Practising for Founder's Day
Lighting butter lamps to celebrate the winter holiday.
It's their winter holiday, and our children are learning to draw a mandala...
Winter is here!
New winter jackets for everyone! There was a snowfall on the mountains yesterday, and it's cold!!
H.H. The Gongma Trichen bestows Oral Transmissions
This evening, His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin bestowed four oral transmissions upon the staff and students of Sakya Academy.
Also present were Dungsey Siddharth Rinpoche, Jetsunma Tsejin Lhamo and their mother Dagmo Kushok Sonam-la.
A truly blessed occasion for all.
Social Studies Exhibition
This morning, our senior students put up an elaborate display depicting diverse geological features of our earth. The content of each exhibit was articulately explained by its creator to the students who gathered around to learn more about their habitat.
It was now the turn of our teachers to entertain our children.
And they certainly did!
As in the previous two years, they once again dazzled us with their hidden talents.
The caring relationship that exists between our teachers and our students was palpable as our young monks cheered their mentors on.
Cups were awarded by Jetsun Kushok, (Dagmo Kushok's father) and by Khenpo Dhagyab for the recently disputed Inter-House Football Competition, and a photograph of our very first students was presented to the school by Yumla (Dagmo Kushok's mother).
The celebration was followed by a visit to the FRI (Forest Research Institute), with a picnic seasoned with fun and froliks.
Tibetan Birthday of
His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin
This morning our monks performed the Amitayus Long-life puja in celebration of His Holiness Trizin Rinpoche's 45th Tibetan Birthday.
Dungsey Siddharth Vajra Rinpoche, Jetsunma and Dagmo Kushok lent their presence to the ceremony, with the added blessing of a visit by Her Eminence Gyalyum Chenmo.
Sports Day 2018
Today was Sakya Academy's 2nd Sports Day, and it was a splendid day for all who were there - participants and spectators alike.
All our children performed splendidly, and gave their all.
Dungsey Siddharth Rinpoche and Jetsunma Tsejin Lhamo also participated with great zest, as did their mother Dagmo Kushok.
The Green House won the day, but every single student well deserves an accolade of the highest order for a top-notch performance.
You can see the tug-of-war contest between Sakya Centre and Sakya Academy on the Videos page.
(Many thanks to Ngawang Jigmey for his wonderful photos).
Birthday of H.E. Luding Khenchen Rinpoche
In celebration of the 88th Tibetan Birthday of His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche, our monks participated in a Long-life ritual held at the Sakya Academy prayer hall in honour of this most precious of masters.
A well-deserved break after a gruelling 2 weeks of exams.
And a good time to keep our school clean and beautiful. A joyous and fruitful day for all.
Winding down with art
To celebrate the end of mid-year exams, our students had a special art session, with most promising displays of talent.
A few samples...
Our children are thrilled: most days over the past four months, they have needed to face the drenching monsoon weather as they made their way from their hostel to the classrooms. But now, with their new rain gear, they no longer need to dodge the hammering raindrops.
Prajnaparamita Sutra Recitation
Our monks devoted this morning to the One Hundred Thousand Recitations of the Prajnaparamita Sutra, followed by a Torma-Throwing ritual. This was dedicated to the clearing of obstacles for a kind donor. (See video).
Our children are sitting their half-year exams throughout this week and the next.
We wish them every success!
Our first crop of corn
Our children reap the fruit of their efforts.
It has been one of Gyana Vajra Rinpoche's objectives that the school become self-sufficient in the provision of their vegetables.
His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin
This morning, a Long-Life ceremony was held at Sakya Academy to celebrate the 74th Tibetan Birthday of His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin.
Khöndung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche is currently on his annual Vajrakilaya Tour, and so it was up to Dungsey Siddharth Vajra Rinpoche to perform his duties as a Khön lineage holder.
Today was our third Teachers' Day at the Academy.
This year, our children were on their own, with no help from the staff. The organisation and choreography were impeccably taken care of by our senior boys. They did an amazing job!
A particular highlight of the event featured a stunning performance of a Cham dance by our senior students. (Watch the video).
