2021 Auction

Online auction 11/2-12/2021, Live Zoom Auction 11/13/2021 7pm


Trees Planted at Buddha Ashram

group photo of monks on either side of Avikrita Rinpoche, holding plants and smiling in an outdoor area

Today we feel privileged as we planted 300 saplings at Buddha Ashram Sakya H.S. with the heartfelt presence of H.E Avikrita Vajra Sakya Rinpoche. And we pray and hope that these saplings will outgrow and live for eternity. And also we hope that our young monks can look at these saplings in the future and feel proud and sense of warm feeling when they look at them and take good care of them too. And with this, we want to bring light to the importance of trees in our world, especially these days when the environment is affected negatively all over the world. With this small act of planting trees, we hope that it will inspire many people to do the same too. Let’s join hands in saving our mother nature.

Please click here to view the many pictures from the event.

From The Archives: Brief Dharma Lecture 2006

Brief Dharma Lecture by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang

March 19, 2006

Triple Gem, Two Truths, and the Heart Sutra

Translator: Dr. Jeffery Schoening

Transcribed by Ogyen Choezom

We gather here at the Monastery in order to practice wholesome activities. Also, to better understand what are unwholesome activities. The topic for today is the object of refuge, and the objects of refuge in Buddhism are the Three Jewels, that is, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

We gather here to do the Praises of the Buddha, and on page 15, we have a three-fold practice that we do as followers of Lord Buddha. This is a practice that we do with the meditative concentration on the Three Doors of Liberation. There’s an ultimate reality and a conventional reality, and with the Three Doors of Liberation, we talk about the object, the cause, and result. These are referring to the conventional reality.

So, in the abbreviated Heart Sutra practice that we have, the opening four lines: “Beyond words, thought, and description, the Prajnaparamita; unborn, unceasing, an essential nature of space.

Experienced by the wisdom of personal realization, Mother of the Buddhasof the three times, to you I pay homage.” This combines all of the teaching of the Heart Sutra within these four lines.

So, then for the first line, “Beyond word, thought, and description, the Prajnaparamita,” there’s this brief explanation that goes as proclaimed in chanting the names of Manjushri, “the one who abandons speaking with words.” That’s the quote from the ones chanting the names of Manjushri; the one who abandons speaking with words. Even if one thinks to state in words the complete subject matter of the Great Mother, Prajnaparamita, there is no verbally describing the true meaning.

With the second line,the “Unborn, unceasing, an essential nature of space,” the commentary says that the nature of the mind is empty from the beginning. The freedom from the eight extremes of the consequentialist middle-way, explained by teaching master Buddhapalita is like space, free of arising, abiding and ceasing. But it is not free from the conventional designations of…

  1. Empty space giving the opportunity for the journey of planets and stars and etc.
  2. The result arising from the cause.
  3. Adopting virtue and abandoning evil deeds.

With the third line, “Experienced by the wisdom of personal realization,” the commentary says that the special wisdom taught in the Prajnaparamita text is the experience of only the wisdom that realizes emptiness born in the mindstream of the yogis who adventured on the Mahayana path. But it is not realized by the individuals who venture onto the paths of Hearers or Solitary Buddhas. According to the explanations of the great Prajnaparamita treatises, here the text is the Prajnparamita, the path is the Prajnparamita, the result is the Prajnaparamita, and the essential meaning is the Prajnaparamita. Dividing into four is the system of commenting, explaining, and interpreting; and I hope you all know Prajnaparamita means “perfection of wisdom” or “perfection of discriminating insight.”

Finally, the fourth line: “Mother of the Buddhas of the Three Times, to you I pay homage.” The commentary is that all the Buddhas of the Three Times, having relied on the Great Mother––the Prajnaparamita––were enlightened. So, to this Prajnaparamita, who is like a mother to all the Buddhas, I pay homage. And that completes our commentary on these four lines.

We do this abbreviated Heart Sutra practice here at the Monastery now, not the longer version. And as a part of this short, abbreviated practice, we do this repulsion of obstacles. When we do that, that part of the practice, we clap our hands, “Repel, vanish, eliminated, utterly eliminated…”  This is to repel all obstacles. Obstacles that are inner, outer, secret and so on. And, all of these obstacles we repel. This is part of the Prajnaparamita practice.

