Sakya (Tibetan: sa skya, English: grey, whitish earth) - named after a patch of white earth in the shape of a lion's face on the side of Ponpori Mountain in South Western Tibet.


Khon Konchog Gyalpo (1034-1102) constructed the first temple-hermitage called the Gorum Zimchi Karpo in 1073 on the white patch of earth marking the beginning of the Sakya lineage. His main teachers were Drogmi Lotsawa, Go Khugpa Lhatse, Khache Pandita Hangdu Karpo, Ma Lotsawa Rinchen Chog, Dzinpa Lotsawa and Mal Lotsawa.


1073 AD.


Sakya Town, Sakya County, Tsang Province, Tibet, China.

Khon Family:

The hereditary line known as the 'Khon' (to quarrel) descended from the 'Heavenly Realms' approximately eight generations before the time of King Trisong Detsen. They were known as the 'Lharig' - Divine Race. At the time of Padamsambhava, Khon Lui Wangpo Srungwa recieved the early Nyingmapa transmissions. Passing unbroken through the family line the practices of Vajrakilaya and Samputa (Yangdak Thug) have continued unbroken to the present day and are famous as the 'Khon Lug Dorje Phurba,' - the only Kama lineage of these practices to survive. [Khon Lineage].

Head of Sakya:

The 41st Throne Holder of Sakya, Khyabgon Sakya Trizin Ngawang Kunga (b.1945) of the Drolma Podrang. Since the time of Sakya Trizin Wangdu Nyingpo the leadership has alternated each generation between the Drolma and Phuntsok Podrang (Palaces) of the Khon family. The present head of the Phuntsok Podrang is Jigdral Gongma Rinpoche.


Mahayana Buddhism: Sutrayana & Tantrayana (Vajrayana).

Philosophical School:

Middle Way - Madyamaka School.

Tantric Teachings:

1) Lamdre (the Hevajra instructions known as the Path together with the Result) from Mahasiddha Virupa [see lineage], 2) Guhyasamaja from Arya Nagarjuna, 3) Vajrakila from Acarya Padmasambhava, 4) Vajrayogini from Mahasiddha Naropa and Mahakala from Pandita Vararuchi.

Early Teachers:

The Five Superior Ones: (Jetsun Gongma Nga) Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), Sonam Tsemo (1142-1182), Dragpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216), Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (1182-1251) and Chogyal Pagpa (1235-1280).

Later Teachers:

Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen (1312-1375), Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, Rendawa, Rongton, Bodong Panchen Chogle Namgyal, Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub, Tsarchen Losal Gyatso, Gorampa Sonam Senge (1429-1489), Tagtsang Lotsawa, Shakya Chogden, Ngagchang Kunga Lodro (1729-1783), Thartse Panchen Namkha Chime (1765-1820), Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892) and Loter Wangpo, etc.


Ngorpa - the Ngor Evam Monastery was founded in 1430 by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1456). Tsarpa - the Dar Drongmoche Monastery was founded by Tsarchen Losal Gyatso (1502-1567).

Head of Ngor:

The leadership of Ngor monastery traditionally rotates between four monastic houses every three years; the Luding Labrang, Thartse Lhabrang, Khangsar Lhabrang and Phende Lhabrang.

Head of Tsar:

Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, Ngawang Khyenrab Legshe Gyatso (1920-2007) of Nalendra Monastery. It is likely with the passing away of Chogye Tri Rinpoche, Zimwock Rinpoche will assume the role of head of Nalendra Monastery and the Tsar School.

Current Lineage Teachers:

Khyabgon Sakya Trizin, Jigdral Dagchen Rinpoche, Dungse Ratna Vajra, Dungse Jnana Vajra, Luding Khenpo Rinpoche, Chogye Rinpoche, Jetsun Kusho Chimey Drolkar, Kunga Thartse Shabdrung, Phende Shabdrung, Luding Shabdrung, Dzongsar Khyentse, Khenpo Appey, Dhongtok Rinpoche, Ngari Tulku, Zimwog Rinpoche, Karma Thinley Rinpoche, etc. There are numerous Tulkus, Khenpos and Lharampa-geshes, both in Tibet and scattered throughout the world.

Tibetan Monasteries:

In Sakya Tibet, the North Monastery (no longer extant) was for Tantric studies and the famous South Monastery (brief history), Lhakang Chenmo was for Sutrayana studies. The Southern Monastery now serves both fields of study; Zhalu, Ngor Evam, Nalanda founded by Rongton (1367-1449), Gongkar Dorje Den, Tanag founded by Gorampa, Dakpo Tratsang by Tashi Namgyal, Gyantse Kumbum, Dar Drangmoche, Lhagang, Wara Gonpa, Dzongsar Tashi Lhatse founded by Chogyal Phagpa, Dege Gonchen by Thang Tong Gyalpo, Gigu Gonpa, Gotse Gon, Drogon Gonpa and Dontok monastery. This is a selection of the more important, most of which are still standing, or in the process of re-construction.

Indian-Nepali Monastaries:

Sakya Centre in Rajpur India, the main Sakya monastery outside of Tibet and the headquarters of His Holiness Sakya Trzin, Thubten Namgyal Ling in Puruwalla, Ngor Evam in Manduwalla, Sakya College, Matho Gonpa in Ladakh, Tsarpa Monastery in Lumbini, Lhakhang Gonchen in Mustang, Tarig Gonpa and Dezhung Gonpa - both in Kathmandu. This is a selection of the main monasteries.


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