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Sakya

Sakya

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This articles concerns the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. For information on the ancient Śākya tribe, see Shakya
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

.

The Sakya (Tibetan
Tibetan script
The Tibetan alphabet is an abugida of Indic origin used to write the Tibetan language as well as the Dzongkha language, Denzongkha, Ladakhi language and sometimes the Balti language. The printed form of the alphabet is called uchen script while the hand-written cursive form used in everyday...

: ས་སྐྱ་, wylie: Sa skya, "pale earth") school is one of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

, the others being the Nyingma
Nyingma
The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism . "Nyingma" literally means "ancient," and is often referred to as Nga'gyur or the "old school" because it is founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Tibetan, in the eighth century...

, Kagyu
Kagyu
The Kagyu, Kagyupa, or Kagyud school, also known as the "Oral Lineage" or Whispered Transmission school, is today regarded as one of six main schools of Himalayan or Tibetan Buddhism, the other five being the Nyingma, Sakya, Jonang, Bon and Gelug...

, and Gelug
Gelug
The Gelug or Gelug-pa , also known as the Yellow Hat sect, is a school of Buddhism founded by Je Tsongkhapa , a philosopher and Tibetan religious leader...

. It is one of the Red Hat sect
Red Hat Sect
In Tibetan Buddhism, the "Red Hat" sects or schools include the three oldest of the four main schools, to wit:*Nyingma*Sakya*KagyuSome others consider only the Nyingma school to be a "Red Hat" sect....

s along with the Nyingma and Kagyu.

Origins


The name Sakya ("pale earth") derives from the unique grey landscape of Ponpori Hills
Ponpori Hills
The Ponpori hills are a range of hills with grey soil, southwest of Shigatse, in South Western Tibet. The Drum River runs through them.They are best known as the location of the central monastery of the Sakya, one the four great traditions of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism...

 in southern Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 near Shigatse
Shigatse
Shigatse is a county-level city and the second largest city in Tibet Autonomous Region , People's Republic of China, with a population of 92000, about southwest of Lhasa and northwest of Gyantse...

, where Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery, also known as dPal Sa skya or Pel Sakya is a Buddhist monastery situated 25 km southeast of a bridge which is about 127 km west of Shigatse on the road to Tingri in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.The seat of the Sakya or Sakyapa school of Tibetan Buddhism, it was founded in...

, 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
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 into Tibetan in the late 11th century. It was founded by Drogmi, a famous scholar and translator who had studied at the Vikramashila University directly under Naropa, Ratnakarashanti, Vagishvakirti and other great panditas from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 for twelve years.

Konchog Gyalpo became Drogmi's 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 "Great Sakyapa":
  • Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
    Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
    Sachen Kunga Nyingpo was a Tibetan spiritual leader and the first of the Five Venerable Supreme Sakya Masters of Tibet. Sachen Kunga Nyinpo was the 3rd Sakya Trizin and son of Khon Konchok Gyalpo who was the first Sakya Trizin and founder of the first Sakya Monastery in Tibet in 1073.Sachen...

     (1092–1158)
  • Sonam Tsemo
    Sonam Tsemo
    Sonam Tsemo , an important Tibetan sprititual leader and Buddhist scholar, was the second of the so-called Five Venerable Supreme Sakya Masters of Tibet, the founding fathers of the Sakya-tradition.- Life :...

     (1142–1182)
  • Drakpa Gyaltsen
    Drakpa Gyaltsen
    Drakya Gyaltsen was a Tibetan spiritual leader and the third of the Five Venerable Supreme Sakya Masters of Tibet. He was also the guru of the famous Sakya Pandita....

     (1147–1216)
  • Sakya Pandita (1182–1251)
  • Chogyal Pakpa (1235–1280)


Buton Rinchen Drub (1290–1364) 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:"
  • Yaktuk Sangyey Pal
  • Rongton Sheja Kunrig (1367–1449)
  • Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo
  • Zongpa Kunga Namgyel
  • Gorampa Sonam Senge
    Gorampa
    Gorampa Sonam Senge was an important philosopher in the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was the author of a vast collection of commentaries on sutra and tantra whose work was influential throughout Tibetan Buddhism. He instituted the formal study of logic in the Sakya tradition and...

     (1429–1489)
  • Shakya Chogden (1428–1507)


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.

Teachings



Sachen, the first of the five supreme masters, inherited a wealth of tantric
Tantra
Tantra , anglicised tantricism or tantrism or tantram, is the name scholars give to an inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, expressed in scriptures ....

 doctrines from numerous Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

an translators or "lotsawa
Lotsawa
Lotsawa is a Tibetan word used as a title to refer to the native Tibetan translators, such as Vairotsana, Rinchen Zangpo, Marpa and others, who worked alongside Indian scholars or panditas to translate the texts of the buddhist canon into Tibetan from Sanskrit, Chinese and other Asian languages...

s" who had visited India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

: most importantly Drokmi 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
Mahasiddha
Mahasiddha is a term for one who cultivates those teachings that lead to becoming perfect. They are a type of eccentric yogini/yogi in both Sanatan Dharma and Vajrayana Dharma, given by Siddhartha. Mahasiddhi are those practitioners, or tantrikas who have gained sufficient understanding and are so...