For most of the obstacles, it has to do with our thinking, our conceptualizations. What goes with our conceptualizations, such as doubts about what is wholesome, what is not wholesome; and all these sorts of problems that we have, that arises from our conceptualizations. This is an obstacle too. This practice helps to eliminate these sorts of obstacles.

Link to audio recording: https://www.sakya.org/2009/12/chenrezi-teaching-3-19-2006/

From The Archives: Lecture on the Heart Sutra

Brief Dharma Lecture by H.H. Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche Dorje Chang

February 19, 2006

Teaching on the (Brief) Heart Sutra Teaching

Translator: Dr. Jeffrey Schoening

Transcribed by Ogyen Choezom

So today, Rinpoche is going to give a brief teaching. And it’s going to focus especially on the teaching of the Heart Sutra. The essential teaching of the Prajnaparamita, the Perfection of Discriminating Insight.

So, there’s the people who take refuge, and then the objects, in whom refuge is taken. The objects in whom refuge is taken are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. And the ones taking refuge are we, the individuals. So, for us, as individuals taking refuge, it is important we have faith.

And there are 3 levels of faith. There’s a simple and pure faith. There’s an aspiring faith. And there’s a faith of conviction. So, this faith of conviction, the highest level of faith is one that keeps in mind always taking refuge in the Three Jewels. It always has this in mind, and it does this in this life, and in the future lives as well.

So, the Heart Sutra can have an extended and a brief version. And what we have here in the brief version, are these 4 lines at the top of this page that [are] abbreviated “Heart Sutra.”So, this was composed by lamas of the old. Rinpoche has the oral transmission for this teaching, and as I understand, he is going to give us the oral transmission for this teaching.In addition, he will also give an explanation to the words in this 4-line verse. So, thinking with the mind and the joyful and happy disposition that one aspires to understand the meaning of the Heart Sutra now listen to the verse that Rinpoche will now read.

This comes from the treatises on Perfection of Wisdom or the Perfection of Discriminating Insight. And Rinpoche has now given us the oral transmission. And, in order to understand these teachings, it’s very important that we study the text. It’s very hard to gather any understanding of the material without having done some studying.

What we do now, having heard this oral transmission from Rinpoche we [now] do have this in our minds and in our hearts. So, Rinpoche has now given us a brief commentary to these first 4 verses. And, these contain the complete essential teaching of the Heart Sutra. They can be difficult to understand and [require] lots of study, and it’s good to ask questions of this, to study, and address those questions.

Now, I will go over what Rinpoche just said.

So, the first line: “Beyond word, thought, and description, the Prajnaparamita

The commentary is “As proclaimed in the text, the sutra, the Manjushri Namasamgiti…The one who abandoned speaking with words. So, even if one thinks to state in words, the complete subject matter of the Great Mother, Prajnaparamita, there is no verbally stating the true meaning.

So that’s what the first line means.

The second line: “Unborn, unceasing, an essential nature of space.” The commentator says this: The nature of the mind is empty from the beginning: the freedom from the eight extremes of the consequentialist middle way… Explained by [the] teaching master, Buddha Palita, this freedom is like space, free of arising, abiding, and ceasing. But it is not free from the conventional designation of one: empty space…Giving the opportunity for the journey of planets and stars, etc. Or two: a result arising from the cause. Or three: adopting virtue and abounding evil deeds.

Move to the third line. “Experienced by the wisdom of personal realization.” The special wisdom taught in the Prajnaparamita text…Is the experience of only the wisdom that realizes emptiness…Born in the mind stream of the yogis who have entered the Mahayana path. But it is not realized by the individuals who went to the path of the hearers or solitary Buddhas. According to the explanation of the great Prajnaparamita text or treatises, here, the text is the Prajnaparamita. The path is the Prajnaparamita. The result is the Prajnaparamita. And the essential meaning is the Prajnaparamita. Dividing into 4, is the system of commenting, explaining, and interpreting.

