The Sakya Lineage

The Sakya Lineage

A brief Introduction to the Sakya Lineage

The Sakya Tradition − one of the major Tibetan Buddhist traditions − was founded in 1073 by Khön Konchok Gyalpo, who established the first monastery as the seat of Sakya tradition, at a place called «Sakya» in the region of the Ponpo Ri mountain range. Subsequently, the five Founding Masters of Sakya initiated the common and uncommon teachings and caused the teachings of Sakya including the auxiliary sciences to flourish.

Since then, the lineage and its followers have been called «Sakyapa». The unbroken ssuccession of lineage holders bear the three supreme names of ‘mtshan mchhog gsum ldan’, known as the Celestial Race, the Khön Clan and Sakya−pa. Through them, the great teachings of the Sakya Tradition are preserved and continue to flourish to the present day. The current throne holder, His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, Ngawang Kunga Thegchen Palbar Trinley Samphel Wangi Gyalpo, saw with his vast vision that in the current degenerate time it would be beneficial to change the throne holder succession system, even though this diverges from the established Sakya tradition, creating a new era.

On 8th May, 2014, the new historical throne holder succession system was unanimously resolved by the Dolma Phodrang and Phuntsok Phodrang, with His Holiness the Sakya Trizin announcing the same on 11th December 2014 during the 23rd Great Sakya Mönlam for Universal Peace in Lumbini. The resolution detailed the tenure, assumption of throne holder position by seniority and the prerequisite qualifications to become the throne holder. The qualification includes the complete fulfillment of studies of all the basic rites and rituals of Sakya tradition, studies in all the major philosophies, receiving empowerments, reading transmissions, pith instructions, mastering the teachings of the ancestral Dharma teachings of Lamdre Tsogshey and Lamdre Lobshey along with other important teachings and empowerments, and having accomplished the basic recitation retreat on Hevajra and other important yidam deities.

In March 2017, His Holiness Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, Ngawang Kunga Lodro Wangchuk Rinchen Jigme Trinley, who is endowed with above mentioned qualifications, will officially ascend to the Sakya Throne to become the 42nd Sakya Trizin, the first throne holder under the new system.

His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin

His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, was born in Tibet in 1945 and is the head of the Sakya School, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He is a member of the ancient and eminent Khön family whose origins go back to the earliest history of Tibet. Very early, he was officially designated by the Tibetan government to succeed to the Sakya throne. In 1959, when he was fourteen, he was enthroned just before leaving Tibet. In 1974 and 1979, his two sons, Dungsay Ratna Vajra Rinpoche and Dungsay Gyana Vajra Rinpoche, were born.

With unfailing devotion, His Holiness gave himself to the task of re-uniting the Sangha, of re-establishing the principal seat of the Sakya School and developing a Tibetan community for the exiled lay practitioners of the Sakya School. He has founded many monasteries throughout the world and most particularly in India where the Sakya College is the chief Sakya monastery, together with a convent of nuns and schools. In spite of the difficulties of exile, His Holiness has worked untiringly and successfully for the preservation and restitution of the rich and profound heritage of the Sakya Tradition. To these great responsibilities should be added meditative retreats on major or minor deities of the Sakya Lineage and many initiations given (including the entire collection of Sadhanas three times). He is the author of many texts and has given the great Lam Dre teachings eleven times, in India, Europe and America.

His Holiness in not only a light on the way for his own Tibetan community, he is also actively engaged in the diffusion of the Dharma, constantly travelling throughout the world to give teachings. He is truly an unfailing source of wisdom and compassion for his fortunate disciples. Since 1978, His Holiness has stayed in Sakya Tsechen Ling eight times, giving precious teachings which have included the Lam Dre twice and eleven Vajrayogini yogas. On November 2006, we had the great opportunity to receive his profound and valuable teachings once again, just after his long retreat. We enjoyed also the welcoming His Highness Gyana Vajra Rinpoche, a high Lama of the Khön lineage and holder of very complete knowledge issued from his education in the Sakya College and deriving from his father, His Holiness Sakya Trizin.

See also His Holiness Sakya Trizin website

About His Holiness Ratna Vajra Rinpoche

His Holiness Khondung Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, the eldest son of His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, is considered one of the most highly qualified lineage masters of Tibetan Buddhism. Renowned for his erudition and the clarity of his teachings, Rinpoche belongs to the prestigious Sakya Khön family, whose successive generations have provided an unbroken lineage of outstanding masters.

Born on 19th November, 1974 in Dehradun, India, His Holiness was, from birth, the recipient of countless blessings, empowerments and teachings from His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin as well as many other learned and accomplished masters.

Rinpoche’s formal education began when he was six years old, under the tutorship of Venerable Rinchen Sangpo, with the study of Tibetan reading, writing, grammar, memorisation and recitation of basic prayers and rituals. In 1987, when His Holiness was twelve, he passed his first major examination at the Sakya Centre in Rajpur, Dehradun. Two years later, he completed his basic studies of the major rituals and scriptures of the tradition;

In 1990, Rinpoche joined the Sakya College where he studied mainly Buddhist philosophy under the late Khenpo Migmar Tsering. In 1998, after years of rigorous training, His Holiness completed his studies there and was awarded the Kachupa degree, « Master of ten scriptures ». In addition to his philosophical studies, His Holiness received many exoteric and esoteric teachings, empowerments, blessings, initiations, oral transmissions, explanations and pith instructions, mainly from His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, and also from many other important lineage masters, including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoch, and Khenchen Appey Rinpoche

Starting from the early age of twelve, His Holiness has completed numerous meditation retreats, including the rigorous and complete Hevajra retreat, one of the prerequisites for bestowing the Lamdre empowerments. Among all his precious teachers, His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin has always been, and continues to be, his main Root Guru and source of guidance and inspiration.

In 2002, after a long search for a suitable wife, Her Eminence Dagmo Kalden Dunkyi, was chosen, in the age-old Sakya tradition of holy divination, to be the spiritual consort of His Holiness. They have three children together, who are also being brought up in accordance with the ancient Buddhist traditions of scholarship.

With wisdom and compassion, His Holiness continues to regularly transmit numerous empowerments and teachings at renowned Buddhist institutes such as the Sakya Institute, the Dzongsar Institute, Sakya College, Tantric College, International Buddhist Academy, and countless other schools, centres, and monasteries all over the world.

In 2017, His Holiness will inherit the mantle of leadership from his esteemed father and Root Guru, in his new capacity as His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin of the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In doing so, he will continue to guide and inspire Dharma students from all over the world with his wisdom, genuine qualities of unaffected simplicity, humility and complete honesty, by presenting the Buddha’s teachings in the most authentic way, while maintaining the purest of Buddhist traditions.