Sakayas-Growing Strong in the Northwest

The following article is from the Spring, 1987 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

The Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism has preserved a pure unbroken lineage of Lord Buddha's teachings for over a thousand years.

The patriarchs of the Sakya Khon lineage were originally disciples of Padmasambhava and followers of the Nyingmapa school. In the 11th century Kon Konchok Gyalpo (1034-1102) established the first Sakya Monastery, which was a center for the study of the new tantras arriving from India at that time. Under the direction and inspiration of the five Founding LamasSachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158), Lopon sonam Tsemo (1142-1182), Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen (1145-1216), Sakya Pandita (1182-1251), and Chogyal Phakpa (1235-1280)these teachings formed the basis for what is now known as the Sakya school. This tradition is best known for its emphasis on a combination of both study and practice through the teaching cycle known as the Lam Dre, The Path and its Fruit.

The Sakya tradition has been passed through the Khon family from father to son down to the present day. There are two branches of this family: the Phuntso Podrang, of which H.H Jigdal Dagchen Sakya is the lineage-holder, and the Drolma Podrang, of which H.H. Sakya Trizin is the throne-holder.

H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya has established the seat of his teachings in Seattle. He came to Seattle in 1960 on a Rockefeller Foundation Grant to do research at the University of Washington, after the communist invasion of Tibet. In 1974, he founded Sakya Tegchen Cholingcenter for the study of Vajrayana Buddhism and Tibetan culture.

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H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Rinpoche

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Sakya Monastery, Seattle, WA

Although H.H. Dagchen Rinpoche is one of the most eminent living lamas, he is exceptionally available to interested students. Rinpoche offers regular teachings and formal instructions on meditation and practice. Sangha volunteers work every weekend with Rinpoche to transform a 60-year-old building into an authentic Tibetan Buddhist temple. By means of his living example and teachings, he teaches his students patience, humor, diligence, and kindness.

Rinpoche teaches students a non-sectarian approach to the Dharma and has brought many great lamas to Seattle from the four Tibetan Buddhist traditions to teach and bestow initiations. For over a year, meditations, teachings, and initiations have been held in the temporary shrine room at the monastery while work continueson the rest of the building. A new roof has been installed, Sangha practitioners'quarters have been completely renovated with new walls and fresh paint, and six foot wide Dharma seals have been hung over the two entrances. Future plans call for a permanent shrine room with large statues of Buddha, Padmasambhava, and Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. Tibetan mural artists from India will be brought to paint the shrine-room ceiling and walls in the style of Tibetan monasteries. The costs of completing the monastery, including the shrine room are estimated at $130,000. Your support is greatly appreciated. Please contact the Sakya Monastery at: 108 N.W. 83rd St., Seattle, WA 98117, 206-789 2573.

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