Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism - the Sakya Monastery of ...

sakya.org

Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism - the Sakya Monastery of ...

Sakya Monastery of Tibetan BuddhismIntroductor y GuideThrough the practice of Vajrayana Buddhism, may the flowerof Tibetan culture be preserved for the benefit all beings.


TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction 3Background on H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya 6Short Overview of Tibetan Buddhism 9Guide to the Main Shrine Room 13Sakya Monastery ofTibetan BuddhismAddress:108 NW 83rd StreetSeattle, WA 98117Tel: 206.789.2578 (Open Mondays- Fridays, 8:00 am - noon)Email: monastery@sakya.orgWebsite: www.sakya.orgBecoming a Buddhist 17Meditation Practices at Sakya Monastery 19Special Tibetan Buddhist Ceremonies 22Virupa Educational Institute 23Children’s Dharma School 24Membership at Sakya Monastery 25Tara Meditation Center on Whidbey Island 27© 2010 Sakya Monastery of TibetanBuddhism, All rights reserved.MESSAGE FROM THE CO-DIRECTORSWelcome to Sakya Monastery!One of the key goals of Sakya Monastery is to provide accessto the Buddha’s teachings to enable people to developtheir inner spiritual qualities and progress to enlightenmentstep by step. When people first come to Sakya Monastery,they have lots of questions about Tibetan Buddhism, our Lamas,Sakya Monastery and the spiritual practices we dohere, and how to act when attending one of our meditations.This booklet has been created to answer many ofthose questions so that you will be comfortable and feel welcomedwhenever you visit Sakya Monastery.We look forward to seeing you soon and often!Adrienne Chan & Chuck PettisCo-Executive DirectorsNtu


PURPOSEThe purpose of Sakya Monasteryis to share and preserveTibetan Buddhism and Tibetanculture. It does this throughteaching and practicing traditionalTibetan Buddhism andby upholding Tibetan customsand traditions. Since the purposeof the Buddha’s teaching,as practiced in Tibet, is to developloving-kindness andcompassion, the main meditationpractices at Sakya Monasteryfocus on the cultivation ofthose qualities. In keepingwith the emphasis in Buddhism(and especially in theSakya School) on educationand learning, Sakya Monasteryand the Virupa Educational Instituteoffer a variety of educationalprograms to foster a betterunderstanding of the teachingsof the Buddha.IntroductionSakya Monastery provides access to the Buddha’s teachingsand guidance in a community of practitioners. SakyaMonastery is a place to learn from highly qualified and spiritualTibetan Lamas in a beautiful traditional setting.SakyaMonastery occupies a beautiful renovated building, whichhouses a pristine example of a Tibetan Buddhist shrine thatis one of only a few in North America. It is located at 108NW 83rd Street in Seattle’s Greenwood district, a few blocksfrom the intersection of Greenwood Avenue North and North85th Street. While called a monastery, it is primarily a communityof lay practitioners, with various levels of experiencein the Buddhist tradition. It is led by its founder, His HolinessJigdal Dagchen Sakya (called Dagchen Rinpoche, meaning“Precious One” in Tibetan). He is a head lama of the SakyaSchool of Tibetan Buddhism, one of Tibetan Buddhism’sfour main Schools.The term “Sakya” derives from Dagchen Rinpoche’s familyname and spiritual lineage, and ultimately from the originalSakya Monastery in Sakya, Tibet, built by one of DagchenRinpoche’s ancestors in 1073. It received the name Sakyabecause it was constructed on a patch of earth (sa) that waspale (kya). Sakya Monastery in Seattle is a seat of the SakyaSchool of Tibetan Buddhism in North America. It is alsoa non-sectarian religious center, and hosts visits and teachingfrom leading lamas of all four Schools of Tibetan Buddhism.The Virupa Educational Institute (VEI) was foundedby the Monastery, and is its educational branch.Page 2 Introduction3


THE BUILDINGSakya Monastery’s building was initially erectedin 1928 as the First Presbyterian Church. Overthe years, different Christian denominationshave owned the building. In 1984, a Baptistgroup sold it to Sakya Tegchen Choling center(Sakya Monastery’s predecessor). Since its cofoundingin 1974 by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakyaand H.E. Dezhung Rinpoche III, this center hadsuccessively outgrown accommodations in theRavenna-Bryant, Capitol Hill, Wallingford, andUniversity districts. When it moved to theGreenwood area, the center adopted the nameSakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism.Buying the large structure in Greenwood was abig step for the small center. A remarkableevent helped catalyze the purchase of the building.While the search was being conducted forthe center’s new home, Dagchen Rinpoche hada dream in which he saw the destined building.Upon waking, he had architectural plans drawnfor the building as revealed to him in his vision.Amazingly, the Baptist Church was an exactmatch for these vision-based plans, and the decisionwas made to acquire the 108 building(Tibetan Buddhism prayer beads have 108beads, hence, 108 is a sacred number in TibetanBuddhism).Since the purchase, many years of hard workand renovation by dedicated volunteers havebrought the building to its present form andgrace. At various stages of the renovation, thehighest-ranking lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, includingHis Holiness the Dalai Lama, have consecratedSakya Monastery’s building and itscontents, imbuing them with the enlightenedspirit of the Buddha and transforming the buildinginto a North American home for the Buddha’steaching. In addition, Sakya Monasterycontains many holy objects from India, Tibet,and Nepal.During a 12-year renovation period of the mainworship hall (the Shrine Room), the downstairscultural hall was used as an interim location forSakya Monastery’s religious services. NumerousBuddhist artworks were donated by SakyaMonastery members, friends, and Dagchen Rinpoche’sfamily. Extensive murals were paintedon site by master Tibetan Buddhist religious artists,Dhawa Dhundop and Pema Wangyal. Duringthis period, film director Bernardo Bertoluccishot scenes for the movie Little Buddha at SakyaMonastery. This venture helped pay for thewood parquet floor in the shrine room. Mastersculptors Sonam Wangchuk and Kalsang Lodowere commissioned to build the triple live sizestatue of Buddha and life size statues of SachenKunga Nyingpo and Sakya Pandita. Theprotector deity statues were created by mastersculptors Lopon Tumpo and Jigme Tenzin.They were painted by Sakya Monastery residentarist Lama Migmar Tsering using a varietyof paints and gold leaf to color and add expressionto the statues. Outside the building, inkeeping with the style of traditional Tibetan Buddhistmonasteries, a portico was added over thefront entrance. By 1997, the remodeling wassufficiently finished so that the main shrine roomcould be used for meditations.In 1998, the outside of Sakya Monastery’s buildingwas painted in traditional Tibetan colors anda memorial stupa was erected to Dezhung RinpocheIII. The bell shaped stupa is located infront of the Monastery and symbolizes the Buddha’senlightened mind. In 2001, a library additioncapable of holding at least 5,000 volumeswas finished and opened. In summer of 2010,Dagchen Rinpoche consecrated 32 new Padmasambhavaprayer wheels along the east sideof Sakya Monastery.TWO LEVELS OF RELIGIOUS TRAININGIn Tibetan Buddhism, a religious community traditionallyneeds both a monastery and a retreatcenter. A monastery maintains and preservesPage 3 Introduction4


