Sakya Kachod Choling continues to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of significant events in its history beginning with the blessing of its land by Jetsun Kushok in 1987. As instructed by Jetsun Kushok, a traditional one-month White Tara retreat was held in July 2017 to celebrate the blessing of the land. The merit generated by the event was dedicated to the perfect health and long life of His Holiness Sakya Gongma Trichen and to the benefit of all sentient beings. About forty-five students attended the initiation, and nineteen students received a week of teachings and entered into retreats lasting from one week to a month.
In the fall of 2017, two students finished the one-month Vajrapani retreat and, under the guidance of Lama Ngawang, performed the mandatory fire puja. Khenpo Pema Wangdak, a member of the Sakya Society Board of Directors, made his annual visits to Sakya Kachod Choling in October 2017 and November 2018 to give a public talk in the town of Friday Harbor, attended by 75 to 100 local citizens, and to perform his very popular one-week mind training retreat at Sakya Kachod Choling.
In 2018, ten students completed the three-month Vajrayogini retreat under the guidance of Jetsun Kushok and performed the three-day fire puja under the direction of Lama Ngawang. Khenpo Kunga Dhondup and Lama Lheksey performed the blessings and instructions and placed the students in retreat. Another three students completed one-month retreats with Jetsun Kushok’s permission, and numerous others attended the first week of Vajraogini blessings and instruction.
Sakya Society, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that operates the retreat center for Jetsun Kushok, also celebrated the 30th anniversary in 2018 by obtaining building permits for new retreat huts, receiving a grant from Sachen Foundation to build an Enlightenment Stupa on the grounds, and the completion of a forest conservation plan to preserve the health of the forest, wildlife, and other sentient beings on its 20 acres of largely undeveloped land. Implementing the forest plan, with the assistance of federal funding, should begin in 2019.
Another fortunate turn of events occurred in late 2018 when a generous donor purchased a 26-foot Growing Dome to be installed near the retreat garden. Site preparation has begun, and the dome will be shipped to Sakya Society for installation as soon as the site preparations are complete and a building permit is issued. The Growing Dome is an award-winning geodesic greenhouse dome. It is a solar greenhouse that requires little to no energy to grow healthy, organic produce year-round.
Sakya Kachod Choling began in 1987 with the good intentions and devotion of two of Jetsun Kushok’s students who wished to build a retreat house for her. Rinpoche advised them to find land on San Juan Island or Shaw Island. After looking at a number of places for sale and consulting every step of the way with Rinpoche, the students purchased 10 acres of undeveloped land on Mt. Dallas. It would soon increase to 20 acres when they later bought a neighboring tract. In April 1987, Rinpoche blessed the land in a ceremony memorialized in the photographs in the slideshow below.
1987 Blessing of the Land Ceremony