The remarkable relationship between our teachers and students, founded on love and mutual respect, painted the morning, as the children regaled their teachers with exuberant shows of their gratitude.
The event was graced with the presence of Khöndung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche, who expressed his deep joy and satisfaction at the enormous strides that our children have made over their short time at the Academy.
3rd Inter House Quiz Competition
Our four houses bravely faced a barrage of difficult questions during this hotly-contested quiz contest.
All participants rose admirably to the challenge but, in the end, the Yellow House team outdid their counterparts and came out the winners.
Congratulations to all on their excellent performance.
Our school celebrated with a morning function featuring songs, poems and a feisty dance display dedicated to the motherland. This was followed by a lively football match between staff and students. Although our staff team fought bravely, they were no match for our students, who won the day with a chastening 4-0 score.
This morning, Khöndung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche led our monks in the performance of the Mahakala Puja.
Our monks were ecstatic at the thought of performing this puja with their Guru for the first time.
Click here to see the video.
School resumes after a six-week holiday. Many of the children had gone home to their families.
The school seems happy to have them back!
Long-Life Ceremony for Khöndung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche
Today, a Long-Life ceremony was held at Sakya Academy by its staff and students in celebration of Khöndung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche's 40th Tibetan Birthday. They were joined in their homage to Rinpoche by representatives of Sakya Centre.
The ceremony auspiciously coincided with the completion of Rinpoche's long Hevajra retreat.
All rejoiced from the bottom of their hearts as they wished Rinpoche a long and fruitful life.
Maintaining our School
Following their early morning Sunday puja, the senior boys set out to clean the land adjoining the school's entrance driveway.
Others tend to the flower beds that they so lovingly planted.
In the meantime, our younger monks weed their beloved football field.
Two hours of their free weekend time, cheerfully offered by our students to beautify their school.
Buddhist Philosophy Class
This afternoon was the first of a series of daily classes in Buddhist Philosophy given to our senior students by Khenpo Dagyab from Sakya College.
It had been a long time since our students had been yearning for this kind of learning, and it was remarkable to see how fixedly their attention was pinned to Khenpo Dagyab's every word.
One of their special ambitions is to learn the art of Buddhist debate.
"Buddhism: What and Why?"
Our monks began their day with an early morning performance of the Sixteen-Arhat puja.
Following this, they attended an eye-opening talk by Gen Tenzin Choephak Ringpapontsang, a PhD in Buddhist Philosophy and a scholar in the history of the Sakya Tradition.
The talk broached the subject of religion, in particular Buddhism, and its relevance in our lives, placing an emphatic stress on tolerance towards other religions, beliefs and ideas.
The gathering took the form of an audio-visual presentation and held the students' interest captive for a full two hours.
This morning, our newly appointed prefects, captains and monitors took an oath to carry out their duties to the best of their ability.
2nd Founder's Day
In Celebration of Jetsunma's Birthday
Today was a big day for Sakya Academy. The school celebrated its 2nd Founder's Day, as well as the 7th Birthday of Jetsunma Ngawang Tsejin Lhamo Sakya.
On the occasion, special guests from Sakya College, Sakya Centre, Sakya Nunnery and Sakya Dolma Phodrang graced the school with their presence.
The children put up excellent performances, outstanding among which was the reenactment of the compassionate killing of the evil king Langdarma by the monk Lhalung Pelgyi Dorje.
Prizes were given to the best achievers in the recently sat final exams, with top grades ranging from the mid 80% to the mid 90%.
Inspiring speeches were made, in particular one in which Dagmo Kushok abundantly praised the children, while exhorting them to keep striving in pursuit of a brilliant future both for themselves and for the Glorious Sakyapa.
An especially touching moment was the contribution of Gen Dradul la putting into words the unique family bond that unites the children with Rinpoche and Dagmo Kushok, and according to which they look to Dagmo Kushok as their very mother.
The ceremony ended with the celebration of Jetsunma's birthday, with the traditional song performed by our younger monks in Tibetan, English, Korean, German and Chinese!
Finally, guests and staff were regaled with an elaborate lunch, elegantly served by our very own students.