the teaching of the Buddha through teaching,training, and practice. It houses monks who aretrained in the intellectual, moral and ritual teachingsof the Buddha and is a focal point for religiousactivities of the lay community. Nowadays,with the rapid changes taking place in Tibet,the monastery is also a place where Tibetansendeavor to preserve their unique Tibetanidentity and culture.The bustle of activity at a monastery means thatit is not always conducive to developing profoundmeditative experiences. For that, an isolatedretreat center is necessary. In the year2000, a Sakya Monastery student made availablea house and 72 acres of forest and pondslocated on Whidbey Island for use as a place forspiritual retreats. Thus, with teaching facilitiesin Seattle and the Tara Meditation Center atEarth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island, SakyaMonastery provides a complete array of traditionalmethods of Tibetan religious training forthe lay community as well as monks and nuns.PROGRAMSSakya Monastery offers a variety of activities forits members and friends. Foremost are thepublic meditations: Chenrezi meditations for developingloving-kindness and compassion areheld on Sunday morning at 10:00 am andThursday evenings at 8:00 pm during daylightsavings time (spring/summer) and 7:30 pm duringstandard time (fall/winter). This is the maincommunal practice of Sakya Monastery. CalmAbiding meditations, which are useful for thedevelopment of concentration and mental stability,are held on Friday nights at 7:00 pm.Numerous other ceremonies and meditationsare held at the Monastery:• Buddhist holy days – such as the birth of theBuddha and memorials to special lamas.• Refuge ceremonies are regularly scheduledfor people who wish to formally join the communityof Buddhist practitioners and becomea Buddhist.• Initiatory ceremonies, called “initiations”, arebestowed by Dagchen Rinpoche and otherlamas upon request. These initiations arerequired as a basis for special meditationpractices involving meditational deities suchas Chenrezi (the embodiment of compassion)or Green Tara (the grantor of protection).• Monthly meditations are also held that havespecific requirements for attending, such asbeing a Buddhist, or having received a specificinitiation or level of initiation.Additionally, the Monastery offers a variety ofother programs and resources:• The Children’s Dharma School for childrenages 5 and up is available on Sundays duringChenrezi practice.• The Sakya Monastery library, available tomembers and visiting scholars, houses2,500 books on Buddhism, Tibet, and comparativereligion, as well as audiotapes ofteachings in Tibetan by noted lamas. Thelibrary has a connection with the TibetanWorks & Archives in Dharamsala, India(home of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile).• The Virupa Educational Institute administersand organizes numerous classes, talks,book groups, discussions, and video showingsheld at the Monastery. These programsare open to the public and are widely attended.ADMINISTRATIONFollowing Tibetan tradition and “corporationsole” status of Washington State, its HeadLama H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya is the administrativeand spiritual leader of the non-profit SakyaMonastery. He is the “CEO” and makes alldecisions. He consults regularly with a fourteen-memberAdvisory Board. Ten of theBoard’s members are elected by the membersof the Monastery; the other members of theboard are: the Head Lama, the Tibetan CulturalAdvisor, representatives from the Sakya family,our ordained, the Co-Executive Directors, andappointees drawn from the Sakya Monasterymembership.Page 4 Introduction5


INTRODUCTIONHis Holiness JigdalDagchen Sakya was bornin 1929 in Sakya, Tibet. Hewas educated to be thehead of the Sakya Schoolof Tibetan Buddhism aswell as the successor tothe throne of Sakya, thethird most importantpolitical position in Tibet inearlier times. TheCommunist Chineseoccupation of Tibet, andthe peril that ensued,precipitated his departurefrom the world his familyhad known for generations,and led him to a new roleas a leader in thetransmission of TibetanBuddhism in the West.Background onH.H. Jigdal Dagchen SakyaH.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya’s immigration in 1960 makes himone of the first Tibetans-in-exile in North America. He is thefirst Head of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism to live inthe United States. From the Sakya Monastery of TibetanBuddhism in Seattle, Washington, and its precursor (which heco-founded in 1974 with Dezhung Rinpoche), he has taughtand preserved Tibetan culture and religion. Because he isalso a non-sectarian master within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition,he has defined Sakya Monastery as a nondenominationaland ecumenical center for teachings aboutTibetan Buddhism. His work has also included the foundingof Tibetan Buddhist communities overseas in India, HongKong, Taiwan, Nepal, Bhutan and Southeast Asia, and teachingat Buddhist centers around the world. He is truly a pioneeramong religious leaders.His formal title of “His Holiness” indicates the high degree ofesteem with which the Tibetan Buddhist community holdshim. Dagchen is a title meaning “Lineage Holder.” Among hisfollowers he is known as Dagchen Rinpoche, or simply asRinpoche (“Precious One”).HIS REVERED ANCESTORSLineage is all-important in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, andDagchen Rinpoche’s lineage is noble and revered for its holiness.It extends back for over a thousand years.His father was Trichen (“Great Throne-holder”) Nawang TutopWangchuk, the last great throne-holder of the Sakya Orderof Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, and his mother was Gyalyum(“Mother of the Khön Children”) Dechen Drolma.Dagchen Rinpoche’s family lineage is thought of as divinebecause family records and Tibetan histories state that hisfamily is descended from celestial beings from the realm ofheavenly clear light. Five generations of these celestial beingsare said to have lived in Tibet. A famous ancestor of hisfrom the late eighth century was Khön Lu’i Wangpo(Nagendrarakshita), one of the first seven Tibetans ordainedas a Buddhist monk, a noted translator and a personal discipleof Padmasambhava (who erected the very first TibetanBuddhist monastery called Samye). Since the 11th century,the Sakya male progenies are also regarded as emanationsof Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Avalokiteshvara,Bodhisattva of Compassion, or Vajrapani, Bodhisattva ofPower.Page 5Background on H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya6


THE SAKYA NAMEIn 1042, Atisha, the great Indian Buddhist masterwho helped revive Buddhism in Tibet, wastraveling in Tibet spreading the Buddha’s teachings.At the side of a mountain where there was“pale earth,” he foresaw the emanations of threebodhisattvas whom he knew would spread theBuddhist doctrine in Tibet: Avalokiteshvara (theembodiment of compassion), Manjushri (the embodimentof infinite wisdom), and Vajrapani (theembodiment of infinite power).It was at the same site of pale earth some thirtyyears later, in 1073, that Khön Gönchok Gyalpo(1034-1102), ancestor of Dagchen Rinpoche,built the first Sakya Monastery. The monasterytook its name from the pale earth (in Tibetan “sakya”)where the monastery was founded. Subsequently,the town that arose there, the family ofthe monastery’s founder (the Khön lineage), andthe school of Tibetan Buddhism also took thename of the monastery: Sakya. Additionally, theSakya name is renowned for having lamas asrulers of Tibet. The Sakya patriarch, ChogyalPakpa (1235 – 1280) was given temporal authorityover Tibet through the patronage of theMongol rulers of China. Subsequently, the Sakyalamas governed Tibet for over 90 years.The Sakya School is one of the four greatSchools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Sakya mastersdeveloped a tradition that emphasized studyand meditation in equal measure.A SPECIAL KIND OF TIBETAN BUDDHIST LAMAIn Tibetan Buddhism there are several ways tobecome a lama (a spiritual teacher and guide).Some lamas are recognized as rebirths of formerlamas and are called Tulkus. Some of theseare also considered to be emanations of bodhisattvas.The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is a goodexample, being the thirteenth reincarnation ofthe first Dalai Lama, Gendun Drup, as well as anemanation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.Some, through their spiritual development in thislife, are deemed to become lamas, but are notregarded as rebirths of previous lamas.Finally, in some special families, all family memberswith blood relations to the father are consideredto be lamas. The Sakya-Khön lineage,Dagchen Rinpoche’s lineage, is just such a family.In each generation of the Sakya-Khön lineage,in order to preserve the family line, one ofthe males must keep the custom of the Lineageholder(ngachang) – a white-robed, marriedlama. This tradition is distinct from the morecommon ordained (rapchung) – red-robed monklamatradition prevalent in some of the other TibetanBuddhist schools. Thus, in each generation,some Sakya-Khön lineage lamas are notmonks, but married lamas who continue thespiritual lineage.In accordance with the prophecy of the great Atisha,these Sakya lamas are regarded as emanationsof Avalokiteshvara (the embodiment ofcompassion), Vajrapani (the embodiment ofBuddha’s power), or especially Manjushri (theembodiment of Buddha’s wisdom).Dagchen Rinpoche is in the twenty-sixth generationof the Sakya-Khön lineage descended fromKhön Gönchok Gyalpo. Dagchen Rinpoche isregarded as an emanation of Manjushri as wellas the rebirth of a Sakya Abbot from the Ngorsub-school, Ewam Luding Khenchen (The GreatAbbot from the Luding family) Gyase Chökyi Nyima.A FAMILY OF SUPERNORMAL ABILITIESThroughout its history, Dagchen Rinpoche’sfamily has produced adepts with supernormalskills. In the Tibetan tradition, psychic powersand what appear to be magical feats are acceptedas a sign of one’s spiritual accomplishment.Some of Dagchen Rinpoche’s earliest ancestorsare said to have been able to fly, othersto hang their robes on sunbeams.The five founding lamas of the Sakya School ofTibetan Buddhism, in addition to being mastersof the esoteric and exoteric teachings of theBuddha, were all child prodigies and performednumerous miracles. For example, when he wastwelve years old and on a long retreat, SachenKunga Nyingpo (1092-1158) received in a visiona teaching from the Bodhisattva Manjushri.Page 6Background on H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya7


