Lama Jampa Thaye joined His Holiness Sakya Trichen and His Eminence Gyana Vajra Rinpoche in Antwerp for three days to take part in the first European Sakya Monlam to recite aspiration prayers for the benefit of all beings and the long life of His Holiness Sakya Trichen and other lamas.
Lamas, khenpos, monks and nuns travelled from Europe, Nepal, India, Tibet, Mongolia and elsewhere joined the event, which was attended by over 1,000 people from Tibetan and Western communities.
The festival began on Friday 9 August with recitation of prayers including the Noble Sutra for Remembering the Three Jewels, the Prayer of Samantabhadra, the King of Aspirations Prayer, which is recited many times and contains many beautiful expressions of aspirations to develop the qualities of enlightenment.
On Saturday 10 August, Lama Jampa Thaye offered a ‘Mandal Ten Sum’ for the long life of His Holiness Sakya Trichen, as part of a special practice of White Tara of the Wish-fulfilling Wheel. This offering was followed by a special ornate ‘Mandal Tenshug’ ritual offering made on behalf of all of the European centres and students of Sakya Trichen, for his long life and for the benefit of all beings.
In the afternoon of Sunday 11 August, His Holiness Sakya Trichen bestowed the long life initiation of Tangtong Gyalpo. As the preliminary to the initiation, His Holiness explained Tangtong Gyalpo’s tireless efforts in practice, in particular the benefit brought about through the great siddha’s construction of iron bridges, which made it possible for the people of Tibet to travel across turbulent rivers and for the Buddha’s teachings to spread.
The weekend was a fantastic opportunity for the Sakya community throughout Europe to meet each other and work and practise together. Volunteers worked diligently to prepare the venue, cook meals and prepare and serve tea offerings for the participants who donated generously towards the cost of this and future monlam events.
The event was organised by the European Sakya Monlam Foundation, with assistance from the Great Sakya Monlam Foundation in India, and many Sakya centres in Europe, and in particular the Sakya Tsechen Foundation in Belgium.
The European Sakya Monlam will take place in a different European city each year. The next European Sakya monlam will be held in Paris, France, in 2020.