And finally, the fourth line. “Mother of the Buddhas of the Three Times, to you I pay homage.” All the Buddhas of the three times having relied on the great mother, Pragya Paramita were enlightened. To this Prajnaparamita, who is like a mother to all the Buddhas, I pay homage.

That completes the commentary.

So, there are many commentaries written on the Heart Sutra, the essence of the Prajnaparamita. And these have been written by lamas, Indian saints, and Tibetan lamas. These are available, there are translations in English. It is important to study these in order to better understand the meaning of the Prajnaparamita, the perfection of discriminating insight.

It’s very important to do the prayers. [Because] if we do the prayers, we will have the blessings enter us. And there’s a story in Tibet about a woman who did the practice for the White Parasol Goddess. She would recite the mantra––she had great faith and would recite the mantra. This is also about the importance of faith. She would recite the mantra for the White Parasol Goddess, with her great faith. The parasol would appear over her. She had this sort of attainment; she had this sign of blessing from the White Parasol Goddess. But she said the mantra wrong. When she recited the mantra, it wasn’t well done. And so a lama heard her one day reciting the manta. He just heard this really broken mantra being recited. And so, he talked to the woman about [how]

“You’re saying this all wrong. You have to say it like this. This is the correct way to say the mantra.”

And so she then learned, in addition to great faith, the correct way to read the mantra.

However, she stopped having the umbrella, and the parasol disappeared. She was so caught up in saying the mantra correctly that her faith had been disturbed because of this. So the lama had to talk to her about, “Okay, look, I told you the correct way to say it. But, it messed you up. You know, you’re not getting the blessing of the Parasol Goddess at the same rate you had been getting it before. There’s been no appearance of this parasol above you. So, just go back to saying it the way you did say it.” And, so she did. And with this her faith was renewed or restored. And again, the parasol appeared.

So this just shows, it’s not so much what we just say, but it is [the] importance of the faith, the power of the faith that brings the blessings, that brings the understanding, that brings the realization. So, faith is very important.

 It’s important to study this, and then gradually, the understanding will come. It takes time, it takes effort, and gradually, you’ll get the results.

Now for the practice of the Heart Sutra, the abbreviated Heart Sutra, we will recite the four lines beyond word, thought, and description. We will have our hands in the prayer position, and then, when we recite the mantra, Teyatha Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Soha, then we have our palms facing up. And we can just hold them down in our laps with our palms facing up. And we can recite this 3 or 7 times or as much as we’d like. Then, when we recite the homage, after the mantra we put our hands back in the prayer position, with homage to the lama, homage to the Buddha, and so forth.

On the next page, we are averting or repelling obstacles, various sorts of unfavorable factors. We are trying to settle our minds, to get rid of disturbing, discursive thoughts. And so…in order to do that, or as in part of doing that, when we say in the words, “repel, vanish”––and these are underlined in the text…So when we say, “repel, vanish, eliminated, utterly eliminated,” we clap our hands.

So we go…“repel *clap* immediately all the unfavorable factors to be abandoned through practicing our holy Dharma. May they vanish, *clap* may they be eliminated, *clap*, may they be utterly eliminated, *clap*.”

When we’re clapping…when we are clapping our hands, we are repelling all obstacles, obstacles, outer, inner, secret. All these different types of obstacles we are repelling. And also, we are, as it says in one of the prayers we do to Padmasambhava, we pray to him to avert all obstacles. And also to bestow all the things we wish for. All the aspirations; make them come real immediately. So, both of these are happening at the same time. That our wishes are being fulfilled, and that all obstacles be repelled.

Link to audio recording: https://www.sakya.org/2012/03/heart-sutra-teaching-2-19-2006/

From The Archives – Dharma Lecture Feb 2006

Brief Dharma Lecture by H.H. Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche Dorje Chang

February 12, 2006

Motivation for Practice

Translator:  Dr. Jeffrey Schoening

Transcribed by Ogyen Choezom

We gather here at the Monastery in order to do wholesome activities, and also to put aside unwholesome activities.  And to better understand the two.  And we come here to practice the Dharma, the Buddha’s teaching.

