The Sakya tradition is one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Founded in the Tibetan region of Sakya, the lineage was established in 1073 by Könchok Gyalpo. Core to the Sakya school teachings is the Hevajra Tantra with its associated instructions known as the Lam Dre, “Path and its Result”, developed by the 9th century Indian Mahasiddha, Virupa. The current 41st holder of the Sakya throne, His Holiness Sakya Trizin, resides in Rajpur, Northern India. [more]
In addition to the main Sakya tradition, there are three sub-divisions of the Sakya tradition—the Ngorpa, the Tsarpa and the Dzongpa.
The Ngorpa sub-sect was founded by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1457) with the establishment of the Ngor Evam Monastery in 1430. The current head of Ngorpa sub-sect is His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche.
The Tsarpa sub-sect was founded by Tsarchen Losal Gyatso (1502-1556) with the establishment of the Dar Drongmoche Monastery. The head of Tsarpa sub-sect was His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, who passed away in 22 January, 2007.
The Dzongpa sub-sect was founded in 1464 by Dorjedenpa Kunga Namgyal (1432-1496). The current head of Dzongpa subsect is His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche. His monastery, Gongkar Choede Monastery maintains the teachings and rituals of Dzongpa.
Lamdre contains teachings and practices covering the whole range of sutra and tantra teachings given by the Lord Buddha, but its main teachings are based on the Hevajra Tantra. Lamdre was brought to Tibet by the Tibetan translator, Drogmi Lotsawa, in the middle of 10th century, and was later codified in 12th century by Sachen Kunga Nyingpo. This teaching has since been passed down through an unbroken lineage of masters to the present day. During the time of Muchen Sempa Chenpo Konchok Gyaltsen, Lamdre was divided into two sub-traditions: The Explanation for Private Disciples or the uncommon Lamdre (Lobshey) and the Explanation for the Assembly or the common Lamdre (Tsokshey).
The crux to this golden teaching is the inseparability of the worldly existence (Samsara) and enlightenment (Nirvana). It follows that Nirvana is merely a transformation of Samsara. There is no abandoning of Samsara in order to achieve Nirvana, as the mind is the root of Samsara and Nirvana. Realising this inseparability is the key to attaining enlightenment.
It is said that Lamdre is the complete path to enlightenment, and is divided into two parts: the preliminary section and the tantric section. The preliminary section contains the instructions and teachings on sutras of Lord Buddha and focuses on the three visions: impure vision, the vision of experience and the pure vision. The tantric section is esoteric or tantric teachings, which include teachings on the Three Tantras. Lamdre is given by a single teacher (who is an officially recognised lineage holder) in a single place over a period of four to six weeks generally. Within the Sakya school, wherein the Lamdre lineage lies, there are only a handful of lineage holders in any generation.