History of Sakya

The Sakya Tradition

The Sakya school has a very rich history, having both Indian and Tibetan antecedents. The school’s dates from the establishment of the Dharma centre founded in 1074 at Sakya in southwest Tibet by Konchok Gyalpo of the Khön family.

The Khon family were practitioners of the Nyingma teachings who became attracted to the new tantric teachings of Drogmi Lotsowa and Gayadhara. Kunga Nyingpo was the first of the five Great Masters and was known as the “Great Sakyapa”. He seems to have received every sutra and tantra teaching available and to have preserved such Nyingma teachings as Vajrakilaya.

These were passed onto his two sons, Sonam Tsemo and Drakpa Gyaltsen, and then onto Sakya Pandita.

Early Masters of the Sakya tradition

Sakya Pandita

Sakya Pandita was even more learned than his predecessors and a major figure in the history of Buddhism. He mastered all the texts and tantras, plus many philosophical teachings such as Indian logic and secular studies such as poetry and arts.

Chogyal Phakpa

The fifth great Sakyapa was Chogyal Phakpa, the nephew of Sakya Pandita. He brought Buddhism to Mongolia by the conversion of Kublai Khan, who was an excellent leader and student.

The Sakya school has enjoyed the dual reputation of tantric masters and scholars, and is renowned for its cultivation in all areas. The two subsects are the Ngorpa subsect of the late 14th century, established by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, the lamdre master who founded the Ngor monastery, and the Tsharpa school emerging in the 16th century, established by Tsarchen Losal Gyamtso.