August 11, 2010

Exclusive interview: President Richard Reoch re birth of Sakyong, Sakyong Wangmo baby princess!

Waylon Lewis: interview with Shambhala President Richard Reoch re: Sakyong & Sakyong Wangmo’s baby princess.

Click here for first photo of the baby.

Regarding the birth today of…

Drukmo Yeshe Sarasvati Ziji Mukpo

Lady Dragon Wisdom

Click here for the announcement & some photos (photos to come).

Waylon Lewis interviews Richard Reoch, President of Shambhala.


President Richard Reoch: Hey Waylon, it’s a princess!

Waylon Lewis, elephantjournal.com editor-in-chief: Were you there? How did it go?

I was on media duty in the Sakyong’s Tenno Room in the Halifax Shambhala Centre, waiting for the phone call from the family physician, Dr. Mitchell Levy. He called me with the good news just after 10:30 am local time.

It was a good birth, and there was tremendous and joyous energy coming down the phone as I got the news.

How is the Sakyong Wangmo? The Sakyong? The baby?

Everyone seems really elated: both she and our new princess are doing really well.

I spoke briefly to the Sakyong. He is one happy father, I can tell you! He spoke so lovingly of their new daughter: her strong energy and her beauty. He said it was important for everyone to see her full name because this is so auspicious.

From the joy in the Sakyong’s voice and the reports from Dr. Levy who was there with them in the hospital, it’s clear that this delightful child is well and has been born in the most fortunate of all possible circumstances—even down to the fact that she was born on the fortunate date of the 1st day of the Tibetan new moon.

The hospital has been superb throughout, and we have wonderful people on the Sakyong Wangmo’s birth team.

Tibetan tradition loves to note auspicious signs at the time of the birth of special babies (and aren’t all babies special). Were there any auspicious signs that Dr. Levy or anyone else noted?

We just got a wonderful message from Gampo Abbey. They wrote to the Sakyong to say that this morning at around 6:00 am when the monastics were entering the shrine room they saw an exceptional vertical rainbow rising from the sea, beautifully pink with rosy reds and turquoise blues. There were pink clouds gathering around the sacred site, Gampo Lhatse, on the Abbey lands.

How do we refer to the baby, other than by her lovely full name?

I don’t know the short version in Tibetan, but most people here simply seem to be mumbling something that sounds very much like “This is so wonderful.”

What’s the meaning or lineage history behind her full name? Is it from the families of the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo?

This is a marvelous name that weaves together so much of our heritage.

“Drukmo”  can be translated as “Lady Dragon”. It was the name of the fabled queen of King Gesar, the ancestor of the royal lineage of Shambhala. One of the striking aspects of the union of the Sakyong and Khandro Tseyang is significance of the warrior tradition of King Gesar to both the Shambhala and Ripa family lineages. And in these times, when we speak so frequently of the significance of the feminine principle, it is wonderful that this great mother warrior is being invoked.

“Yeshe” as we all know means “wisdom.” To my mind this invokes the buddhas and bodhisattvas [people who vow to help others] and the countless wisdom beings of the three times.

“Sarasvati” can be translated as “Goddess of Melody.” She is the embodiment of the melodious speech of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom. This evokes the luminous quality of both the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo. The Sakyong is revered as the rebirth of Mipham the Great who was enthroned in his lifetime as the living manifestion of Manjushri. It was when receiving the Manjushri empowerment from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche in Namdrolling in South India in 2005 that the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo first met. Khandro-la has brought the qualities of Sarasvati into our mandala — awakening song and dance, and emphasizing the importance of the arts, culture and decorum.

“Ziji” can be translated in so many ways. Perhaps “brilliance” could be used here. This goes right to the heart of the  Shambhala Buddhist teaching on the inherent quality of all human beings. I feel that’s an important aspect of the full name, because this brilliance is not simply a feature of our Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo, but what they emanate is what we all are and what our entire path is about.

“Mukpo” is, of course the clan or family name. This is the family name that will appear on her passport. I remember the Sakyong once saying that it had a meaning in colloguial Tibetan indicating “unchanging”, “enduring”, indestructible”. I feel this moment, which is so tender and so poignant, has that deep quality as well.

And she’s really healthy and all.

When Dr. Levy called me from the birthing unit, he was really clear that this was a healthy baby indeed, and you could feel that in the way the Sakyong spoke a few minutes later.

When does she get to go home to the Court [the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo’s home] for the first time?

I think it is likely that they will remain in the care of the birth unit today and return to the court tomorrow. I think we’ll know that either later today or tomorrow. In that case, here in Halifax there will be a big gathering to welcome them back to the court and all Shambhala Centers will be planning events that combine practice and celebration.

How do we contribute to her baby shower?

There’s an online link to a website where you can contribute to items that the couple needs and also give a gift. Please visit the site and sign the Mukpo Baby guest registry with your own message. Also, if you want to send a message to the royal couple, you can (address below).

E ma ho! All is wondrous!

The Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo
The Office of the Kalapa Court
1084 Tower Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2Y5

Bonus: Nathaniel Janowitz and yours truly, as seen at Atlas Purveyors in Boulder, Colorado.

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