His Holiness Sakya Trizin
A short biography
Khön family, to which His Holiness Sakya Trizin belongs, has a long history
that extends back more than 1400(?????)
years to pre-Buddhist Tibet. The Sakya Khön family’s ancestors were “The
Gods of the Realm of Clear Light” and so the family was known as Lha-Rig
or “The Celestial Race”. Later, when they subjugated the Rakshas,
they were called The Immaculate “Khön Gyi Dhung” or “The Family
of Conquerors”. In the later
eleventh century when they established the Sakyapa Order of Tibetan Buddhism,
they were called “The Sakyapa Lineage”.
more recent times they became known as “The Dolma Phodrang” or “The
Tara Palace Lineage”, as their palace was next to the Turquoise Tara Shrine at
the Sakya monastery in Tibet. From the advent of the Khön race until
now, many famous masters have appeared without interruption in this illustrious
lineage, including the five great founders of the Sakyapa Order.
Ngawang Conga Rinchen, the previous head of the Sakya Dolma Phodrang, and Sonam
Drolkar, the sister of a renowned minister of the Tibetan government had four
children together. The eldest, a daughter whose name is Jetsun Chime Thrinley
was born in 1938
and currently lives and teaches in Canada. The next born were a son and daughter
who both passed away in infancy.
youngest son, the present Sakya Trizin, was born in the Sixteenth Rabjong* in
the year of The Wood Bird on the first day of the eight-month which is September
7th, 1945. He was born at the Sakya Palace of Tsedong.
after his birth, profound rituals were performed to increase his wisdom,
including tracing the letter “Dhih” on his tongue. Many auspicious
signs occurred on the day of his birth. A rainbow tent appeared above the palace
and milk collected from one hundred different Dris (female yaks) were offered to
the palace as well as a statue of Guru Padmasambhava. While he was an infant,
his name was Ayu Vajra. Later, when his father gave him his first major
initiation of “The Nine Deities of Amitayus”, he was given his
present name Ngawang Kunga Thegchen Palber Thrinley Samphel Wangyi Gyalpo.
the family returned to the main Sakya monastery the next year there was an
extensive celebration of the anniversary of his birth. He received the major
initiation of Vajrakilaya and many other profound teachings from his father.
Both parents died while His Holiness was still young so his maternal aunt,
Thrinley Paljor Sangmo, with great kindness, took extremely good care of him.
She appointed Jamphel Ponlop Kunga Gyaltsen as his first tutor and from him he
learned the fundamental of the Tibetan reading, writing, memorization and the
recitation of basic prayers. He learned chanting, music, ritual dancing, mudras
and other subjects from his junior tutor Kunga Tsewang.
completion of these studies, a great celebration was held in which the Sakya
Trizin officially entered both the Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries to perform
the traditional Sakya ceremonies. When His Holiness finished his studies at the
Sakya Monasteries, he went to receive teachings at the Ngor E-Wam monastery.
There, at the age of five, he received “The Common and Uncommon Lamdre”
and many other profound teachings, bestowed upon him by his main root guru the
great Ngor abbot, Vajradhara Ngawang Lodroe Zhenphen Nyingpo.
1951 the Sakya Trizin made a pilgrimage to Lhasa. There, at the age of six, he
was designated the throne holder of the Sakya Order by His Holiness the Dalai
Lama. Accordingly, the next year a preliminary enthronement ceremony was
performed in which he accepted the official seals of the office of the Sakya
following year from Ngawang Zhenphen Nyingpo’s regent, Ngawang Tenzin Nyingpo,
His Holiness received the initiation and reading transmission of “The
collection of Dharanas”. From Lama Ngawang Lodroe Rinpoche, he received
the initiations and profound oral instructions of the Three Red Deities, Three
Vajra Yoginis and the two main Protectors of the Sakya Order.
the age of eleven he made another pilgrimage to Lhasa during which he received
Dharma instructions in the Potala from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There,
before a large audience, he gave an extensive explanation of the Mandala
offering due to which his wisdom came to be proclaimed throughout Tibet. During
this period, from Jamyang Khyentse Choekyi Lodroe, he received many tantric
initiations and teachings according to the Sakya tradition as well as the
teachings and initiations of the Dzogchen Lineage. In 1957, he received the
Lamdre again, this time from the great abbot Vajradhara Jamphel Sangpo,
according to the tradition of the Khön Lineage Transmission.
