The following article is from the Winter, 1990 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.


The Venerable Lama Kalsang Gyaltsen and members of Sakya Phuntsok Ling are delighted to an-nounce that His Holiness the Sakya Trizin has consented to bestow the Lam Dre teaching cycle and initiations in Washington D.C. in the autumn of 1991, following His Holiness' participation in the Kalachakra initiation to be held in New York City in October. The Lam Dre is the highest and most special teaching of the Sakya Order. In this country it was given only once before, in Boston in 1985 by His Eminence Luding Khen Rinpoche. This is the first time that it will be given in the U.S. by His Holiness.

In celebration of the International Year of Tibet, I and the members of the center felt it fitting to sponsor the Lam Dre teaching, the great living treasure of the Sakya Order, for the benefit of Dharma students throughout the country, said the Ven. Lama Kalsang Gyaltsen, resident lama and director of Sakya Phuntsok Ling. It is difficult to get a chance to receive this teaching, even in India. Over the past thirty years, there have been only six previous opportunities to receive this teaching from His Holiness. Those who wish to practice and understand the Vajrayana Dharma should not miss this opportunity to receive this rare teaching directly from a great master.

The Lam Dre teaching originated in the ninth century with the great teacher Virupa, abbot of Nalanda University. After years of diligent practice and meditation, the wisdom aspect of the deity Hevajra appeared in Virupa's pure vision and bestowed upon him the Hevajra initiation. That day, Virupa obtained first bhumi realization, and by meditating on the instructions, over the next five days he obtained the stage of the sixth bhumi. He codified the essence of his realization in the Vajra Verses, a secret oral teaching based on the Hevajra Tantra. These Vajra Verses form the basis of the Lam Dre teaching.

The Lam Dre remained in India and was passed orally for several generations from master to favored disciple. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, the founder of the Sakya Order, received the teaching in the eleventh century from this long lineage when it was brought to Tibet. As the full teaching is very extensive, he remained with his teacher for eight years to receive it completely. Sachen Kunga Nyingpo then practiced it secretly for eighteen years. Virupa appeared in his pure perception and personally transmitted to him the short lineage of the Lam Dre teaching.

After this period of practice, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo began to teach it more openly to qualified students. He first set down the oral teaching in writing, then taught it widely and composed commentaries on it. For the past nine hundred years, the Lam Dre has been preserved and transmitted by great teachers of the Sakya Order. Over the centuries, a vast literature and commentary has been composed by generations of scholars and practitioners based on the Lam Dre teaching.


The Lam Dre teaching condenses the entire teaching of the sutra and tantra. It is based upon the Hevajra tantra, and is associated with the practice of the deity Hevajra. The teaching is given in two sections. The first section, the Triple Vision, summarizes the Paramitayana path and will last approximately one week. The second section, the Triple Tantra, summarizes the Vajrayana path and will last approximately two weeks.

The Triple Vision explains the difference in the perception or vision of phenomena at different spiritual stages. These three visions are the perception of regular beings, the perception of those on the path, and the perception of those who have attained the result of perfect enlightenment. The Triple Tantra explains the difference in the mind or continuity (tantra) of the perceiver of phenomena at different spiritual stages. These three tantra are those of regular beings, those on the path, and those who have attained the result. Teachings on the tantra also explain in detail the meaning and practice of the four initiations, including the practices of deity yoga, inner heat, channels, drops, airs and mahamudra. In summary the Lam Dre covers the entire Buddhist path, from the beginning stages to the fruit of perfect enlightenment. Therefore it is called the Lam Dre, or Path and Fruit.

His Holiness the Sakya Trizin is the head of the Sakya Order. He now lives in Rajpur, India, where he has re-established the seat of the Sakya Order. Born in 1945, he is the forty-second throne-holder of the Sakya Order, a member of the Khon family and a descendant of the five founders of the Sakya. From his early childhood he received intensive religious instruction in preparation for leadership. He first received the Lam Dre teaching at the age of five and passed an extensive examination on the Hevajra Tantra at the age of seven. He undertook his first Hevajra retreat at eight, and at the age of twelve he again received the Lam Dre teaching according to the special tradition of the Khon family, the hereditary leaders of the Sakya Order. At fourteen, he was formally enthroned as the Sakya Trizin, and assumed leadership of the order.

His Holiness is widely reputed to be an emanation of both Manjushri and Virupa, the founder of the Lam Dre teaching. The clarity and incisiveness of his teaching is remarkable and is an indication of both his own realization and the blessings of the Lam Dre carried through the lineage of Sakya Trizins. Of his teaching, great Sakya lamas and scholars have said that even if Virupa or the five founders of the Sakya order were to manifest and teach the Dharma again, there is no aspect in which they could improve upon the Sakya Trizin's teaching. His fluency and precise command of English makes receiving teachings from him an even greater blessing for Western students.

The Lam Dre will be sponsored by Ven. Lama Kalsang Gyaltsen and the members of Sakya Phuntsok Ling and held in suburban Washington D.C. Sakya Phuntsok Ling was established four years ago under the guidance of His Holiness the Sakya Trizin and His Eminence Dezhung Rinpoche. In past years Sakya Phuntsok Ling has hosted teachings by His Holiness the Sakya Trizin, His Eminence Luding Khen Rinpoche, and Her Eminence Jetsun Kushog. Since its inception it has held weekly group meditations, classes in Mahayana philosophy and Tibetan language, and periodic retreats.

Serious Dharma students of all lineages are welcome to attend the Lam Dre teaching. Initiations and instruction will be held every evening for three weeks during the last part of October and the first part of November, 1991. Exact dates will be announced soon by His Holiness the Sakya Trizin. The teaching will be arranged to facilitate the participation of students from other parts of the country. For a registration packet and information on dates, accomodations, costs, transportation and other details, please call or write Sakya Phuntsok Ling, 608 Ray Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel.301-589-3115.t