Adapted from the original feature
Dagmo-la is famous for her online life and for building a social media following. Yet how she leverages this large following to spread awareness of her activities is extraordinary. “I try to use social media as a means to connect with people and to raise awareness, being a conduit between the rinpoches and the rest of the world, to give thanks and shout-outs, support individuals and organizations, and generally nurture a sense of community.” She is the only senior Sakya family member to be a frequent social media user.
“It is a wonderful tool to not only connect with people, but also assist them and spread awareness about many issues,” Dagmo-la says. Like many others, she began on a much smaller scale, sharing photos of her children with their family and the Sakya sangha, especially as her daughter was the first child to be born after some time. Upon her close friend’s advice, it slowly became a way for her to share informal family moments, information beneficial to the community, and practical assistance to the community.
“Since then, I have never looked back! I would sometimes share informal, unscripted moments on my personal page, especially of my children and Their Holinesses the 41st and 42nd Sakya Trizins, with whom I live in the same household. These moments, not surprisingly, gave many people a sense of connection with them, seeing them in a different light and environment, and not on a formal throne or at a puja. Many of my friends who are non-Sakya (and also not very religious) have mentioned to me the respect they began to feel for our rinpoches after seeing these sweet, candid moments!”
Dagmo-la credits via social media for being able to personally speak with more people in her community, who would write with various personal questions and requests for assistance. “From asking for divination requests from His Holiness, to asking me which direction their shrine should face; from requesting the name of a newborn baby, to sharing their life issues and thoughts with me, social media has truly helped me to help many people in my limited capacity.”
Social media has revealed how many people connect with her at a deep and personal level: “So many wrote to actually thank me for giving them the opportunity to help others. I was slowly beginning to understand the power of social media and using it correctly for the benefit of others. I’m very grateful to all the friends and acquaintances I’ve made on social media, who have been so supportive of the projects I’ve shared with them and the assistance I have many times sought.”
Social media has also helped her to raise hundreds of thousands of rupees in funds for sick children, animal shelters, victims of fire, and medical workers during the pandemic over rapid and short bursts of time. “I began to share the Mahavairocana Puja days with the public as well, so that people from all over could send in the names of their loved ones who had passed on. This has never been done before, and I took it upon myself personally to collect and submit all the names I was sent. I received tens of thousands, every single time I did a name drive. I saw it as a wonderful opportunity for me to provide service and also peace of mind to all the family members. A wonderful thing!
“During COVID I also requested His Holiness to bestow a kah-go for the benefit of all because it was such a distressing and uncertain time, and I went live with the video, for which hundreds of thousands of people tuned in and felt comforted and strengthened. Such is the power of social media. Truly amazing!”
It is to COVID-19 that our conversation now turns, and we come full circle back to Sakya Hospital.