Cheerful Birthday, Jetsun Yudra!
article by Amanda Betzen
photos by Pablo Coddou
On March 14th, the Kalapa Court was bursting with community celebration, profound practice and playfulness as the Sakyong, Sakyong Wangmo, Jetsun Drukmo, family and friends celebrated the first birthday of Princess Jetsun Yudra Lhamo Yangchen Ziji Mukpo. “This is a joyful, momentous occasion,” said one guest. “With two princesses growing up, Shambhala’s future feels vibrant, energetic and expansive.”
It was a wonderfully rich day, which began with a long life abhisheka for Jetsun Yudra and included the creation of a calligraphy with a black Ashe and the words “Cheerful Birthday” for Jetsun Yudra by the Sakyong.Decorated festively with birthday balloons and streamers, the Kalapa Court hosted guests of all ages, from grandparents to babies, toddlers to teenagers. “Our Shambhala community feels so strong,” said one guest, who was holding her baby. “We really are a multi-generational sangha, and that’s wonderful.”
After enjoying traditional Tibetan momos and other food, the guests gathered to receive a blessing from the Sakyong and a “princess torma” from the morning’s long life puja. Then it was time to play. With a sense of whimsy and laughter, everyone joined in (or just enjoyed watching) balloon relays, freeze dance, and musical chairs. Even Lama Paygel and Lama Gyurme Dorje joined the fun, as they quickly crossed the room with a pink balloon balanced between them.After much lungta-filled activity, family and friends sang “Cheerful birthday” to Jetsun Yudra, who clapped along as her first birthday cake was presented. The Sakyong joyfully cut the cake and helped Jetsun Yudra blow out her first birthday candle.
Following the cake, Jetsun Drukmo offered a gift of a Curious George doll that she had chosen for Jetsun Yudra herself. Lady Konchok, Lama Paygel and Lama Gyurme Dorje presented Jetsun Yudra with a beautiful golden Tara statue, or rupa, while a member of the Ripa and Goldstein family offered a magnificent rupa of Gesar magnetizing, designed from a vision of His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche.Then – spontaneously and naturally – children played together, babies sat together in a circle and adults enjoyed each other’s company.
May the warmth and joy of this celebration radiate throughout the entire Shambhala mandala and beyond!
All photos of the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo and their family are the property of the Sakyong Lhadrang. If you would like to learn more, please visit: www.sakyongladrang.org