1959, at the age of fourteen, he was formally enthroned as the Sakya Trizin,
beginning with a seven day Mahakala ritual followed by an elaborate three day
enthronement ceremony during which representatives of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and the Tibetan Government were in attendance. Later that year, due to
change in the political situation of Tibet, His Holiness along with some of his
attendants moved to India.
next year, His Holiness established the Ghoom Monastery in Darjeeling and Sa-Ngor
Choetsog in Gangtok and thus began his task of reassembling the Sangha. On many
different occasions in Tibet, as well as in India, His Holiness received
extensive philosophical teaching in Logic, Abhidharma, Pragna Paramita and
The Clarification of the Three Vows from many great scholars like the abbots
Dosep Thupten, Tritso Rinchen and Serjong Appey. From the last of them, he also
received a thorough and detailed explanation of The Hevajra Root Tantra
and many related teachings.
one of the four Ngor abbots, Phendhe Khen Rinpoche, he received the initiation
and explanation of The Yamantaka in the Ra Lotsawa tradition as
well as The Collected Writings of Ngorchen Khonchog Lhundrub. In 1964, He
undertook the task of reestablishing the main seat of Sakya Order in Rajpur,
Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1968 in order to benefit the lay followers of the Sakya
Order, he established the Tibetan settlement in Puruwala in Himachal Pradesh,
the years 1971 and 72, he received the initiations from “The Collection of
All Tantras”, “The Collected Writing of Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo”, “The
Uncommon Lamdre from the Tsarpa Tradition” and “The One Hundred
Teachings of the Jonang Tradition” from Chogye Trichen Rinpoche Ngawang
Khyenrab Legshey Gyatso.
1974, to maintain the unbroken lineage of Khön family, His Holiness married
Dagmo Kusho Tashi Lhakyi, the daughter of a minister of the king of Dege. That
year was highlighted by the auspicious birth of their elder son Ratna Vajra. In
1978, he received the complete reading transmission of “The Collected Works
of the Five Great Founders of Sakyapa Tradition” and “The Collected
Tantric Works of the Omniscient Teacher Gorampa” from the Lord of Refuge
Deschung Rinpoche. In 1979, his younger son Gyana Vajra was born. The following
Year, His Holiness performed the opening ceremony of the main Sakya monastery
Thupten Namgyal Ling in Puruwala, Himachal Pradesh.
order to promote higher education and
extensive philosophical training and to maintain the living transmission of the
Sakyapa teachings and commentaries, His Holiness requested his own tutor, the
most venerable Khenpo Appey Rinpoche, to establish the Sakya College and to be
the Dean of the college. Through his hard work and vast wisdom, the Sakya
College was established in 1972.
then, the college has produced monks with exceptional scholastic virtues and
caliber who had come from various monasteries. At the college they received high
quality and in depth instructions in Tantra, Sutra and other common subjects.
After graduation, they have returned to their respective monasteries or, as
assigned by His Holiness, to serve in various capacities within the Sakya Order.
Thus, they have contributed greatly to the spread of this glorious tradition all
over the world and benefited many sentient beings. Through establishment of the
Sakya College, His Holiness has revitalized both the sutric and tantric
traditions of the Tibetan Buddhism and ensured the continuity of a new
generation of well trained teachers and practitioners.
now, His Holiness has performed major and minor retreats of twenty deities of
the Sakya Lineage. From a very young age he has undertaken many retreats and has
given many initiations such as “The Upper and The Lower Initiations of
Vajrakilaya”. Since his arrival in India, he has given “The Common
Lamdre” on four occasions and “The Uncommon Lamdre” once. In
addition, he was bestowed “The Common Lamdre” four times and “The
Uncommon Lamdre” twice overseas. Therefore in total he has given “Lamdre”
eleven times and “The Collection of Sadhanas” thrice and has
bestowed many initiations on “The Collection of Tantras”. For the
benefit of those who wish to study Lord Buddha’s doctrine, His Holiness has
turned the wheel of Dharma all over the world. So far, he has given teachings in
America, Australia, Canada, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong
Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Nepal, New
Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand.
all of his fortunate disciples, he has extended his infinite compassion and
wisdom. This is evident in the books he has written. Until the present day, he
has written two volumes containing the detailed list of all the teachings he has
received from various masters and another volume enumerating the works of the
great masters of the Sakyapa Order. He has also written an autobiography of two
volumes and another in a brief version. He has written profoundly upon the
Birwapa’s “Guru Yoga Puja” and many other ritual texts and composed
dedication prayers as well as many other short verses. To preserve an unbroken
lineage of teachings and the tradition of the Khön family, he has ensured that
his two sons are receiving an extensive education of the Buddha Dharma.
short, His Holiness Sakya Trizin upholds the entire Buddhist doctrines and has
spread it far and wide throughout the world. He has been an unfailing source of
wisdom and compassion for all of his Dharma students. Most of the time when he
is not on a teaching tour and when he is not engaged in other religious
commitments, he lives in Rajpur, Dehradun, at the Sakya Dolma Phodrang, and
extends his infinite compassion and blessings to a stream of devotee everyday.
* Sixty years cycle