Dharma can refer to Buddha’s teaching but can also just refer to worldly activities. There’s worldly activities, and then there’s the teachings of the Buddha. And these can both be referred to as Dharma.

So, at the beginning of the practice of Dharma, motivation is very important.

In our text, we have the phrase… “Homage to you who perceiving that the activities of samsara are insubstantial”.

And this is the important recognition that then informs our motivation, that enables us to do our practice. So, this is our starting point.

And then, as Buddhists, we take refuge. And there are three objects in which we take refuge. We take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. And so these are the Three Jewels or the Triple Gem. And we are the ones, as individuals, who take refuge.

As Rinpoche said, samsara has no essence, and this teaching could be also understood through the teaching of the three types of endlessnesses. Such as, there is no end to activities, there is no end to desires, and there is no end to birth and death. So, contemplating these helps us better understand how samsara has no essence.

And so, recognizing the nature of samsara, we take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. And by taking refuge, we can receive their blessing, the blessing of the Triple Gem. And this helps us on our path to understanding.

So, we read and recited the Praise of the 12 Exemplary Deeds of the Lord Buddha. We did it first in Tibetan, and then in English. So, we have a sense of the life of Buddha. And to better understand the Buddha, then it’s important to better understand his qualities. And to help us with this, there are the 10 powers of a Buddha.

So, these are in the Ocean of Compassion book, on page 45, they have a listing of these 10 spiritual powers of a Tathagata, that is a Buddha. As defined by the great Sakya Pandita, in his text, Elucidating the Intentions of the Sage, these 10 abilities are:

  1. Knowing what is possible and impossible.
  2. Knowing the karmic results of actions.
  3. Knowing the nature of various elements of existence.
  4. Knowing the various dispositions of living beings.
  5. Knowing the higher and lower faculties of living beings.
  6. Knowing the application of the path in every situation.
  7. Knowing the condition of all states, such as concentration, liberation, meditation, defilement, and purity.  
  8. Knowing previous lives.
  9. Knowing through divine vision, death, transference, and birth.
  10. Knowing when the defilements are exhausted.

Link to audio recording:  https://www.sakya.org/2009/12/chenrezi-teaching-2-12-2006/

From the Archives – Dharma Lecture 2006

Brief Dharma Lecture by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang

January 15, 2006

Refuge and Chenrezi

Translator:  Dr. Jeffrey Schoening

Transcribed by Ogyen Choezom

So, Adrienne has explained already the practice we do here at the Monastery briefly. And Rinpoche will give more explanation now about what is being done.

So, we come to the Monastery to do wholesome practices. But also, to understand what our unwholesome practice is, what’s non virtuous. And our focus needs to be on our motivation.  This is really the basis––what is our motivation?

Some of you have been coming here [the Monastery] for a long time. And some of you are new here. Those of you who have been coming here for a long time are familiar with the practices we do here.  For those of you who are new here at the Monastery, you are not familiar with these practices, and they can be difficult to understand. So, Rinpoche is going to briefly go over the practices to help you with understanding them.

The basis of all phenomena is our mind. So, when we do the practice, it’s very important that we have an understanding of our minds. So, this is very important. The mind is where the practice is done.

So, to begin, we take refuge here at the Monastery. With the objects of refuge. We are the ones who take refuge. There is both of these; there are the objects in which we take refuge, and the individuals who are taking refuge.

So, the three objects of refuge are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Dharma that we practice here is both of the sutra and the tantra classes. In the sutra class, there are three objects of refuge, as mentioned… the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.  But in the tantra tradition, there is a fourth object of refuge.

So, the practice we just did or the recitation we just did, the praises of the Buddha, this is in the sutra tradition. In the tantra tradition, our practice is where we meditate on a meditational deity, a Yidam. So, in that tradition is the Chenrezi practice. Chenrezi is a meditational deity.

When we do the practice, it is important to understand the meaning of what we’re doing. Therefore, we use our consciousness for this, our minds. In that connection, we do a practice that involves the Three Doors of Liberation. The Three Doors of Liberation are done in the context of an object or basis, a cause, and a result.

At the bottom of page 16, there’s the mantra, TAYATHA OM MUNI MUNI MAHA MUNI SHAKYA MUNIYE SOHA. And this is a mantra that combines both of the sutra and the tantra.  Or the significance of sutra and tantra. And this is a mantra we will repeat 11 times. 

Link to audio recording:  https://www.sakya.org/2009/12/chenrezi-teaching-1-15-2006/

From The Archives – Dharma Lecture 2004

Brief Dharma Lecture by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang

January 12, 2004

Chenrezi Meditation and the Nature of Mind

Translator:  Dr. Jeffrey Schoening

Transcribed by Ogyen Choezom

Now, we’ve come to the practice of Chenrezi. This is a practice we do in order to cultivate the qualities of loving kindness and compassion. And loving kindness is included among the four measurable attitudes: namely loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity or impartiality.

So, we can understand it (loving kindness) through studying the four immeasurable attitudes. Compassion, likewise, is there, and it is often described as having three levels:

  • There’s compassion for the suffering of beings.
  • Compassion for their qualities such as being impermanent.
  • And an ultimate level of compassion which has no object or does not objectify.

So, we do this meditation of Chenrezi in order to develop these qualities. We do this through meditating on Chenrezi’s body, speech, and mind.

We meditate on his body; we visualize ourselves as having his body or form. And through doing this, we cultivate these qualities of loving kindness, and compassion. And we receive his blessing. As we direct our loving kindness and compassion towards all beings, wishing that they be free of suffering, and they be established in happiness. In this way, we cultivate these qualities when we meditate upon his body.

We meditate upon his voice, then we think that within our hearts that there’s the seed syllable HRIH, surrounded by the mantra. And we send out light rays to all the beings in the six realms. Again, with the wish that they be free of suffering and established in happiness.

When we meditate on his mind, on the mind of Chenrezi, we recognize that our own bodies and minds are interconnected. That’s just the way that they are. And when we try to understand the nature of our bodies and minds then we can try to do this through just observing how phenomena arise, abide, and cease.

And especially we can do this by observing our thoughts – just how our thoughts will arise, last for a moment, cease, then another thought arises. And in this way we can better understand the nature of our own minds.

Link to audio recording: https://www.sakya.org/2009/12/chenrezi-teaching-1-12-2004/

Jaigaon Construction Update

Great progress is being made! Sakya Thegchen Phuntsok Ling, which means “the Sanctuary for the Mahayana Teachings of Sakya to be Abundant” in Tibetan, will follow the curriculum of teachings established by the Khön dynasty in Sakya’s headquarters in Tibet, Lhakhang Chenmo.

The main building, with 11600 m2 building area, is a 5 floored comprehensive structure with shrine halls, classrooms, library, auditoriums, dormitory, dining hall, etc. Please click an image to view full size.

His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin Rinpoche visited Sakya Thegchen Phuntsok Ling at the invitation of Venerable Jamyang Gyaltsen. Also attending were Khenpo Sangay Lodoe from Jaigaon, Kalimpong Khentu, and Khenpo Namgyal.

During his visit, His Holiness toured the full building and made note of the wonderful grounds. Marking a highlight of his auspicious visit, His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin Rinpoche bestowed Kah-go, the powerful protection blessing, to all those in attendance.

Sunrise at Sakya Thegchen Phuntsok Ling

Here are some of the architectural diagrams representing the plan for Sakya Thegchen Phuntsok Ling and the Buddha Bharati School, with a photo of the current construction progression for reference.

Below are some architectural renderings of the ground floor floorplan:

For reference, here are the North and South wings under construction in April 2022:

Thanks to the incredible hard work of the construction workers, designers, engineers and site administrators for their dedication and devotion to making the plans of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang a reality!

Auction Results

Greetings! We last posted when promoting the Sakya Heritage Society Auction, and we’re delighted to share that it was a great success. We are humbled by the generosity of those that supported this precious endeavor.

The capital we raise goes directly into the continued construction of Sakya Thegchen Phuntsok Ling in Jaigaon, India. Each worker contributes such valuable effort, and we are grateful to each one. Click an image to view full size.

