Naropa University will be hosting the former head of one of the five schools of Tibetan Buddhism at a public event Saturday morning.
Sakya Trichen was the 41st supreme head of the Sakya lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and is considered to be the incarnation of the bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjushri, according to Clarke Warren, president of the nonprofit Ri-Mé Society dedicated to nonsectarian school of Buddhism and a retired Naropa professor.
Charles Lief, president of Naropa, said the university has a 45-year history of hosting important teachers from various spiritual traditions. More than 35 years ago, it even hosted the Dalai Lama.
“Sakya Trichen, as the 41st holder of an unbroken 946-year-old lineage of Sakya Buddhist teachers from Tibet, brings a genuine but perhaps unfamiliar history and wisdom to the West, and we are honored to offer support for the visit,” Lief said.
Warren said Sakya Trichen is important to the Tibetan community because of all the Tibetan history and culture he holds.
“For Tibetans, there’s a very high regard for the spiritual power and blessings of his lineage,” he said. “It’s not quite, but very close to having the Dalai Lama visit.”
The main sponsor of the visit is the Tibetan Association of Colorado.
The main event, to which Saturday morning’s event is a prelude, is at the Boulder Theater on Sunday. Sakya Trichen also will attend a party in Westminster Saturday night.
On Sunday, Warren said that Sakya Trichen will be giving the empowerment of the three bodhisattvas, which are enlightened Buddhist figures.
“Empowerment is both a bestowal of blessings and permission to do particular Buddhist practices,” he said.
While Buddhists in Boulder come from different schools, Warren said wisdom plays an important role in all of them, which is what makes the visit from Sakya Trichen important.
“His being the incarnation and the holder of the teachings of Manjushri is important for people because it has the potential to awaken that wisdom in each Buddhists’ particular practice,” Warren said. “So it’s a rare opportunity both to share and see Sakya Trichen, as well as take advantage of what he’s teaching and transmitting.”
Naropa is hosting Saturday morning’s event because part of its mission is to promote interfaith dialogue, Lief said, as well as offer opportunities for students and others to be exposed to different spiritual traditions.
“At a time of increasing political and cultural isolation by the U.S. government, Naropa is happy to share a bigger world view with residents of Boulder,” he said.
If you go
What: “Wisdom Empowerment of Manjushri” with Sakya Trichen
When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday
Where: Nalanda Events Center at Naropa University, 6287 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder
More info: Visit the events section of Naropa.edu to get to the Eventbrite link, where you can purchase tickets