Dagmo Kalden Dunkyi Sakya on Motherhood and Marriage: Embodying Love

Adapted from the original feature

Dagmo-la is comfortable in many identities of giving. One of the most intimate and important of these, of course, is that of a loving mother. “Being a mother has taught me many things, but the most important thing it has taught me is to not sweat the small stuff, and to be more relaxed when it comes to rules and goals that you as a parent have for your children. Many of us parents have so many hopes and aspirations for our children, and that is good, but when those hopes and aspirations cause stress and unhappiness, is it really worth it? I think it’s very important to balance a lot of these out and be willing to shift and change—for the benefit of everyone.”

Despite their mutual devotion and her happiness at being a complement to her husband, the marriage is admittedly not the usual kind due to Ratna Vajra Rinpoche’s unique identity. This means that Dagmo-la has had many years and opportunities to observe up close and personal what being a Buddhist leader means. “Being a wife of His Holiness has taught me the importance of acceptance, understanding, and compromise. Relationships are never about just one person, and should not be seen as some sort of barter system of power, profit, and loss,” she says. “My marriage is not an ordinary one so I do not want to say too much here. Rinpoche sometimes travels for more than half the year, and when he is at home he is sometimes so busy, I rarely see him then too. But I understand that he has an important role to fulfill, and that he has dedicated his life to the Dharma.”

Dagmo-la’s thoughts are deep and honest as she contemplates her relationship, which she has received much from and given much to: “From the moment I first knew him, I have found that his priorities and what he considers important and vital are not himself, but the greater good, the larger picture, and the longer run. In that aspect we are both very similar: I can honestly say that almost everything we do is guided and motivated by its benefit and impact on others. I think we have both been like this since childhood.

“Because we both believe firmly in this, it many times leads us to working quite hard for causes and reasons that would be beneficial to the larger community. That has in turn led me to accepting many aspects of this unique marriage and relationship that others might not accept so willingly.”

It would be fair to acknowledge that there is both great respect and considerable sacrifice accorded to a marriage of this gravity. Dagmo-la’s children must also inevitably carry themselves into roles that uphold the sacred dignity of the Sakya school.

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