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The story about Tharlam Monastery
- courtesy of Magic Mike

 Om Mani Padme Hung

Deshung Rinpoche, before he died, rebuilt the 500 year old monastery that the Chinese tore down in Tibet, at a new site in Kathmandhu, Nepal. The original Tharlam Monastery, was built in Eastern Tibet in 1436, and it was destroyed by the Chinese communists in 1959. Rebuilding this monastery was the dying request of his teacher, Legpa Rinpoche, a great Tibetan scholar who was self taught by visions of direct insight, during a fifteen year solitary retreat in a cave.

I met Dezhung Rinpoche in 1980 in Seattle, at the Sakya Monastery that he and Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche built. Dagchen Rinpoche's wife was Dezhung Rinpoche's neice. Dezhung Rinpoche had been building a center in Harlam and when he returned to Seattle I was asked to follow from the airport, with his bags in my car. In his living room, Dongtok Rinpoche, one of his disciples, told him that I did magic. He wanted to see some, and loved it. He said (in Tibetan only), "Tell him whenever I'm around, he should do magic." I received some teachings from him, then he left a few years later for Nepal. Of the original three hundred monks, Deshung Rinpoche gathered together the forty who managed to survive the dangerous journey out of Tibet. Through the donations of many and their hard work, they rebuilt Tharlam Monastery, near the Great Stupa at Boudhnath in Nepal. Shortly after Deshung Rinpoche died.

Here is a very good story of his life to read.   Deshung Rinpoche's niece had a nephew, who came to Seattle to paint the sacred paintings at the monastery. He married a woman here named Carolyn, and had a son, named Sonam. A year and a half later, Sonam's father was killed in a freak accident with a downtown bus. Then Deshung Rinpoche's reincarnation was recognized as Sonam. An amazing thing is that "The Little Buddha", about a Seattle boy found to be a reincarnated lama, was filmed in Seattle, in the Monastery Sonam lived in, before it was known about him. Sometimes I would offer to pick Sonam up from day care while his mom was working. I did magic tricks for him and made him balloon animals (just like Deshung Rinpoche asked me) and we would go to the lake and feed the ducks and birds. Now he runs the Tharlam Monastery in Nepal and he has 11 names, too long for me to remember!

He is 12 years old now, and he is expected to fulfill his former greatness and take charge of this monastery and its teachings. The cost of Sonam's education and living expenses is born by the monks of Tharlam Monastery. You can help, and receive merit, by sending donations. His mother, a friend of mine, who lives at the Sakya Monastery in Seattle, personally takes the donations on her visits to Nepal, as mail theft is a reality on the way to Kathmandhu (the cost of her last visit was a donation from Oprah Winfrey). In order for these monks and lamas of Tharlam to continue to study, practice, and teach their unique heritage, they depend on the support of patrons. You can participate in preserving the rich culture and spiritual wisdom of Tibet through your contributions to Sonam's (DeshungTulku-la’s) training, to his Monastery for capital improvements and projects, or to support a monk or nun for a year. All contributions will be acknowledged with prayers on your behalf from the monks at Tharlam Monastery, a receipt, and an annual update on Tulku-la’s progress. In addition, sponsors will receive photographs and letters from the monks and nuns they sponsor.
You can make donations to:
The Dezhung Tharlam Foundation.  (Where you can also read more about Dezhung Rinpoche.)
For more information: Please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Tharlam Monastery Foundation C/O Dennis Oliver Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism
108 N.W. 83rd Street Seattle, WA 98117 USA (206) 789-2573 Monastery@Sakya.org
If you send them something, please mention my name, Magic Mike. Let me know, so I can thank you.
To learn more about the meditations and teaching of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism in the Seattle area, please visit the Monastery. Many of the weekly compassion meditations are open to the public on Thursday nights at 8pm and Sunday mornings at 10am.

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