Sachen’s son, Teaching Master Sönam Tsemo(1142-1182), accomplished the incredible feat ofmemorizing the Chakrasamvara Tantra andother esoteric teachings before he was fiveyears old, and passed away without leaving hisbody behind, and took his puppy with him!Sönam’s brother, Reverend Drakpa Gyaltsen(1147-1216), recited the Hevajra Tantra frommemory when he was twelve years old. Muchlater in life, when he experienced a surprise visitby the Kashmir Pandita Shakyashribhadra, theReverend caused his ritual implements to float inthe air.The Reverend’s nephew was Sakya Pandita(1182-1251), who knew Sanskrit as a child withoutbeing taught. As a teenager he had a dreamthat he slept in front of a large stupa. Followingthat Sakya Pandita was able to recall the teachingsof the Abhidharmakosha from a previouslifetime without having been taught them in hispresent life. When Sakya Pandita was at thecourt of Godan Khan, the Khan’s sorcererstested him by creating a magic, illusory templeon an island on a lake. Sakya Pandita blessed itand made it into a real temple.His nephew, Chögyal Pakpa (King of Religion,the Noble One) (1235-1280), as a young man,greatly impressed Kublai Khan, future emperorof China, by cutting off his own head and limbs,making a bloody mess. He then transformed hissevered head and limbs into the five celestialBuddhas before making himself whole again.Dagchen Rinpoche’s own father was known tohave performed miracles. When he beat a drumduring a monthly protection ritual, the drumwould emit flames. Once when his father neededto cross a roaring river, he caused the water tosubside so his party could cross without mishap.Another time, the Tibetan government asked himto restore a Padmasambhava stupa (memorialshrine) on a mountain. When his party climbedto the stupa, they found no water. He scratchedsome syllables on the ground and told everyoneto leave the area alone until morning. Whenmorning came, the party found a pool of wateron the spot where the syllables had been drawn.They were then able to rebuild the memorialshrine.EDUCATION AND EARLY ADULTHOODAs imminent successor to the throne of Sakya,Dagchen Rinpoche was first tutored by the abbotof the South Monastery of Sakya and by theSecretary of the Sakya Government. With thesetwo teachers, Dagchen Rinpoche studied theTibetan alphabet, composition, classical literature,philosophy, and the Four Classes of Tantra(esoteric Buddhism). He also received teachingson the Sakya meditation deities. From PönlopSakya of the North Monastery, Dagchen Rinpochelearned the fundamental esoteric religiousrites of the Sakya tradition: religious music, mandalaoffering, dancing, and ritual hand gestures.After having successfully completed this training,Dagchen Rinpoche received from his father theunbroken Sakya-Khön lineage transmission ofVajrakilaya (a meditational deity whose namemeans the “Dagger of Indestructible Reality”),and the complete Lamdre Tsokshey (The Pathand Its Fruit in its more exoteric form), which isthe main teaching of the Sakya tradition. Thus,Dagchen Rinpoche’s first root lama (his primaryspiritual teacher) was his father, His HolinessTrichen Nawang Thutop Wangchuk, who is wellremembered for his kindly leadership, clairvoyance,and miraculous deeds.In 1950, at age 21, Dagchen Rinpoche took abride: Sonam Tsezom, who descends from afamily of lamas and doctors of East Tibet(Kham). She is the niece of Dezhung RinpocheIII. When she married, her name becameJamyang and her title Dagmo Kusho.Later that year Dagchen Rinpoche’s fatherpassed away. Dagchen Rinpoche suddenly becamethe interim Throne-holder. Concurrently,Communist Chinese invaders were threateningTibet and Tibetan Buddhism. After a short reignas the head of the Sakya sect, during whichDagchen Rinpoche’s right to hold the Sakyathrone was put into question, he took a leave ofabsence as ruler of Sakya in order to travel toPage 7Background on H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya8


East Tibet to complete his religious education.In East Tibet, Dagchen Rinpoche receivedteachings from fourteen lamas. Among themwere his root lamas, Dzongsar JamyangKhyentse Rinpoche, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.Both were renowned non-sectarian lamas,of the Sakya and Nyingma traditions respectively.From Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche,Dagchen Rinpoche received initiations andteachings of the Sakya School’s most valuedteaching, the seven-volume Lamdre Lopshey(The Path and Its Fruit in its more esoteric form)and the fourteen-volume Druptap Kundu(Collection of Methods of Realization). FromDilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Dagchen Rinpochereceived teachings on the thirteen-volumeDamngak Dzö (Treasury of Esoteric Instructions),a non-sectarian compilation by JamgönKongtrul, a great non-sectarian master of TibetanBuddhism from the Gagyu School. Additionally,twelve other Sakya lamas gave him theteachings from the thirty-one volume GyudeKundu.EMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATESIn 1959, owing to the violent changes takingplace in Tibet, Dagchen Rinpoche and his family(including his younger brother H.H. Trinly Rinpocheand his wife’s uncle Dezhung RinpocheIII) fled to Bhutan and then to India. ProfessorTurrell V. Wylie from the Tibetan Studies Programat the University of Washington, the firstsuch program in the country, invited DagchenRinpoche to participate in a research project onTibet sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.This enabled Dagchen Rinpoche to bring hisfamily to Seattle, Washington, in 1960. The researchproject funding lasted for three years.Following that, over the next decade DagchenRinpoche had several positions at the Universityof Washington, including working in the AnthropologyDepartment and at the Burke Museum ofNatural History and Culture.the organization adopted the name of SakyaMonastery of Tibetan Buddhism.Dagchen Rinpoche has overseen the religiousactivities and administration of the SakyaDharma Center up to the present-day SakyaMonastery for the purpose of preserving Tibetanculture and religion. His spiritual leadershiptakes various forms: leading meditations, givingteachings and spiritual initiations, conducting refugeceremonies in which people formally becomeBuddhists, and holding special servicesupon request, either in Sakya Monastery or atpeoples’ homes. He can perform such servicesas house blessings, shrine blessings, consecratingreligious objects, marriages, baby blessings,divination, and healing to subdue negativity.Now that Sakya Monastery is largely completed,Dagchen Rinpoche is placing greater emphasison education. In 1997, he founded the VirupaEcumenical Institute. Its name has recently beenchanged to Virupa Educational Institute. The Instituteis devoted to the study of Tibetan Buddhism,and Buddhism in general. Nonsectarianismand education are major componentsto Dagchen Rinpoche’s teaching, in keepingwith the beliefs of his root lamas. SakyaMonastery in Seattle has hosted visits from leadinglamas of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism,including H. H. the Dalai Lama.Dagchen Rinpoche’s interest in ecumenismstems from his training as a non-sectarian master,and his experience as an immigrant whocame to this country seeking religious freedom,as well as being a Buddhist in a predominantlyJudeo-Christian culture. Like His Holiness TheFourteenth Dalai Lama, he encourages interreligiousand interdisciplinary meetings and encountersfor Tibetan Buddhists. He regularlytravels to teach in Asia, Europe, Canada, andthroughout the United States.A NON-SECTARIAN SEATTLE LAMAIn 1974, Dagchen Rinpoche co-founded withDezhung Rinpoche the original Sakya DharmaCenter called Sakya Tegchen Choling. In 1984,Page 8Background on H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya9


Short Overview of Tibetan BuddhismINTRODUCTIONTibetan Buddhism, the teaching of the Buddha as practiced and taught in Tibet, is at last becomingknown to the world. Because of Tibet’s secluded location, the Buddhist tradition developed there forfourteen centuries in relative isolation, unknown or sometimes misunderstood by the outside world.A turning point came in the late 1950s, when the Communist Chinese takeover precipitated the migrationof many Tibetan teachers to India and Nepal. Since then, Tibetan Buddhist teachers havetraveled further abroad and have established teaching centers that are now flourishing in Japan,Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. For the first time in history, peoplefrom all over the world are able to learn directly from authentic sources about how Tibetan Buddhismwas practiced in Tibet. The Tibetan migration has found a particularly receptive audience inthe United States – which is, after all, a country of immigrants. Buddhism is now one of the fastestgrowing religions in the United States – not least because of the rise in popularity of its Tibetan denomination.LIFE OF THE BUDDHAThe historical Buddha (named Siddhartha at birth and commonly known as Shakyamuni Buddha)lived in northern India approximately five centuries before Christ. He was a prince who renounceda privileged royal life in order to search for ultimate peace and the highest good. He realized thehighest level of enlightenment at the age of thirty-five. Through arduous practices, concentratedmeditation, and deep reflection he became a fully awakened being – a Buddha. He then taught thePage 9 Short Overview of Tibetan Buddhism


path of spiritual liberation to numerous disciplesfor over forty years, until his passing at the ageof eighty. Afterward the communities of monksand nuns that he founded dedicated themselvesto preserving and upholding his teachings,thereby laying the foundations for what has becomeknown as Buddhism.The term “Buddha” means an “awakened” or“enlightened” one who has discovered true wisdomand attained nirvana (the cessation of desire)in this world. It is a descriptive title given toall fully enlightened beings, rather than beingthe exclusive name of a single individual. Therehave been Buddhas in the past (for exampleKashyapa, Dipangkara, or Shakyamuni – thehistorical Buddha), and other Buddhas are expectedin the future.TIBETAN BUDDHISMTibetan Buddhism teaches that we are all potentialBuddhas, because we are essentiallypure and luminous at the most basic level of existence.That purity, called Buddha-nature, istypically clouded over by a dense layer of ignoranceand negativity, which dominates us andleads to suffering. The Tibetan Buddhist pathencourages its practitioners to adopt the traitsand characteristics of enlightened beingsthrough the use of special meditation techniques,thereby realizing their innate Buddhanature.BUDDHIST VALUESBuddhism is a tolerant religion that places emphasison practical methods for cultivating spiritualawareness and on the importance of findingthe truth for oneself. It treasures lovingkindness,compassion, equanimity, clarity ofmind, and wisdom. Its hope is to alleviate sufferingand to create healing and transformation sothat all beings may experience the highestpeace (nirvana). Followers of the Buddha entrusttheir spiritual growth and well-being to 1)the Buddha as the perfect teacher, 2) his teaching(the Dharma) as the holy path to awakening,and 3) the lamas, tulkus, and the ordained (theSangha). These three objects of refuge are collectivelyrevered in Buddhism as the “ThreeJewels” or the “Triple Gem,” and are the basisfor Buddhist spiritual commitment.THE DEVELOPMENT OF BUDDHISMEarly in the history of Buddhism numerous denominationsdeveloped. The only early denominationthat still exists today is Theravada Buddhism.It is the Buddhism still found in SriLanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Cambodia.Monasticism is the cornerstone of TheravadaBuddhism.Around the first century BCE, a new form ofBuddhism developed on the Indian subcontinent.It was called Mahayana (the “Great” or“Universal Vehicle”). The Mahayana movementbrought a new religious ideal to Buddhism, thatof the bodhisattva, an individual who works forthe enlightenment and well-being of all, not justfor him or herself. This form of Buddhismspread throughout China, Korea, and Japan.Several centuries later a third Buddhist denominationemerged in North India. Called Vajrayana(the “Diamond Vehicle”), it spread throughoutthe Himalayan kingdoms of Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim,and Bhutan, and northwards into Mongolia.The “diamond” in the name refers to the supremeclarity of its vision and its crystallinehardness and strength.Page 10Short Overview of Tibetan Buddhism2


The Distinctive Character of Tibetan BuddhismTibetan Buddhism draws upon the teachings,meditation techniques, and ordination vows ofthe Theravada, and the philosophy and cosmologyof Mahayana. But it was in Tibet that manyof the Vajrayana teachings were preserved, andmost of the distinctive qualities of Tibetan Buddhismcan be found in its Vajrayana heritage.The Vajrayana path largely follows the Mahayanaphilosophical teachings, but there aresome variations in attitude. Whereas Mahayanaseeks to destroy the poisons of craving, aggression,and ignorance, Vajrayana places an emphasison transmuting them directly into wisdom.This is based in the Tibetan Buddhist beliefthat the mundane world (samsara) is inseparablefrom enlightenment.Tibetan Buddhism is distinguished by its manymethods and techniques of spiritual developmentand for its great acceleration of the spiritualjourney. Theoretically, the path of the Mahayanapractitioner takes three incalculableeons to reach full awakening; by contrast, thepath of the Vajrayana practitioner can be asshort as one lifetime.In order to accelerate the process of enlightenment,Vajrayana uses advanced yoga techniquesin combination with elaborate meditations.The meditations incorporate visualizationsof personified archetypes of enlightenment, frequentlyreferred to as “meditational deities.”These archetypes are often represented in Tibetanreligious art in the form of bronze sculptures,or in painted portable scroll icons, knownas tangkas. The scriptures containing the esotericteachings for yogic practices (such asmeditative visualizations) are called tantras, andare part of a larger body of Buddhist sacredtexts, based on the public teachings of the Buddha,called sutras. (Vajrayana’s use of tantricliterature explains why it is sometimes referredto as “Tantric Buddhism.”) Mantras (chanted sacredsyllables or phrases), mudras (ritual handgestures), and mandalas (symbolic representationsof enlightened worlds) are all used as partof Tibetan Buddhist meditational practices.THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LAMATibetan Buddhist tradition places great emphasison the importance of the lama (the Tibetanequivalent of the Sanskrit term guru). Thesevenerable teachers are often given the honorifictitle of Rinpoche (“Precious One”). All lamascomplete a long course of study that preparesthem for their future role as the bestowers ofinitiations and esoteric teachings. Qualified lamasintroduce students to particular teachingsand through “initiations” bestow spiritual energyso that specific practices can be successfullyundertaken by students. Formal and informalface-to-face oral transmissions of spiritual insightand wisdom typically occur between lamaand student. The lama is the focus of passionatedevotion for the aspirant, and is acknowledgedto embody the Three Jewels (the Buddha,his teachings, and the sangha) as well asthe qualities of the meditational deities.Tibetan Buddhism innovated the idea of“incarnate lamas,” the belief that the mind of adeceased lama can reappear in the new body ofa child. The most famous example of recognizingreincarnated lamas is the centuries-long traditionby which H. H. the Dalai Lama is identified.Page 11Short Overview of Tibetan Buddhism3


THE DEVELOPMENT OF BUDDHISM IN TIBETBuddhism has a long history in Tibet. During thereign of Tibet’s first emperor, Songsen Gampo(ca. 600-650 CE), when Tibet first establisheditself as an independent kingdom and empire,the teachings of the Buddha were introduced toTibet. It was another century before Buddhismbegan to flourish during the reign of three emperors:Tri Song Detsen (fl. 775), Tri Saynalek(fl. 812), and Tri Ralpachen (fl. 838). During thattime great translation projects were undertakenso that Indian texts could be recorded in Tibetan,monasteries were built, and the royalty,nobility, and populace embraced Buddhism.The last Tibetan emperor (reigned 838-842)was anti-Buddhist. He suppressed the religion,was assassinated as a result, and by the early840s the royal dynasty collapsed. Tibet had adark age of nearly two centuries – from 850 tothe early 1000s. During this time, there was nocentral government. Although Buddhism in Tibetsurvived during this period, there were no monasteriesor great translation projects, partly becausethere were no great patrons to supportthem.THE FOUR SCHOOLS WITHIN TIBETAN BUDDHISMTibetan translators going to India and Indiansages coming to Tibet revived Buddhist teachingin Tibet between the late 900s and the1200s. By the early 1400s, there were four majorschools of Tibetan Buddhism. The NyingmaSchool adhered to the Vajrayana teachingsfrom the earlier royal period. The Kagyu, Sakya,and Geluk Schools all followed later Vajrayanateachings coming into Tibet from India. Theschools formed due to individual teaching lineagesand the relative emphasis each groupplaced on particular esoteric teachings. Theseschools, which continue to exist to this day, doagree on the essential teachings of Buddhism.The first lama to do so was the Sakya patriarchChögyal Pakpa (1235-1280), who was given histemporal authority through the patronage of theMongol rulers of China. It was also throughMongol patronage that the Dalai Lamas or theirrepresentatives have ruled Tibet since 1642(with one major interruption). They, too, areboth religious and temporal leaders.The last half of the 20th century has brought unparalleledchanges to Tibet. The Communistgovernment of China controls Tibet and underits rule Tibet’s religion and culture have sufferedgreatly. Under the guidance of H. H. the DalaiLama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibet,a government-in-exile has been established inDharamsala, India. Tibetan exiles have settledmostly in India but also in other countries suchas Nepal, Switzerland, Canada, and the UnitedStates. H. H. the Dalai Lama has worked hardto bring the plight of Tibet to the world’s attention,and in 1989 his efforts gained him the NobelPeace Prize. Since then, popular sentimentand political activism have increased in supportof the restoration of Tibet. Embracing the valuesof compassion and wisdom, not all exiles viewthe loss of their homeland with anger and resentment.His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya,Head Lama of the Sakya Monastery of TibetanBuddhism in Seattle, says that the changes inTibet are an example of the true nature of humanexistence: all is impermanent, and everythingchanges.POLITICS AND RELIGIONOver the centuries, some lamas played increasinglyimportant roles in Tibet, not just as religiousfigures, but also as political leaders. Oftenin Tibet’s history, a lama led the government.Page 12 Short Overview of Tibetan Buddhism4


Guide to the Main Shrine RoomThe shrine room was established in 1984 by His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya.CONSECRATIONSSakya Monastery has been consecrated by many lamas, including His Holiness The FourteenthDalai Lama, His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, and His Holiness Sakya Trizin.MONASTERY REMODELINGUnder the direction of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, the remodeling of Sakya Monastery beganwhen the building was purchased in 1984. The work has been accomplished thanks to donationsfrom faithful patrons, Monastery members, and the Head Lama’s family members. Every Saturday,members and friends volunteer to assist with the upkeep of the Monastery and any currentprojects.THE MAIN SHRINEUpon entering the Shrine Room, you will see a triple life-size statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. Hisright hand touches the earth in the “Demon Vanquishing” or “Earth Touching” mudra and his lefthand in the meditation position holds his alms bowl.To the Buddha’s far right is the life-size statue of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), founder ofthe Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism and progenitor of the Sakya-Khön lineage of lamas. Hisright hand is in the “Giving” mudra, his left holds the stem of the lotus, symbolizing compassion andthe Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.On the Buddha’s far left is Sakya Pandita (1182-1251), the grandson of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo.Page 13Short Overview of Tibetan Buddhism5


He was well known for being the most accomplished of Sakya lamas and the most learned Tibetan ofhis time. His hands are in the “Bestowing the Wheel of Dharma” mudra, the right holding the stem of alotus upon which rests the flaming sword symbolizing discriminating insight and the Bodhisattva Mañjushri;the text of the Perfection of Discriminating Insight rests upon the lotus held in his left hand. Hewears the hat of an Indian pandit.The statues are hollow, made of clay mixed with various herbs and sculpted on wood and wire framesby master artists Sonam Wangchuk and Kalsang Lodo from Dharamsala from October 1994 to April1995. The Buddha’s aureole is made of lightweight plastic based on an original in clay made by the twomaster artists. The statues and backdrop are covered in gold leaf and paint.To Sachen’s right is a glass case containing the Kanjur, the “Translated Word” of the Buddha, and toSakya Pandita’s left is a case containing the Tanjur, the “Translated Treatises”. These two collectionsof block prints, constituting the Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, were recently printed from blocks carved inthe 1730’s and kept at Derge in Eastern Tibet. Above the Kanjur is a painting of Hevajra, and above theTanjur is a painting of Vajrayogini, both from Nepal.Between the Buddha and Sachen is a statue of White Tara and along the east wall is a Green Tarastatue. Both are gifts of Dagmo Kusho Jamyang Sakya and were made in Nepal. Between the Buddhaand Sakya Pandita is a statue of Padmasambhava dedicated to the memory of H.H. Trinly Sakyapa.The rosewood offering tables are the donation of devout patrons from overseas. The garuda over theSHRINE ROOM ETIQUETTEPlease turn off all cell phones. Taking photographs or video is not allowed without the specificpermission of the Monastery administrator.What to Wear:• Remove shoes (preferably, leave downstairs).• Dress in clean, neat clothing.• Please don't wear revealing clothing - your knees, legs, shoulders, and midriff should becovered. Shawls are available to cover these portions of the body. Please ask a greeter for one,if needed. Optionally, men or women may wear shawls or Adhis (layman’s maroon and whiteshawl) out of respect.• Remove hat (unless it has religious significance).While in the Shrine room:• Do three prostrations towards the shrine (optional).• Be silent and courteous.• Be respectful to all religious objects in the Shrine room.• It is proper etiquette not to have the soles of one's feet facing the shrine or the lama.• Out of respect for the Dharma (Lord Buddha's teachings), please do not put practice booksdirectly on the floor or cushion. Put them on a bookstand, cloth, or your lap.• When visiting a lama, offer a white scarf (katag) and a heart-felt offering gift (flowers, fruit,incense, money or anything that pleases the lama).• Treat lamas, monks and nuns with respect, dignity and courtesy.Page 14Guide to Main Shrine Room6


the ceiling in June 1995.Over the windows are the paintings of the Indianscholars known as the Six Ornaments and theTwo Supreme Ones. Over the west side windows,beginning with the painting closest to theshrine, are Arya Nagarjuna, Middle Way proponentand retriever of the Perfection of Wisdomsutras, Arya Asanga, retriever and commentatorupon the Five Treatises of Maitreya, Dignaga,the great logician and author, andShakyaprabha, an upholder of the Vinaya tradition.Over the windows on the east side are:Aryadeva, follower of the Nagarjuna in the MiddleWay and author of the Four Hundred Verses,Vasubandhu, younger brother of Asanga andYogacara exponent, Dharmakirti, logician andauthor, and Gunaprabha, Vinaya master.Artist Dhawa Dhondup from Dharamsala, India,painted them in the Winter and Spring of 1994.main Shrine was made in Nepal and painted bySakya Monastery members.CEILING ARTBefore any of the walls or ceiling could bepainted, the leaks in the ceiling had to be repairedand a special canvas wallpaper applied.Once the canvas was in place, the “Seattle sky”was painted on the ceiling by local painters. Thedepiction of the sky is based on descriptions inreligious texts.On the ceiling are the four mandalas of the fourHevajra transmissions. Hevajra is the most importantdeity in the Sakya School’s main practice,the Lamdre. These Hevajra mandalas arebased upon photos from Ngor Monastery, Tibet,which were then scanned into a computer andrestored by John Vichorek. He restored themusing a computer (the colors in the photos werefaded or had been sullied with smoke and someparts of the mandalas had been destroyed) andhad them printed on photographic paper muchthe way billboards are made. In this way, traditionalTibetan art was restored using moderntechnology. The mandalas were put in place onART ON THE ENTRANCE WALL OF THESHRINE ROOMThe Four Great Kings are at eye level in the entrancewall of the Shrine Room. The EasternKing is Dhritarashtra in white holding a guitar,the Southern King is Virudhaka in blue holding asword, the Western King is Virupaksha in redholding a stupa, and the Northern King isVaishravana in yellow holding a jewel-spittingmongoose. These paintings were created byartist Dhawa Dhondup.Above the Four Great Kings is the Lamdre LamaLineage of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya,Head Lama of the Sakya Order, and His HolinessTrinly Sakyapa, Associate Head Lama.The Lamdre is the central teaching of the SakyaSchool and has been on this earth since thegreat siddha Virupa, c. 7th century. The Lineage,containing 48 figures, begins in the centerof the painting with the Buddha Vajradhara inblue. Next is his consort Nairatmya in flames inthe upper left. Next to her is Virupa, the first humanto receive the teaching. On the far right ofthe top row is Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. TheLama Lineage continues from left the right untilthe bottom row, where the final three lamas inthe lineage are portrayed in the center of the rowPage 15 Guide to Main Shrine Room7


with reworked photographs: H. H. Trichen NgawangTudop Wangchuk is in the very centerflanked by both his sons: H. H. Jigdal DagchenSakya to his right and H. H. Trinly N. Sakyapa tohis left. These paintings were created by artistDhawa Dhondup.monthly. Refer to the Sakya Monastery calendarfor exact dates and time. Attendees aregiven a overview of Sakya Monastery and thespiritual practices of Sakya Monastery.Free guided tours (Darshan viewings) of theThe Wheel of Life, on the left side of the wall, isa pictorial representation of core Buddhist teachings.This was also created by Dhawa Dhondup.ART ON THE EASTERN WALLThe Buddha and the Sixteen Elders (or Arhats)is the last major art work by Tibetan artist PemaWangyal, d. 1992. The Buddha has his twomain disciples, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana,at his sides and is surrounded by the SixteenElders and their two companions.PROTECTOR SHRINESThe large Protector Shrine (Tibetan: Gön Kang)on the west wall and the smaller ProtectorShrine on the east wall were finished in 2007.THE FLOORThe parquet floor was purchased with the proceedsfrom the rental of the Monastery for thefilming of The Little Buddha by Bernardo Bertolucci.Previously, before any remodeling couldbe done in the Shrine Room, the original floor(and the ceiling to the temporary Shrine Roombelow) had to be taken out because it slopedfrom the level of the entrance way down to thelevel of exits by the Main Shrine, and the floorhad to be level in keeping with tradition.Monastery’s Shrine Room (site of the community’smeditation and ritual practices) are offeredon the third Sunday of every month at noon. Docentsexplain the room’s rich symbolism, sacredart, and some of the Monastery’s meditationpractices. Dates may change due to the Monastery’suse of the lunar calendar. Tours can alsobe scheduled by appointment.To find out about upcoming orientations andtours, call (206) 789-2573 weekday mornings orcheck the Sakya Monastery website atwww.sakya.org.DONATIONSIn Tibetan tradition, any donations given for theactivities and ongoing maintenance of a monasteryare believed to bring great benefit to the donor,both in present and future lives.Many thanks to all of our members, friends, andvolunteers for preserving our holy and sacredspace for future generations.ORIENTATIONS AND TOURSOrientation for prospective members is offeredPage 16 Guide to Main Shrine Room8


Becoming a BuddhistREFUGE THROUGH RITUALOne aspect of becoming a Buddhist is to participate in theformal ritual of a refuge ceremony. A qualified teacher such asa lama, monk or nun leads the ritual, which engages the body,speech, and mind of the student in the possibility ofenlightenment. Taking refuge is considered the first steptoward enlightenment, when you first begin to act on thepossibility for yourself.WHY TAKE REFUGE?There are a variety of validreasons for becoming aBuddhist (traditionallyreferred to as “takingrefuge”). The reasons can bereduced to three motivations:The first is fear of beingtrapped in samsara (theendless round of births anddeaths) as well as the fear ofignorance, desire andaversion.The second reason is faith orsupreme confidence in theThree Jewels: the Buddha,the Dharma and the Sangha.The third motivation iscompassion, benevolence,and the desire to alleviate allbeings’ suffering.THE THREE JEWELSIn the refuge ceremony one affirms a commitment to andreliance upon the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, theDharma and the Sangha. These are called the Three Jewelsbecause they are considered spiritual treasures of great worth.Buddha refers to any fully enlightened being, more specificallyto the figure of Gautama Buddha, historical discoverer andexemplifier of complete awakening. The Dharma meansteachings, truth, practice and realization. The Sangha is thecommunity of Buddhist practitioners who have already takenRefuge. They support each other on the path to spiritualawakening. Through embracing these three spiritualtreasures, one is purified, uplifted, and strengthened.THE REFUGE CEREMONYDuring the refuge ceremony the student is positioned in frontof a shrine that contains symbols of the Three Jewels:paintings and statues showing the Buddha, books of scripturethat represent the Dharma, and members of the communitythat represent the Sangha. In committing oneself to the ThreeJewels, one repeats three times, “I go for refuge to theBuddha, I go for refuge to the Dharma, I go for refuge to theSangha.”As part of the ceremony, a lock of one’s hair is cut off inreference to the Buddha, who shaved his head as a part of hisrenunciation of worldly life. You will also receive a spiritualDharma name, which refers to a quality or deity of importancein Buddhist practice. At the conclusion of the refugeceremony the student performs three prostrations,symbolizing devotion to the Buddha, the Dharma and theSangha.REFUGE THROUGH INITIATIONSIt is also possible to take refuge during an initiation. In thatcase, there is no formal refuge ceremony. People who takerefuge that way can on another occasion participate in aformal refuge ceremony and receive their Dharma name.Page 17Becoming a Buddhist9


THE SIGNIFICANCE OF REFUGEThere is a class offered through SakyaMonastery’s Spiritual Education Curriculumcalled “The Significance of Refuge.” The classincludes both a presentation about the Refugeceremony as well as time for discussion aboutthe ceremony. Please check the website or callthe Monastery office weekdays 8:00 am to noonto check on the dates and times of the class.LIFE WITH REFUGEIn the week following the refuge ceremony, thereis a class offered entitled “Life With Refuge.”This class offers the opportunity to discuss yournew spiritual path. The purpose of this class is tolearn about ways that Sakya Monastery can helpyou integrate Buddhism into your daily life, tomeet other Dharma brothers and sisters, and toask any questions you may have. Please checkthe website or call the Monastery officeweekdays 8:00 am to noon to check on the datesand times of the class.THE ROLE OF WISDOMAnother aspect of being a Buddhist is attainingan understanding of the true nature of reality.This wisdom is reflected in the fundamentalBuddhist precepts, called the Four Seals:• All products are impermanent• All contaminated objects bring suffering• All phenomena are selfless• Nirvana is peaceThe profound realization of these four conditionsof existence removes delusion, opens one todetachment and renunciation, and ultimatelymakes possible the experience of Nirvana, therelease from limitation of existence.BUDDHIST LIVINGBy taking refuge in the Three Jewels, threeactions are prescribed and their correspondingopposites are proscribed:offerings. But one does not take refuge inworldly deities.• Second, one has respect for the Dharma,the path to enlightenment, through notplacing religious books or other objectsdirectly on the floor, walking on or overbooks or other Dharma objects. It is alsoimportant to have compassion for all livingbeings, including those who have madeyour food possible.• Third, one has respect for the Sangha, thecommunity of followers of the Buddha’sDharma, through honoring andappreciating lamas, monks, and nuns, aswell as not speaking badly of them. Oneshould also avoid evildoers.ADVICE FROM THE LAMAOnce you have taken refuge, H.H. JigdalDagchen Sakya recommends you cultivate siximportant attitudes and behaviors:• First, even when death approaches, donot give up refuge in the Three Jewels.• Second, always remember the ThreeJewels and especially their blessingswhen things go well. When your pastactions bring you obstacles, rememberthe law of karma and don’t becomediscouraged or disillusioned with theThree Jewels.• Third, keep in mind benevolence,compassion, and the mind ofenlightenment (bodhicitta).• Fourth, help one another and share.• Fifth, try to help others who you see aresuffering.• Finally, practice wholesome activities andshed the unwholesome.• First, one has respect for the Buddha, theteacher of the path to enlightenment,through being reverential and makingPage 18Becoming a Buddhist10


Meditation Practices at Sakya MonasteryCHENREZIChenrezi (Sanskrit: Avolokiteshvara) is the main spiritual practice of Sakya Monastery. Chenrezi, theGreatly Compassionate One, is a tenth stage Bodhisattva who has vowed to help liberate all sentientbeings from the sufferings of all six realms and to generate the causes for happiness.Think of Chenrezi as an archetypal spiritual deity that is the expression of love, kindness andcompassion. By meditating on Chenrezi, you receive his blessings. In doing so, you take on thequalities of love, kindness and compassion for the benefit of all beings. His Holiness the Dalai Lamais seen as an emanation of Chenrezi.Please relax and make yourself comfortable. Although our surroundings seem formal, we are veryfriendly and approachable. Each of us understands what it feels like to visit the Monastery for the firsttime.In keeping with the practices of the spiritual masters of Asia, we recommend that you maintain astraight yet relaxed spine whether sitting in the lotus position, cross-legged, in a chair or kneeling. Ifyou are uncomfortable on the floor, there are chairs or benches in the back.Page 19Meditation Practices at Sakya Monastery11


CHENREZI: AN OCEAN OF COMPASSIONNext, open the red Dharma book, An Ocean ofCompassion, to page 2. Follow the lama andthe omze as before.LONG VERSION:Begin on page 2 reciting the ‘Homage to theGurus’ three times in English. With nointerruption, we proceed to recite the‘Supplication’ in Tibetan from page 3 to page14. From page 14 to page 20, we recite inEnglish. On page 21, we recite the ‘PurificationThrough Emptiness’ in Sanskrit. Then wecontinue with ‘Creation of The Deity’ in Englishto page 25.SUNDAY PRACTICEA PRAISE OF THE TWELVE EXEMPLARYDEEDS OF LORD BUDDHA ANDTHE HEART SUTRAWe begin in the yellow Dharma book, A Praise ofthe Twelve Exemplary Deeds of Lord Buddha/The Heart Sutra, on page 1. Chant alongfollowing the transliteration of the Tibetanprayers until page 14. Return to page 1 andrecite in English until page 14.Usually, at this stage of the meditation, the HeadLama gives his oral commentary. Then,following the lama’s lead, we recite two mantrasto Lord Buddha on pages 15 and 16.The purpose of these prayers is so that one mayreceive blessings from Lord Buddha to gain abetter understanding of the meaning of he HeartSutra.Next we recite the Heart Sutra. The long versionstarts on page 17. The short version is on thelaminated handout sheet. Finally in the yellowDharma book, we conclude with a non-sectarianprayer in English on page 27.On page 26 the omze alone recites the‘Mahamudra’. Then the lama rings the bell, andwe engage in a short, silent meditation. Thelama ends the silent meditation with the bell.We do the short ‘Recitation of the Mantra’ inEnglish on page 27, followed by the ‘Blessing ofthe Mala’ (prayer beads) in Sanskrit on page 28.Next, we recite the ‘Significance of the Mantra’on pages 54-56 (or use the laminated handoutsheet). Then we go back to page 29 and recitethe mantra of Chenrezi many times: OM MANIPADME HUNG.After the recitation of the mantra of Chenrezi,we recite the ‘Dedication of Merit’ prayer onpages 30 and 31. When we are dedicatingmerit, we are thinking of all sentient beings.However, if you would like us to focus on aspecific loved one (including pets), you mayrequest a dedication of merit for that individual.The purpose of dedicating merit is to helprelieve the suffering of loved ones who are sickor who have passed away. Just before theprayers begin, anyone may choose to go up tothe front of the shrine to make a monetaryoffering with a katag (white offering scarf). Youcan announce the name(s) of individuals whomwe should keep in our minds as we dedicate themerit obtained from our practice. If possible,please bring a photograph of your loved one sothat we can visualize him/her as we arededicating merit. Then we recite three prayers inEnglish from pages 33 to 44 affirming ourwishes for the flourishing and preservation ofPage 20 Meditation Practices at Sakya Monastery12


the Dharma, the Sakya lineage, and theliberation of all beings.SHORT VERSION:Begin on page 2 reciting the ‘Homage to theGurus’ three times in English. Then go to page14 and recite in English. The short versionfollows the long version from page 14 to page 31(see above).CONCLUSIONAt the conclusion of our practice, long or shortversion, we recite on the other laminatedhandout sheet:Sa-kya-pa khyen-no (3x)H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Long LifePrayer (3x)Concluding prayer (1x)On special occasions, we may have otherprayers to recite like The Aspiration ofSamantabhadra. Announcements will be madeat this point.When the lama leaves the Shrine Room, thepractitioners will stand quietly and respectfullyuntil he has departed the room.THURSDAY PRACTICECHENREZI:FILLING SPACE TO BENEFIT BEINGSOpen your book Filling Space to Benefit Beingsto page 2.Follow the lead of the lama and the omzethrough the book.Turn to page 48 to recite the ‘Significance of theMantra’ (or use the laminated handout) and thenturn to page 25 for the ‘Recitation of the Mantra.’After the reciting the mantra of Chenrezi, werecite the ‘Dedication of Merit’ prayer beginningon page 28. At this time you may request adedication of merit for your loved one(s) — seeSunday practice on previous page for details.At the conclusion of our practice, recite:Sa-kya-pa khyen-no (3x)H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Long LifePrayer (3x)Concluding prayer (1x)TIPS FOR NEWCOMERSWhen a lama (i.e., H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya,H.E. Dagmo Kusho, Tulku Yeshi Gyatso,Khenpo Jampa Tenphel) enters or leaves theShrine room, please stand with your hands inthe prayer position at your heart, and bowforward slightly. When they enter and havebeen seated, some people will do threeprostrations. Join us in prostrations if you feelcomfortable.Be aware that sometimes we repeat prayersthree times, so if you turn the page and areconfused, this may be what has occurred.If you should lose your place in the Dharmabooks, please ask your neighbor to help you.Follow the lama or whomever is leading theTibetan chants and the omze (English chantleader) through the Dharma books.We do either a long or short version of themeditation, depending on the day’sschedule of activities.Please review the section on monasteryetiquette on page 14 of this brochure.FRIDAY PRACTICECALM ABIDING MEDIATIONCalm Abiding meditation, also called “Shee-nay”or “Shamata,” is a simple yet powerfulmeditation that helps to cultivate mindfulnessand allows one to rest in the presentmoment. Calm Abiding meditation classes areheld most Fridays (please check the websitecalendar). Short sits begin at 7:00 pm andinclude instructions for beginningstudents. Longer sits for advanced studentsbegin at 7:30 pm. There will be short breaksand time for questions and discussion.There is also a Calm Abiding Meditation classheld every three months on Sunday morningsthat teaches eleven different 60-second calmmeditation techniques.Page 21Meditation Practices at Sakya Monastery13


Special Tibetan Buddhist CeremoniesSpecial Tibetan Buddhist CeremoniesOVERVIEWIn keeping with traditional Tibetan Buddhist practice, Sakya Monastery offers a widevariety of blessings and ceremonies to the public. Many of these rituals are designedto address the experiences of daily life including ceremonies for weddings and thebirth of babies; the blessing of places or religious objects; the removal of obstaclesand aid for the sick; and support for those who have died and are awaiting rebirth.There are also special ceremonies for those who are interested in becoming aBuddhist, seeking Buddhist deity initiations, or going on Buddhist retreats. In additionthe Monastery offers astrological readings as well as divinations.For detailed information regarding the spiritual blessings and ceremonies and how torequest them, please see our website at http://www.sakya.org/pdf/Spiritual_Services.pdf.Page 22 Special Tibetan Buddhist Ceremonies14


Virupa Educational InstituteSAKYA MONASTERY’S SPIRITUAL EDUCATION CURRICULUMThe Virupa Educational Institute (VEI) serves as the education branch of Sakya Monastery ofTibetan Buddhism in Seattle, Washington. His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, the Head Lama ofSakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, founded the Virupa Ecumenical Institute in 1998; in 2003, itwas renamed the Virupa Educational Institute. VEI was named after Virupa, a great Indian Buddhistmaster who lived during the eight century.At VEI, people learn about Tibetan Buddhism, and the specific spiritual practices of SakyaMonastery. VEI offers a range of courses. Introductory teachings for those unfamiliar withBuddhism are offered every Sunday morning at 8:30. Classes for new and experiencedpractitioners are scheduled throughout the week. A wide range of topics are covered, includingritual technique, Buddhist theory, Tibetan culture and more. Teachers include His Holiness JigdalDachen Sakya, Her Eminence Dagmo Jamyang Kusho Sakya, the resident monks of SakyaMonastery (Ven. Tulku Yeshi Gyatso, Lama Migmar, and Ven. Khenpo Jhampa Tenphel), andexperienced lay people.We hope you will join us in learning the Dharma.The library at Sakya Monastery includes over 2,500 books Buddhism, Tibet and comparative religion.Page 23Virupa Educational Institute15