 Virupa, based upon the Hevajra
Hevajra
Hevajra is one of the main yidams in Tantric, or Vajrayana Buddhism. Hevajra's consort is Nairātmyā .-India:...

 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 Sadhanas. Other key transmissions that form part of the Sakya spiritual curriculum include the cycles of Vajrakilaya, Mahakala
Mahakala
Mahākāla is a Dharmapala in Vajrayana Buddhism, and a deity in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, particularly in the Vajrayana school. He is known as Daheitian in Chinese and Daikokuten in Japanese...

 and Guhyasamaja.

The fourth Sakya patriarch, Sakya Pandita, was notable for his exceptional scholarship and composed many important and influential texts on sutra
Sutra
Sūtra is an aphorism or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Literally it means a thread or line that holds things together and is derived from the verbal root siv-, meaning to sew , as does the medical term...

 and tantra, including, Clarifying the Thought of the Sage and Discriminating the Three Vows.

The main Dharma system of the Sakya school is the Path with Its Result [lam dang 'bras bu bcas], which is split into two main lineages, Explanation for the Assembly (tshogs bshad) and the Explanation for Close Disciples (slobs bshad).

The other major Dharma system of the Sakya school is the Naropa
Naropa
thumb|right|NaropaNāropā was an Indian Buddhist yogi, mystic and monk. He was the disciple of Tilopa and brother, or some sources say partner and pupil, of Niguma. Naropa was the main teacher of Marpa, the founder of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism...

 Khechari Explanation For Disciples (Naro mkha spyod slob bshad).

Subschools


In due course, two subsects emerged from the main Sakya lineage,
  • Ngor, founded in Tsang by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382–1457). The Ngor school is centered around Ngor Evam Choden monastery. It 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 or 1502–1556).


There were three "mother" monasteries of the Sakya school: Sakya Monastery, founded in 1073, Ngor Evam Choden, founded in 1429, and Phanyul Nalendra in Phanyul, north of Lhasa, founded in 1435 by Kuntchen Rongten. Nalendra became the home of the
'whispered-lineage' of the Tsar school.

Feudal lordship over Tibet



The Mongols invaded Tibet after the foundation of their empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 in the early 13th century. In 1264 the feudal reign over Tibet was given to Phagpa by the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

. Sakya lamas continued to serve as viceroys of Tibet on behalf of Yuan emperors for nearly 75 years after Phagpa’s death (1280), until the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 was greatly weakened by the Red Turban Rebellion
Red Turban Rebellion
The Red Turban Rebellion was an uprising much influenced by the White Lotus Society members that targeted the ruling Yuan Dynasty.- Causes :...

 in the 1350s, a decade before the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 founded by native Chinese overthrew Mongol rule in China. The leaders of the Sakya regime were as follows.
  • Phagpa
    Drogön Chögyal Phagpa
    Zhogön Qögyä Pagba, Zhogoin Qoigyai Phagspa or Drogön Chögyal Phagpa , born Lochö Gyäcän or Lochoi Gyaicain , was the fifth leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. He became the first vice-king of Tibet and played an important political role...

     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

Sakya today


The head of the Sakya school, known as Sakya Trizin
Sakya Trizin
Sakya Trizin or Sa'gya Gongma Rinboqê is the traditional title of the head of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism.The Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism was founded in 1073, when Khon Konchog Gyalpo , a member of Tibet’s noble Khön family, established a monastery in the region of Sakya, Tibet,...

 ("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 Sakya.

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
H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya
Jigchai Dagqên Sa'gya Rinboqê is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher educated in the Sakya sect. He was educated to be the head of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the successor to the throne of Sakya, the third most important political position in Tibet in early times...

 (b. 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
Dezhung Rinpoche
Dezhung Rinpoche, born Ngawang Zangpo, was a Tibetan lama of the Sakya school, one of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism . In 1960 he came to the Seattle, Washington in the United States of America, one of the first Tibetan Lamas to settle and teach in the United States.-External links:*...

, and 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 grandchildren.

Members of Sakya Colleges are called Zhoima Pochang .

The Rimé movement


During the 19th century the great Sakya master and terton
Tertön
A tertön is a discoverer of ancient texts or "terma". Many tertöns are considered incarnations of the 25 main disciples of Padmasambhava. A vast system of transmission lineages developed...

 Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo , also known as Pema Ösal Do-ngak Lingpa, was a renowned teacher, scholar and tertön of 19th century Tibet. He was a leading figure in the nonsectarian Rime movement.-Biography:...

, the famous Kagyu
Kagyu
The Kagyu, Kagyupa, or Kagyud school, also known as the "Oral Lineage" or Whispered Transmission school, is today regarded as one of six main schools of Himalayan or Tibetan Buddhism, the other five being the Nyingma, Sakya, Jonang, Bon and Gelug...

 master Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye and the important Nyingma
Nyingma
The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism . "Nyingma" literally means "ancient," and is often referred to as Nga'gyur or the "old school" because it is founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Tibetan, in the eighth century...

 terton Orgyen Chokgyur Lingpa founded the Rime movement
Rime movement
Rimé is a Tibetan word which means "no sides", "non-partisan" or "non-sectarian". In a religious context, the word ri-mé is usually used to refer to the "Eclectic Movement" between the Buddhist Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu traditions, along with the non-Buddhist Bön religion, wherein practitioners...

, an alleged 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 Terdzöd).

External links