Tibet Foundation

The UK Visit of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin and Family

Jun 4, 2000

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The UK Visit of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin and Family

Tibet Foundation was delighted and honoured at the acceptance of our request to His Holiness the Sakya Trizin and His family to visit the UK during a busy world tour in the Summer of 2000. This is the first time that His Holiness, His wife Dagmo Kushaband two sons, Their Eminencies Ratna Vajra Rinpoche and Gyana Vajra Rinpoche have visited the UK together. On arriving at Heathrow Airport on 31. May, His Holiness and family were welcomed by dignitaries and representatives of Dharma centres and Tibetan organisations in London. That evening the party visited the Tibetan Peace Garden in Southwark where His Holiness performed a blessing and met members of the public and the artists and sponsors who helped build the garden. These included Trudie Styler, patron of the Tibetan Peace Garden Appeal, and Hamish Horsley, the designer and sculptor. His Holiness was very impressed with what He saw, and described the sculptures and craftsmanship as excellent. While discussing the garden with those present, He spoke of the importance of peace and harmonious living, and the contribution which the garden might make in encouraging this. He personally thanked Trudie Styler for her work in making the Garden a reality. The next afternoon, the party travelled to Bournemouth at the request of Paul and Edith Drew Wills of the newly established Sakya Thuten Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre. This centre came about after the invitation of Lama Thubten Nyima (see below) to Bournemouth to give teachings. Interest grew rapidly, and before long the need for a permanent Dharma Centre in the area became apparent. His Holiness visited and blessed Sakya Thubten Ling, before giving a public teaching at Bournemouth International Centre to a full house of over 1000 people. On Friday morning the party visited Sakya Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Reading, where His Holiness granted an audience to the trustees Messrs Sanga Lama and Gasta Lama, and members of the centre. Sakya Ling was established in 1995, with Lama Thubten Nyim being send by His Holiness the Sakya Trizin to act as the resident teacher. Sagar Lama is a devout Buddhist who has long supported Tibet Foundation's activities. In the evening, His Eminence Ratna Vajra Rinpoche stayed in Reading to give a teaching at the RISC, while the rest of the party travelled to London for events to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the Tibet Foundation. These events began at Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury Way with a speech by Phuntsog Wangyal, director of Tibet Foundation, describing the development of Tibet Foundation and thanking the Foundation's supporters and volunteers old and new. His Excellency Migyur Dorjee then gave a speech on behalf of the Office of Tibet, stressing the importance of the Foundation's activities and thanking the Foundation for its work in promoting His Holiness the Dalai Lama's message of Peace and Harmony, raising awareness of Tibetan Culture and helping Tibetan People in exile and in Tibet. His Holiness then spoke of the plight of the Tibetan people in this generation and the work of his Holiness the Dalai Lama in establishing the Tibetan Community in Exile. He continued to by saying how pleased He was with the help Tibet Foundation has provided the exile community with the preservation of Tibetan Culture and particular Tibetan Buddhism. He talked of the need to balance the important technological developments of the last century with spiritual development, and the need to cultivate compassion and loving kindness to help solve problems and bring about a better world. He gave His blessing to all the Foundation's supporters, and concluded by wishing a long life for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Finally, Patrick Gaffney, trustee of the Tibet Foundation, thanked His Holiness for attending the commemoration. He confirmed the long relationship which the Tibet Foundation has enjoyed with the Sakya Trizin, and what an honour and inspiration it is to have the blessings of such high lamas. He concluded by saying a few words to thank Phuntsog Wangyal for his vision and efforts for the Tibetan People, and to thank all the many supporters who had come to the commemoration. After holding an audience for representatives of Sakya Thinley Rinchen Ling, Bristol, His Holiness then attended a reception held in His honour at the Tibet Foundation's Culture Centre. This was a wonderful chance fro the Foundation's supporters to meet His Holiness and family while they were shown around a small exhibition detailing our work over the past fifteen years. The weekend saw a two-day programme of teachings by His Holiness at the Rigpa Centre in London, starting on Saturday with an inspiring introduction to Buddhist practice. After more audiences, His Holiness and family took the opportunity to visit Covent Garden and Hyde Park for some sightseeing. On the final day of teachings, His Holiness gave the Je Nang Manjushri blessing. In a rare opportunity to receive this teaching and blessing in English, and from one of the greatest living authorities, hundreds of Buddhists from all over the UK made their way to London to pack the RIGPA shrineroom; even the centre's foyer was full. Early on Monday 5. July, the party left for New York and then Canada for six weeks of teachings and initiations. The whole family enjoyed the visit to the UK, and all at the Tibet Foundation wish them every success for the rest of the tour, and look forward to the next time that they can come to Europe. The profits from the teachings in London were split with £5000 going to the new Sakya Hospital in Rajpur, India, and £1330 to support Gyalten School in Kandze Prefecture, Tibet. If you would like more information about the Buddhist Centres in Bournemouth or Reading, their contact details are as follows: