seattle on September 20, 2013, and spent a few days at home before embarking for southern California where she gave 10 days of teachings at centers in Santa Barbara, Malibu, San Gabriel, and Santa Monica. In Malibu she stayed with her son H.E. Dhungsey Minzu Rinpoche and Dagmo Carol. Her eight-week round-the-world tour was a busy time but Dagmo Kusho stayed healthy and accomplished many activities for the dharma and all sentient beings.

Long Live H.E. Dagmo Kusho!

Celebratory Dinner and Fundraiser to Honor H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya and Finance a New Monastery Roof

By Adrienne Chan                                          
 
On Saturday, November 9, 2013 Sakya Monastery and five Tibetan families (H.E. Zaya Rinpoche, Thinley Gyatso, Nyima Choedar, Chime Tenzin, Lungtok) hosted a formal dinner to honor H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche for his lifelong devotion to sharing the Dharma.  Proceeds from the dinner were dedicated toward  the Monastery’s new roof.  A silent auction was also held at the dinner to raise funds to replace the leaky roof.  Our dinner event was held at the Nordic Museum.  It was a sold out evening!  Kathleen Ramm and her staff transformed the main museum hall into an elegant dinning room with white table cloths, silverware, gold rim place settings, wine/water goblets and floating candle center pieces. Adding to the ambience, Bill Sternhagen played classical piano throughout the evening.

While wine and scrumptious Indian hors d’oeuvers (made by Phurbu and family) were served, guests mingled and participated in the Silent Auction organized by Marilyn Harris and her team of volunteers. Some auctioned items included a Buddha picture donated by Dagchen Rinpoche, calligraphy by Ven. Tulku Yeshi, a thangka donated by Ven. Khenpo Jampa, gift certificates, carpets, jewelry and many other wonderful items.  The Silent Auction was a resounding success!
 
In the museum’s kitchen, Tse Dolkar, Atsuko and many others helped to prepare a delicious Indian dinner for all of us to enjoy, followed by the  the Mexican dessert “tres leche” cake, a creamy delicious treat.


After dinner, we experienced the best moment of all.  We viewed a 20 minute film entitled “Our Precious Guru and his Monastery”.  Coren Lindfield created and narrated an incredible documentary honoring Dagchen Rinpoche.  The film incorporated testimonials and photos of Sakya Monastery past and present.  As one guest mentioned, the film almost brought her to tears.  At the conclusion of the movie, Dagchen Rinpoche received a standing ovation.

Following the movie, speeches were made by Nyima Choedhar, David Spiekerman and Thinley Gyatso. A Tibetan musical interlude was provided by Thondup Dorje, Tsering Yangchen and Nyima.  A Lifetime Achievement award and a huge bouquet of flowers were presented to H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche.  On behalf of H.H.J.D. Sakya and the Sakya Phuntsok Phodrang family, H.E. Dagmo Kusho read a thank-you speech and Dagchen Rinpoche offered katags to members of the organizing committee.

 

 

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