On this auspicious day, Venerable Jamyang Gyaltsen says prayers over the groundwork for the main temple:

It takes an enormous amount of material to build the Sakya Thegchen Phuntsok Ling and Buddha Bharati School. Below is a slideshow of workers skillfully using these materials, building a staircase that is representative of other staircases throughout the building. These go the 3rd floor. Click images to view full size.

More construction progress. Click an image to open full size.

Construction has been ongoing throughout the pandemic. As we share the struggles of this unprecedented period, we also share bounty. The Marici Fellowship partnered with Sakya Heritage Society in Jaigaon to distribute food to local families.

The Marici Fellowship and the Sakya Heritage Society are closely aligned. Sakya Thegchen Phuntsok Ling is the vision of H.H. Jigdal Dorje Chang. Inspired by the compassionate nature of his grandfather, H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Dorje Chang, H.E. Khöndung Avikrita Vajra Sakya Rinpoche founded the Marici Fellowship in 2017, wishing to create the opportunity for Dharma practitioners to engage in compassionate action to benefit all beings.

This view is from the Lama Residences located on the 6th floor. You can see the Bhutanese town of Phuntsokling in the distance. Phuntsokling is Bhutan’s nearest city to Jaigaon. The beautiful Bhutan Gate separates India and Bhutan and is the main overland passage between the two cities.

The 1980s: Sakya Monastery

In 1984, Sakya Tegchen Choling had outgrown its three previous homes: the Center in a house on Ward Street, followed by the Center on Burke Street and the Center in the University District. Finally His Holiness Dagchen Sakya’s vision of establishing a seat for the future of the Sakya Khön Lineage in the United States would be realized. 

When the Monastery’s building in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle was sold to the Sakyas in 1984 it had been a Baptist Church.  It was originally erected in 1928 as the First Presbyterian Church.  In choosing the former church H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche found that the building was not only spacious enough to accommodate the requisite shrines, thrones, and seating area for practitioners, there were also a number of auspicious coincidences. The building’s entrance faced south and had a flat roof typical of Tibetan monasteries, and the address was “108”, an auspicious number for Tibetan Buddhists.

In 1984 Sakya Tegchen Choling was reorganized under H.H. Dagchen Sakya and became Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism.  It took many years of hard work by dedicated volunteers to transform the building into the traditional Tibetan Monastery that it is today.

Painting the Cultural Hall

Construction of Shrine Begins

Many of the murals were painted by Tibetan artist Dawa Dhundrup (right), including the 1000-year long lineage of Sakya masters in the Lamdre lineage on the south wall of the Monastery (below).

H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche oversaw dozens of devoted students in everything from dismantling the shrine room floor (above), to digging the foundation for the Dezhung Tulku Rinpoche III’s memorial stupa (below).

For twelve years while the main shrine room underwent remodeling, the downstairs Cultural Hall was used as an interim location for the Monastery’s religious services. Over the years, the Monastery’s building and contents were consecrated by the highest lamas in Tibetan Buddhism including H.H. Dalai Lama and H.H. Sakya Trizin Rinpoche in order to imbue them with the enlightened spirit of the Buddha.

Above: H.H. Sakya Trichen Rinpoche and H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche teaching in the Cultural Hall in 1988.

Above: H.H. Trinley Rinpoche giving a long-life blessing in the Cultural Hall in 1987.

Below: H.E. Chogye Trichen Rinpoche visits Sakya Monastery in 1989.

H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche with Lama Kang Tso (longtime Dharma brother of H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche in Tibet) in front of Sakya Monastery in 1984.

In 2014, after 30 years, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism was completed (above).  

 “There were two purposes in my establishing this Monastery here. The main purpose was, as is clear to all people, due to the political change and climate in Tibet, we had to leave our country and bring our tradition and culture to the West.  It was important to preserve that culture and tradition, especially that of the Sakya Khön lineage.  Therefore, the two purposes were to preserve the Khön lineage and the Sakya tradition – and thereby preserve the Buddhadharma for future generations.”

  • H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya