"Living in the Land of Snows"

A talk about Tibetan Culture by Lady Dagmo Kusho,
author of the Book "Princess in the Land of Snows"

Saturday March 29, 2003 at 7.00 P.M.

Book signing after the talk

Suggested donation $15.00 ($12.00 seniors/students/TCC members)

 Dagmola Speaking about Tibet

Lady Dagmola Kusho, known by her friends as Dagmola, was born in Eastern Tibet. Raised in a loving family of moderate affluence, her way of life and education were pervaded by the spirit of Buddhism. In a society in which most education was of a religious nature, available chiefly to monks, she had the unusual good fortune to receive a fine education from early age.

Dagmola's childhood came to a swift end. As a very young woman she went on pilgrimage from Kham, her homeland, to Sakya, the headquarters of one of the four major orders of Tibetan Buddhism. She was introduced to the politics of the Sakya ecclesistical hierarchy and she was eagerly courted by a young religious nobleman of the Phuntshog Palace who was being prepared to become the Head Lama of the Sakya Order, H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya. as a result of her marriage she accepted the heavy burden of entering the ranks of Tibetan nobility and of representing the tradition of this spiritual lineage.

While the young Dagmola accustomed herself to her new way of life, the freedom of the Tibetan people began to be eroded by the infiltration of Chinese Communists into Eastern Tibet. Before long, open hostilities between the communists and the Tibetans became more prevelent, and the Chinese responded with increased oppression and flagrant disrespect for the native culture. The carefree days of Dagmola's youth had now vanished.

Upon returning to Central Tibet, Dagmola witnessed the severe oppression, deceit, and manipulation the communists perpetrated upon her people. As violence erupted in Lhasa, where she and her family were visiting, they were forced to flee for their lives. Optimistic like many other Tibetans that they would return home once the hostilities had subsided, they fled south, but as the received reports of the growing violence in the Tibetan capitol, these hopes vanished. Enduring extreme hardship and fear in their flight from Tibet, her family frequently relied on prayer for their safetly and looked to divinations and omens to guide them to freedom. Even in such dire circumstances her family displayed a resilience and courage common among the Tibetan refugees. With an abiding faith in the Buddha, they opened themselves in trust to an unkown future which presented itself in an offer to Ven. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya to come to the United States to collaborate in research at the University of Washington.

During the years since their arrival in the United States, Dagmola and her husband have established a thriving Tibetan cultural center and monastery in Seattle, Washington. In the meantime, Dagmola had quietly devoted herself inwardly to her spiritual practice under the guidance of her revered uncle, the late H.E. Deshung Rinpoche. Outwardly she has selflessly devoted herself to bringing up her five sons and assisting her husband in his many religious activities.

H.E. Deshung Rinpoche had encouraged Dagmola to begin teaching Buddhism and grating empowerments. Thus, she is authorized to accept the role of Lama by one of the foremost Tibetan Buddhist masters of the Sakya Order.