His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin was born in Tibet in 1945. He is the supreme head of the Sakya School, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
His Holiness belongs to the ancient and distinguished family of Khön, whose history dates back to the early days of Tibet, even before the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet.
The Khön family
The Khön family holds three supreme names. The first of these supreme names is Lha-Rig, which means ‘the race of heavenly beings.’
This name came about through the family’s ancestor, Yapang Kye, who was the great-great grandson of the heavenly being Yuring. Yuring was believed to have descended from the heavenly realm of Rupadhatu.
Later, the family received its second supreme name, Khön Gyi Dung, which means ‘Clan of Khön.’
This name was derived from Yapang Kye’s triumph over the Rakshas, which in reality demonstrated his power to conquer ignorance. Many generations later, in the eleventh century, an illustrious master named Khön Konchog Gyalpo founded the glorious Sakya order by establishing a monastery in Sakya in 1073 AD.
Thus the family received its third supreme name, Sakyapa. Since those times, the generations of the Khön family have continued in an unbroken lineage, and have included many emanations of the Three Bodhisatvas. (The three Bodhisatvas are Manjushri, who embodies the wisdom of all the Buddhas, Avalokiteshvara, who embodies the compassion of all the Buddhas and Vajrapani, who embodies the power of all the Buddhas). Many famous masters too have appeared in this illustrious lineage, including the Five Great Founders of the Sakyapa Order: the Great Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092 – 1158), Loppon Rinpoche Sonam Tsemo (1142 – 1182), Jetsun Rinpoche Dragpa Gyaltsen, (1147 – 1216) Chöje Sakya Pandita (1182 – 1251) and Drogön Chögyal Phagpa (1235 – 1280).
Many generations later, one of the members of the Khön family, Pema Düdul Wangchuk founded Shabten Lhakhang.
His son, Thegchen Tashi Rinchen, founded Dolma Phunpal Phodrang (The Glorious Tara Palace). It was named after the nearby Turquoise Tara Shrine.
Today it is called Dolma Phodrang or Tara Palace.
His Holiness Sakya Trizin’s Noble Father, Vajradhara Ngawang Kunga Rinchen was born as the heir-apparent of Trichen Dragshul Thrinley Rinchen in the Dolma Palace in order to uphold and continue the divine lineage for the betterment of all sentient beings. Vajradhara Ngawang Kunga Rinchen was an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.
On one occasion when he was meditating in his private room, the famous and holy Manjushri statue called Jamyang Tsödgyalma manifested before him in the form of the actual deity. Vajradhara Ngawang Kunga Rinchen prostrated to the deity, and recited the confession prayers to Manjushri. Manjushri spoke to him and said that it would be better to practise the Guru Yoga of the owner of the hundred races, his great Noble Father Dragshul Thrinley Rinchen, instead of reciting confession prayers. Manjushri instructed him to do this while contemplating the ultimate view, which meant merging his mind and the primordial wisdom of his Noble Father into one.
Because of the preciousness of the Khön lineage, not only in the Sakya tradition, but also for the continuation of the Buddha’s doctrine in general, it became necessary for Vajradhara Ngawang Kunga Rinchen to have an heir. Accordingly he wed Thrinley Paljor Sangmo, the sister of a renowned minister of the Tibetan government. She thus became his Dagmo, which is the title given to the Consorts of the Lineage Holders of the Khön family.
When after sixteen years they still had not managed to have any children, he wed his Dagmo’s younger sister, Sonam Drolkar who is His Holiness’ mother.
Her first child was a Jetsunma, Chime Thrinley Luding who now resides in Canada. Jetsunma is the title given to the daughters of the Lineage Holders of the Khön family. Dagmo Sonam Drolkar then gave birth to a Dungsay named Jigdral Dutdul. Dungsay is the title given to the sons of the Lineage Holders of the Khön Family. Dagmo Sonam Drolkar gave birth to another Jetsunma named Ayang, and then finally to His Holiness Sakya Trizin.
Grandfather of His Holiness,
The 39th Lineage Holder -
Dragshul Thrinley Rinchen Rinpoche