Well done, everyone!!!
Keeping Our School Clean
This morning our children did a lot of hard work cleaning up our school. From garden maintenance to draining clogged drainpipes, to clearing up detritus on the boundary grounds.
Everyone gladly did their part.
Today, our children were treated to a well-deserved day off at the nearby Sahastradhara mountain water pools.
Lovely weather, laughter everywhere, and a few goosepimples - the pool water comes straight from a mountain waterfall, and it is invigorating, to say the least!
Tibetan Birthday of Jetsunma Tsejin Lhamo
The 7th Tibetan Birthday of Jetsunma Ngawang Tsejin Lhamo was celebrated this morning at the Sakya Nunnery.
And in the afternoon, a puja was held in her honour by our monks at Sakya Academy.
End of the Academic Year
Our monks have been sitting their final exams and, save for a few exceptions, they have all done very, very well.
They are now on a 2-week holiday, during which they have requested to learn to learn the Gharpa Sarpa Vajrakilaya cham as well as playing the gyaling. As an introduction to this challenging instrument, they are learning to play the flute.
They still need to prepare for their upcoming Scriptures exam, for which they are working very hard.
And our veggie garden is growing... and growing... and growing.
Tibetan Birthday of Khöndung Siddharth Vajra Rinpoche
This morning, Sakya Centre hosted the Three-Deity Long-Life Puja to celebrate the 4th Tibetan Birthday of Dungsey Siddharth Vajra Rinpoche.
And in the afternoon, our Sakya Academy monks adeptly performed the same Long-Life Puja in Rinpoche's honour.
New Year of the Earth Dog 2145
On the occasion of this New Tibetan Year, Khöndung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche and his family extend their warmest wishes of joy, happiness and prosperity to everyone near and far.
Happy Losar, and may all aspirations be fulfilled!
Celebrating Losar at the Academy
Everyone participated in welcoming the New Year with joy and auspiciousness. The children went to great lengths to decorate their hostel with balloons and thoughtful posters, while a puja was held in the prayer hall on Losar Day.
Conclusion of the Teacher Training Programme at Sakya Academy
Today marked the conclusion of two important programmes held at our school.
It was a great pleasure for us to welcome 5 trainees from the Sarah Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, who completed their two-week internship at our school. It was a boon for us to enjoy, and benefit from, their presence during this time.
Also, we were privileged to benefit from the visit of Gen. Mingchung la from the Upper TCV School in Dharamsala. Gen Mingchung la was kind enough to share his expertise with our teachers and trainees in a week-long workshop on the teaching of the Tibetan language in primary schools.
Certificates were distributed in a simple but significant ceremony, during which Dagmo Kushok Sonam Sakya shared Khöndung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche's and her own vision of the goals of Sakya Academy. Participants voiced their espousal of this vision, and their conviction that it is the way forward for the Sakya Tradition to grow and best benefit beings.
Over their winter holiday, our children also dedicated time and effort to planting a new vegetable garden, a flower garden, and 1000 shrubs to embellish the school driveway and buildings. Not only this, but they initiated a compost heap to nourish their gardens' soil and also to dispose sensibly of organic matter.
Their garden already provides the children with two days' worth of vegetables per week. They are looking to becoming self-sufficient for their veggies within the year. This saves their school a considerable amount of money, and the children are thrilled that they can make such an significant contribution.
First Tara Puja in the Prayer Hall
Today our monks celebrated the first of the Tara Pujas that are to be celebrated every Sunday in the Prayer Hall. They also practised the Mahavairocana Puja.
Our students recently had a 21-day winter break, and filled it to capacity with constructive activities. Outstanding among these was the learning to perform the Tara, Sixteen-Arhat, Mahavairocana and Mahakala Pujas. An extraordinary feat!
What's more, they requested Michael Sir, our dedicated volunteer from the USA to give them English fluency classes. After a long absence, Michael has brought joy to everyone at Sakya Academy by joining us again for 3 months.
Dagmo Kushok's Birthday
All the children gathered in the prayer hall for a surprise celebration of Dagmo Kushok's birthday, and regaled her with song and dance performances.