- This articles concerns the Sakya school of Tibetan
Buddhism. For information on the ancient Śākya tribe,
see Shakya. For the prehistoric turtle, see Sakya
ས་སྐྱ་, wylie: Sa skya
, "pale earth") school is one of
four major schools of Tibetan
, the others being the Nyingma
, and Gelug
. It is
one of the Red Hat sects
along with the
Nyingma and Kagyu.
Sakya ("pale earth") derives from the unique grey
landscape of Ponpori Hills in southern
Tibet near Shigatse, where
Monastery, the first
monastery of this tradition, and the seat of the Sakya School was
built by Khon Konchog Gyalpo
(1034-1102) in 1073.
The Sakya tradition developed during the second period of
translation of Buddhist scripture from Sanskrit
into Tibetan in the late 11th century.
founded by Drogmi,
a famous scholar and translator who had studied at the Vikramashila
University directly under Naropa, Ratnakarashanti,
Vageshvarakirit and other great Indian panditas India for twelve
disciple on the advice of his elder brother .
The tradition was established by the "Five Venerable Supreme
Masters" starting with the grandson of Khonchog Gyalpo, Kunga Nyingpo
, who became known as Sachen, or
Buton Rinchen Drub
was an important scholar and writer and one of Tibet's most
celebrated historians. Other notable scholars of the Sakya
tradition are the so called "Six Ornaments of Tibet:"
The leadership of the Sakya School is passed down through a
hereditary system between the male members of the Sakya branch of
the Khon family.
the first of the five supreme masters, inherited a wealth of
tantric doctrines from numerous Tibetan translators or "lotsawas" who had visited India: most
Lotsawa, Bari Lotsawa and Mal Lotsawa.
From Drokmi comes the
supreme teaching of Sakya, the system of Lamdré
(lam 'bras) or "Path and its Fruit",
deriving from the mahasiddha Virupa
, based upon the Hevajra
Tantra. Mal Lotsawa introduced to Sakya the esoteric Vajrayogini
lineage known as "Naro Khachoma."
From Bari Lotsawa came innumerable tantric practices, foremost of
which was the cycle of practices known as the One Hundred
. Other key transmissions that form part of the Sakya
spiritual curriculum include the cycles of Vajrakilaya
The fourth Sakya patriarch, Sakya Pandita, was notable for his
exceptional scholarship and composed many important and influential
texts on sutra
and tantra, including,
Clarifying the Thought of the Sage
the Three Vows
The main Dharma system of the Sakya school is the Path with It's
Result [lam dang 'bras bu bcas], which is split into two main
lineages, Explanation for the Assembly (tshogs bshad) and the The
Explanation for Close Disciples (slobs bshad).
The other major Dharma system of the Sakya school is the Naropa
Khechari Explanation For Disciples (Naro mkha
spyod slob bshad).
In due course, two subsects emerged from the main Sakya
- Ngor, founded by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (b.1382) Represents 85%
of the Sakyapa school and most if not all the monasteries in India
are Ngorpa, apart from Sakya Trizin's monastery.
- Tshar, founded by Tsarchen Losal Gyamtso
(1496 - 1560)
Feudal lordship over Tibet
In 1264 the feudal reign over Tibet was given to Phagpa by the
Mongolian emperor, Kublai Khan
lamas continued to serve as viceroys of Tibet on behalf of the
Mongol emperors for nearly 75 years after Phagpa’s death (1280),
until the Emperor of Ming
Dynasty China subjugated the Mongols.
The leaders of
the Sakya regime were as follows.
- Phagpa 1253-1280
- Dharmapala Raksita 1280-1282, d. 1287
- Jamyang Rinchen Gyaltsen 1286-1303
- Zangpo Pal 1306-1323
- Khatsun Namka Lekpa Gyaltsen 1325-1341
- Jamyang Donyo Gyaltsen 1341-1344
- Lama Dampa Sonam Lotro Gyaltsen 1344-1347
- Lotro Gyaltsen 1347-1365
The head of the Sakya school, known as Sakya Trizin
("holder of the Sakya throne"), is
always drawn from the male line of the Khön family. The present
Sakya Trizin, Ngawang Kunga
Tegchen Palbar Samphel Wanggi Gyalpo
, born in Tsedong in 1945,
is the forty-first to hold that office. 41st Sakya Trizin is the
reincarnation of two great Tibetan masters: a Nyingmapa lama known
as Apong Terton (Orgyen Thrinley Lingpa), who is famous for his Red
Tara cycle, and his grandfather, the 39th Kyabgon Sakya Trizin
Dhagtshul Thrinley Rinchen (1871 - 1936). . Today, he resides in
Rajpur, India along with his wife, Dagmo Tashi Lhakyi, and two sons
Ratna Vajra Rinpoche and Gyana Vajra Rinpoche. Ratna Vajra Rinpoche
being the older son, is the lineage holder and is married to
Dagmo Kalden Dunkyi Sakya
and Gyana Vajra Rinpoche is married to Dagmo Sonam Palkyi.
Traditionally hereditary succession alternates between the two
Sakya palaces since Khon Könchok Gyelpo's (1034-1102) reign. The
Ducho sub-dynasty of Sakya survives split into two palaces, the
Dolma Phodrang and Phuntsok Phodrang. Sakya Trizin is head of the
Dolma Phodrang. H.H.
Jigdal Dagchen Sakya
1929) is the head of the Phuntsok Phodrang, and lives in Seattle,
Washington, where he co-founded Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism
with Dezhung Rinpoche III
constructed the first Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in the United
States. Dagchen Sakya's father was the previous Sakya Trizin,
Trichen Ngawang Thutop Wangchuk, throne holder of Sakya, and his
mother Dechen Drolma. Dagchen Sakya is married to Her Eminence
Dagmo Jamyang Kusho Sakya; they have five sons, and several
The Rimé movement
During the 19th century the great Sakya master and terton Jamyang
, the famous Kagyu
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro
and the important Nyingma
Orgyen Chokgyur Lingpa
, an ecumenical attempt
to incorporate all teachings of all schools, to overcome the
separation of Buddhist transmission in different traditions.
This movement still influences modern Tibetan Buddhist practice
through the "five great treasures" of Jamgon Kongtrul
and the treasure
of rediscovered teachings (Rinchen
- Luminous Lives, Stearns, Wisdom 2001
- , Ch. 25, Treasures of the Sakya Lineage, Tseten, Shambhala,
- Powers, John. Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Snow
Lion Publications. 1995. p. 382.
- Hungarian website of Sakya Trizin
- Davidson, Ronald (1992). "Preliminary Studies on Hevajra's
Abhisamaya and the Lam 'bras Tshogs bshad." In Davidson, Ronald C.
& Goodman, Steven D. Tibetan Buddhism: reason and
revelation. State University of New York Press: Albany, N.Y.
ISBN 0-7914-0786-1 pp. 107-132.
- Trichen, Chogyay. History of the Sakya Tradition,
Ganesha Press, 1993