Children’s DharmaSchoolThe goal of the Children's Dharma School is tointroduce and explore age appropriate Buddhistconcepts and principles, using creative and variedmodalities.Different curricula have been devised for youngerand older children so that they are engaged andexcited about learning. Included are historicalaccounts of Shakyamuni Buddha, folktales, andlegends traditionally taught in Tibetan Buddhism, aswell as more intensive classes for the older childrenon such topics as the Four Noble Truths, the SixPerfections and other Buddhist principles. There areexercises to help children develop meditationtechniques as well as a variety of art activities and ahealthy snack offered during each class. Thechildren also go upstairs to participate in therecitation of the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra onSundays during the Chenrezi practice and receivespecial instruction when Rinpoche is doing aninitiation so that the children may receive theblessing.Guest speakers are invited to give the childrenlectures on special topics and there are occasionalfield trips, as well as opportunities to learn aboutother spiritual traditions.Parents may leave their child/children with theDharma School while they attend Sunday Chenrezimeditation, or join the children's classes asassistants or observers. Classes are free of chargebut donations are gratefully accepted and help fundthe work of the Dharma School. Please be sure tocheck the calendar before bringing your child toDharma School as our normal school activities aresometimes suspended for other special occasionsin the Cultural Hall.SCHOOL TOURSFree guided tours of theMonastery’s beautiful TibetanBuddhist Shrine Room areavailable to elementary andhigh-school students.Educational hand-outs areprovided to visiting groups.To schedule a tour, call theSakya Monastery office.PARTIES, CELEBRATIONSAND CULTURAL EVENTSDuring the course of the year,the Monastery holds anumber of parties andcelebrations, which areespecially fun for families.These events include: Losar(Tibetan New Year), a 4th ofJuly picnic, a celebration ofH.H. the Dalai Lama’sBirthday, a Labor Daycamping trip, a Halloweenparty and a Thanksgivingfeast.Page 24Children’s Dharma School16


Membership at SakyaMonasteryTHE COMMUNITY AND THE OPPORTUNITYSakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism is a spiritual community andcultural center led by renowned lamas from Tibet. It is dedicated tothe realization and practice of wisdom, loving-kindness andcompassion in order to nurture and bring happiness to all beings.Sakya Monastery has several resident monks, but the sangha(community) is largely composed of lay members. Sanghamembers actively embrace patience, kindness, generosity, andpeace in their lives.HOW TO COME AMEMBERLay membership is open toall. There is no statement offaith or creed whichmembers must make. Tojoin and become a memberof Sakya Monastery, go tothe membership page atwww.sakya.org/membership for moreinformation.As a lay member, you enjoy the rare and extraordinary privilege ofstudying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism directly under theguidance of lamas who were trained in traditional Tibet before theChinese occupation (1959). Dagchen Rinpoche, the founder andleader of the Monastery, is highly qualified to bestow Buddha’s mostimportant oral teachings and transmissions. He is the eldest nonsectarianTibetan Buddhist master living today.Sakya Monastery is a non-sectarian Buddhist community,supportive of all the various schools within Tibetan Buddhism. Itoffers opportunities for community meditations on compassion twicea week, observances of Buddhist holy days, monthly tantric rituals,and periodic initiations to advance one’s spiritual practice.THE FOUR FRIENDSThe Buddhist fable of the Four Friends—the alliance of an elephant,monkey, hare, and partridge who work together in order to reachfruit on a tree—is a delightful reminder of the synergistic nature ofcommunity. When harmony, cooperation, and collaboration arepresent, individuals benefit as well as the community.Providing financial support to the monastery makes you a member.You are instrumental in building a foundation for the well-being ofthe community. You can also contribute to the physical and spiritualenvironment by electing to volunteer your time and skills.SPECIAL BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP• Priority registration for special events• Borrowing privileges at the Sakya Monastery’s Library• Discounts for Dharma activities at Sakya Monastery• Discounts for Virupa Educational Institute programs• Discounts at the Tara Meditation Center• Voting privileges at our annual meeting• Knowing that you are helping to support one of the leadingTibetan Buddhist centers in the world.Page 25Membership at Sakya Monastery17


Tara MeditationCenterOVERVIEWNear Freeland, Washington, on the south end ofWhidbey Island, is a 72-acre nature reserve withforest wetlands, three ponds, and abundant wildlife:“Earth Sanctuary” (www.earthsanctuary.org).Through the generosity of benefactor Chuck Pettis,meditators may use the Tara Meditation Centerlocated at the southeast corner of the property forspiritual retreats.The Tara Meditation Center at Earth Sanctuary isdesigned to support reflection, meditation, personalrenewal, and spiritual growth. The house and thegrounds surrounding it have been blessed,consecrated, and energetically optimized accordingto Feng-Shui principles and practices.The Tara Meditation Center is available toindividuals wishing to make meditation retreats ofone day or more. The Tara Meditation Center canalso accommodate one-day group mediationretreats for 25 people or less.Meditators from all Buddhist sects and denominations are welcome, as well as those of other faiths, such asChristianity and Hinduism.You may practice whatever form of meditation you are comfortable with, and which supports your spiritualgrowth. All retreats must be approved by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya.TIBETAN BUDDHIST RETREATSThe Tara Meditation Center provides the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual community with a quiet setting that isfree of distractions and is conducive and supportive of special Tibetan Buddhist practices.Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreats at the Tara Meditation Center are made under the supervision of H.H.Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, Head Lama of Sakya Monastery in Seattle. He approves individual retreat plans andcan help guide meditators toward an illuminating experience.There are three levels of retreat practice for Tibetan Buddhists: beginning retreats (involving simple mindtrainingmeditations—such as the practice of listening intently to natural sounds), intermediate retreats(concentrating on practices such as repeating the vows of refuge, saying the one-hundred syllable mantra,and making mandala offerings), and advanced retreats (involving meditational practices dedicated to onedeity).AN INVITATION FROM DAGCHEN RINPOCHE:This retreat center is a sanctuary for all people. Come and rest your soul from the pressures ofyour samsaric existence. In this place of peace and in this moment of repose, let your tired spiritPage 26 Tara Meditation Center on Whidbey Island18


come in contact with the soothingrealization of the nature of your own self.In Tibet, hermits spent months and yearsin solitude high in the mountains. Today,we have this opportunity to go back tonature even in the midst of civilizationand yet feel so close to our very basicorigins. As sentient beings, we are allinterdependent and so to respect theenvironment in which we live is veryessential. May this retreat center serveas an example for the harmonious coexistencebetween nature andhumankind.Very reasonable rates have been established toencourage meditation practitioners to use the TaraMeditation Center. For fees, please see the TaraMeditation Center Rate Card or visit the SakyaMonastery web site (www.sakya.org).IN APPRECIATIONH.H. J.D. Sakya, H.E. Dagmo Kusho and membersof Sakya Monastery thank Chuck Pettis for hiscontinued support of the Tara Meditation Center.Due to his compassionate and meritorious activities,may this peaceful site endure eternally for thebenefit of all beings.It is my prayer and hope that people mayenjoy the pristine beauty of this place andtake back with them a higherunderstanding of their purpose in life.SETTING & FACILITIESThe proximity of the Tara Meditation Center to thewoods and ponds of Earth Sanctuary providesmeditators with a special opportunity to communewith nature, while focusing on spiritual practice.Retreatants are welcome to walk the peaceful andbeautiful trails around Earth Sanctuary’s threeponds and through its forest. Sacred spaces,consecrated by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya andH.E. Dagmo Kusho Sakya are excellent formeditation.The Tara Meditation Center house has acombination meditation/living room with twoBuddhist shrines, meditation pillows, a sofa, easychair, a wood burning stove, and a variety ofspiritual and meditation books. Ten meditationchairs are also available. The house has twobedrooms with single beds for overnight stays,and a bathroom. You are responsible forpreparing your own meals in the fully equippedkitchen*. The grounds are carefully landscaped.Tara Meditation Centerc/o Sakya Monastery108 NW 83rd StreetSeattle, WA 98117-3042Phone: (206) 789-2573Fax: (206) 789-3994Email: monastery@sakya.orgWeb: www.sakya.orgTo facilitate your retreat, Earth Sanctuary’scaretaker, Celia Sullivan, will meet you and orientyou to the Tara Meditation Center and EarthSanctuary’s sacred spaces and trails.RESERVATIONS & RATESAll retreatants, including day visitors, must makereservations in advance. Contact the SakyaMonastery office for full details.Page 27 Tara Meditation Center on Whidbey Island19

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines