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Tibetan name
Tibetan script :
ས་ སྐྱ་
Wylie transliteration :
sa skya
Pronunciation in IPA :
[ saca ]
Official transcription of the PRCh :
THDL transcription :
Other spellings:
Chinese name
Traditional :
Simplified :
Pinyin :
Parts of the northern monastery of Sakya, which was completely destroyed between 1960 and 1970

Sakya ("Gray Earth") is one of the "four great schools" of Tibetan Buddhism , along with Nyingma , Kagyu and Gelug .

The school is named after the Buddhist Sakya monastery founded by Khön Könchog Gyelpo (1034–1102) in 1073 , which is located in Sakya and in Tibet Sakya Densa (tib .: sa skya gdan sa ) or Sakya Gönpa (tib .: sa skya dgon pa ).


Origin of the Sakya schools

Sakya Founding Fathers

The Sakya tradition was brought to its full bloom by the "five venerable supreme masters". These masters include:

  1. Things Künga Nyingpo (1092–1158)
  2. Sönam Tsemo (1142–1182)
  3. Dragpa Gyeltshen (1147-1216)
  4. the Sakya Pandita Künga Gyeltshen (1182–1251)
  5. Drogön Chögyel Phagpa (1235-1280)

Three sub-traditions later emerged that kept the teachings of the first Sakya-Pandita:

  1. the Sakya tradition based on the "five venerable highest masters"
  2. the Ngor tradition , based on Ngorpa Künga Sangpo (1382-1456)
  3. the Tshar tradition , based on Tsharchen Losel Gyatsho (1502–1566)

From the first three further sub-schools emerged:

  1. the Bulug tradition, based on Bustön Rinchendrub (1290-1364)
  2. the Jonang tradition, based on Yumo Mikyö Dorje (11th century)
  3. the Bodong tradition , based on Kadampa Geshe Mudra Chenpo

Khön family line

Almost all of the major lamas of the Sakya tradition have incarnated in the houses of the Khön family for centuries . This family can trace its origins back to the time before the first translation phase in Tibet. One of the Khön ancestors was already a student of Padmasambhava and was one of the first seven monks to be ordained by Vimalamitra in the 9th century in Samye Monastery in Tibet.

Feudal rule over Tibet

One of the official seals of the Sakya throne holders

Around 1264, the leader of the Sakya school Chögyel Phagpa (1239-1279) received feudal rule over Tibet from the Mongolian Yuan Emperor Kublai Khan, which he and his successors exercised until 1354. At that time, Sakya Monastery was the administrative center of the regions of Tibet ruled by the Sakya Thridzin. This also explains the expansion of the northern monastery into a huge fortress. With the fall of the Yuan Dynasty, the Sakya throne holders lost their central position of power over the entire Tibet region. However, they remained secular rulers of the Sakya region assigned to them until 1959, with their own tax revenue, jurisdiction and administrative sovereignty.

Teachings of the Sakya

Hevajra meditation deity

Most of the Sakyapa tantric teachings were translated by Bari Lotsawa (1040–1112), including the Hevajra and Guhyasamaja tantra. Born in East Kham, he traveled to India, where he met Master Virupa and then translated various tantric teachings and brought them to Tibet.

The five great masters named above therefore based their teachings on those of the great Indian master and scholar Virupa. They adopted the mahamudra teachings of Virupa and the teachings of many other great accomplices. Things Künga Nyingpo was considered to be the appearance of both the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokitesvara and the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri .

He was known for his writings on Hevajra Tantra relating to the Sakya system of Lamdre (also: Lam Dre ; Tib .: lam 'bras ; path and fruit ). The great scholar Sakya Pandita Künga Gyeltshen, who was also the sixth throne holder of the Sakya lineage, was famous for his scholarship in the field of sutra and tantra far beyond the Sakya school . His treatises on logic became a standard work on the subject.

The Sakya lineage has also adopted the teachings of the older Kadam school. The teachings on Vajrakila were given to a member of the Khön family by Guru Rinpoche as early as the 9th century . This transmission was later incorporated into the faculty of the emerging Sakya School. The practices of Vajrayogini were also passed on from Naropa to a member of the Khön family. The tantric practices for Kalachakra according to the Ra lineage were also added.

Eminent Sakya masters

  • Vajrasanapada (Tib. Dorje Danpa), (11th century), Indian master and guru of Bari Lotsawa, forefather of the Sakya tradition
  • Khön Könchog Gyelpo (1034–1102), 1st throne holder of the Sakya
  • Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Dragpa (1040–1112), 2nd throne holder
  • Things Künga Nyingpo (1092–1158), 3rd throne holder
  • Sönam Tsemo (1142–1182), 4th holder of the throne
  • Dragpa Gyeltshen (1147–1216), 5th throne holder
  • Sakya Pandita Künga Gyeltshen (1182–1251), 6th holder of the throne
  • Drogön Chögyel Phagpa (1235-1280)
  • Butön Rinchen Drub (1290–1364)
  • Dolpopa Sherab Gyeltshen (1292-1361)
  • Lama Dampa Sönam Gyeltshen (1312-1375), 14th holder of the throne
  • Ngor Chen Künga Sangpo (1382–1456), founder of the Ngor tradition
  • Gongma Künga Lodrö (1729–1783), holder of all important Sakya lineages (lower schools)
  • Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892), co-founder of the Rime movement
  • Satön Dorje Chang Ngawang Legpa (1864–1941)
  • Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1896-1959)
  • Ngawang Thutob Wangchug (1900–1950)

Line holder and spread

Jetsün Chime Luding

The current holder of the throne and line holder of the Sakya tradition is the 41st Sakya Thridzin Ngawang Künga Thegchen Pelbar (* 1945). The office of the throne holder changes regularly between the two houses of the Khön family.

Sakya Thridzin also occasionally teaches in Europe. Another important master of this lineage, who also regularly gives teachings and initiations in the West, is his sister Jetsün Chime Luding, who lives in Canada . In this line she is considered to be the human dakini and emanation of Tara , Prajnaparamita and Vajrayogini . She is one of fewer than twelve Masters qualified to teach the Lamdre, or "the path that includes the goal." Lamdre are the "highest and most profound oral teachings of the Sakya tradition". Like Dzogchen , (Tib .: gcod , cf. zhi byed ) and Kalachakra, Lamdre is one of Tibet's unique and complete systems of meditation practices.

In the Sakya tradition, the Hevajra tantra is of great importance, but other tantras are also transmitted. Sakya communities have now settled in America and Europe. These can also be found in Germany.


In the 19th century, under the Tertön (treasure finder) Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892) and others from the Sakya lineage, the so-called " Rime Movement" arose, which collected group-wide teachings from all religious schools in Tibet and from masters of all traditions and practiced.

See also


  • L. Petech: Central Tibet and the Mongols. The Yuan - Sa-skya Period of Tibetan History. Rome 1990.
  • Dieter Schuh: Decrees and letters of Mongol rulers for Tibetan clergy. A contribution to the knowledge of the documents of the Tibetan Middle Ages and their diplomacy. St. Augustine 1977.
  • Giuseppe Tucci: Tibetan Painted Scrolls. 3 vol., Rome 1949.

Web links

Commons : Sakya  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Review of Luminous Lives ( Memento of the original from May 17, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. The Khön family  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  3. "The Lam Dre is the highest and most profound oral instructions of the Sakya Order" ( Memento of the original from March 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Sakya Trizin, s. Section Her Eminence Jetsun Kushok Chimey Luding