Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Semo Tseyang Ripa exchanged marriage vows in Halifax in June this year at an international event, the Festival of the Blossoming of the Sun. Semo Tseyang is the youngest daughter of His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche and Sangyum Chime Dolkar. The three-day festival marked the coming together of two historic families with a common ancestry dating back to reign in the 11th century of the Dharmaraja, or dharma king, Gesar of Ling. Both families emphasize the tradition of profound warriorship and setting out a path to enlightenment accessible to householders in both ancient and contemporary societies.
The Blossoming of the Sun took its name directly from the title that Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave to just such a wedding festival when, over 20 years ago, he envisaged the marriage of his eldest son. He described it taking place in the Canadian Maritimes, the centre of the Shambhala mandala. He foresaw the events taking place at the Citadel that dominates the Nova Scotian capital, Halifax. It was there, on 8 June that the festival opened with a huge lhasang.
The offering of juniper smoke opened with a traditional First Nations ritual, was attended by local dignitaries -- assisted by members of a highland regiment of the Canadian armed forces -- and took place under the Shambhala flag flying aloft over the citadel and the city spread below. Shambhalians from more than a dozen counties worldwide mingled with local citizens in a large circle to join in the lhasang chant the Sakyong composed for the occasion.
Before dawn that day, the father of the bride, His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, together with other lamas and Tibetan monastics, began a private "inner wedding" ritual that culminated later that morning in the Halifax Shambhala Centre with the formal expression of the family's support for her new role."
That evening and the following day hundreds of guests continued to arrive in Halifax. Events over the following two days were attended by more than 1,500 people and took place in a huge newly renovated hall on the Halifax waterfront.
On 9 June His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche offered a Gesar empowerment to the assembled practitioners. Karma Senge Rinpoche performed an enriching ceremony for the gathering of auspiciousness. Karma Senge Rinpoche is Trungpa Rinpoche's nephew and the compiler of his Tibetan writings and terma.
Many of the guests attended a packed concert and party that evening by artists and performers from the Shambhala community at the Dalhousie University Student Union, well known for hosting major Shambhala gatherings.
The public climax of the festival was the couple's formal exchange of vows and rings that took place on the afternoon of Saturday 10 June before a capacity gathering. Along His Eminence Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, Lady Diana Mukpo, and family members and guests, this event was attended by Her Excellency, Myra Freeman, the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia (the representative of the British Sovereign), representatives of the armed forces of Canada and a number of leading Buddhist figures.
The festival concluded with an reception for all, at which members of the Ripa family offered songs, the families offered gifts to the couple, and guests traded toasts, dancing to some of Nova Scotia’s best known musicians.
The City of Halifax and the Province of Nova Scotia marked the occasion with a formal declaration acknowledging the role played by Trungpa Rinpoche and the Shambhala community in its recent history. Local and Canadian media gave the events remarkable coverage, from front-page displays to live coverage on national television news, referring to the pageant as "Canada's royal wedding".
One hundred and eight photos from the Blossoming of the Sun, by Marvin Moore, may be seen at: http://www.marvinmoore.com/bosmmselects.
Additional photos, videos and audios of the Blossoming of the Sun may be found within the Chronicles at: http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_58.html