Friday, November 28, 2008

TBRC: Outline Pages for Sakya Materials

The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center of Gene Smith has been engaged in making outline pages for the major collections of Tibetan writings. Created on the SRG site is an outline page of only the Sakya materials called TBRC: Sakya Bibliographic Outlines. Also included is a link to Sakya Lineages, a joint project between the University of Munich and the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center. These pages and links are very academic and you will need to be able to read Tibetan or at the least know the Wylie (Extended) Transliteration System. To learn more about Tibetan scripts see the Resource Tools for Scholars on the HAR website.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Outline Pages from HAR

I have many Outline Pages for the Sakya Tradition on the HAR (Himalayan Art Resources) website. I have always tried to keep these two resources separate because one (SRG) is faith based and the other (HAR) is a general art education site. The problem for me now is that HAR has become quite rich with Sakya material and I don't always have the time to copy or re-create the same pages for the SRG site even though that is my initial feeling of what should happen. There is no intention or plan to blend the sites but I feel I must be more blatant in making Sakya practitioners aware of what is on HAR.

We all have to remember that the HAR site is dealing with all of the religious imagery, art styles, and aesthetics coming out of Himalayan Style Art and it is funded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. I alone (no bosses) support the SRG website. It would be completely unfair to be partial to one tradition over another on the HAR site, as everybody has to be treated equally.

Now, I believe, if you were to do a survey of the art objects that I have written about in depth, over the past 11 years, on the HAR site you will find that I have actually devoted far more time and energy into the non-Sakya traditions, iconography, and painting sets. It has taken me years to finally begin to document all of the Lamdre Lineage paintings. The sculpture has still not been done. Early on I worked on the subjects people seemed to be most interested in and subjects supported by large numbers of artworks such as the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, Karmapa, Shamar, Situ, Padmasambhava, etc. And I can tell you, just dealing with all of the different representations of Padmasambhava and all the Terma 'Revealed Treasure' Traditions and their different forms is a daunting task. Jamgon Kongtrul had to write the Rinchen Terdzo in one hundred and twenty volumes to try and keep it all straight.

So, to try and deal with all of that, from now on what I will be doing is keeping the SRG site more up to date on all the Sakya additions to the HAR website:
1. Sakya Outline Page
2. Lamdre Painting Sets Page
3. Thirteen Golden Dharmas
4. Panjarnata Mahakala
5. Sakya Monasteries
6. Lamdre Lineage
7. Sakya Lineages
8. Sakya Protectors
9. Sakya Hats

Tsunda Monastery Website, Tibet

The Tsunda website has lots of interesting content along with a large collection of Sakya teachings and lectures. The head Lama is Tiktsa Rinpoche who is active in Tibet and the re-building of the Tsunda Monastery.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rinchen Zangpo & Art of the Western Himalayas

There is an interesting article on the Asian Art website called A four-fold Vairocana in the Rinchen Zangpo tradition at Halji in Nepal by Mimi Church and Mariette Wiebenga. Rinchen Zangpo was the Tibetan Buddhist teacher that marked the beginning of the 'New' (sarma) era of Buddhism in the Himalayas and Tibet as opposed to the 'Old' (nyingma) begun by Shantarakshita, Padmasambhava abd Trisong Detsen. What is important to know is that the Sakya Tradition was the principal inheritor of the Rinchen Zangpo lineages of practice. The most well known of those practices are the Vairochana Tantras, the Sarvadurgati Parishodhana Tantra and the Eight Deity Panjarnata Mahakala. Khyabgon Sakya Trizin and other lamas frequently give the initiation of Sarvadurgati and occasionally that of Eight Deity Mahakala.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lamdre Lineage Art Sets

Most of the paintings and sculpture depicting individual, or several, Sakya Lamas in one composition are invariably from Lamdre lineage sets. And as all of you will know, it is best when requesting Lamdre to be taught that the host organization also commission a new set of Lineage tangkas (painted or appliqué). At any given time sets of paintings in total number are likely to account for more than half of all Himalayan and Tibetan style art. Needless to say, there are many paintings that belong to Sakya lamdre lineage sets scattered around the world in museum and private collections. I have attempted to put as many of these paintings back together in the Lamdre Lineage Outline Page. There are many more images that I know of but haven't yet been able to acquire the required permissions. There are also Lamdre images waiting to be uploaded onto the HAR website.

Additions & Updates

I did a quick re-working of the main Sakya Outline Page on the HAR website. To this I added at the bottom, as you already saw, the Sakya Protectors Outline. Linked to that is a new outline page for Panjarnata Mahakala. Panjarnata is a very complex deity because he is both a protector with many forms and, in Sakya, a Meditational Deity (ishtadevata) of the Anuttarayoga classification. I still have more work to do on this and I am not sure if I remembered the Five Lineages of Panjaranata accurately. I have a feeling that the Mal Lotsawa and the Rinchen Zangpo lineages are the same which means that I have forgotten one. I can look it up when I return back to New York next week.

Also new to the Sakya Outline Page is the Monasteries & Branch Schools outline. This new page will become more meaningful and develop as I upload all of the images from my various trips to Tibet and hopefully the images that my students also took at the various locations relating to Sakya.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sakya Protectors

A new outline page for Sakya Protectors has been added to the Himalayan Art Resources website. There is a lot more explanation that needs to accompany each of these protectors, and or, their larger classifications, such as Mahakala, Shri Devi, the Three Kings, etc. I have this information written up in the form of a university paper done back in 1988 at UBC. I will review that paper and add more information to the SRG and HAR websites. The image on the left is of the goddess Ekajati, the mother of Mahakala and Shri Devi, according to the system of Panjarnata Mahakala. She is included as one of the retinue figures in the Eight Deity Panjarnata practice. She is also included in the Three Deity Panjarnata practice of the Sakya Tradition.

Another Interesting Search Tool

Viewzi is a search program that allows you to choose how you want the results to appear. It's excellent for images. That is what I use it for. You can also have it serve up only text, video previews, etc. You decide. No pressure from me. Look at a search on the word Sakya and then the results after selecting only images.

Something Fun

I was checking out new websites and search engines and came across For those of you that use Apple products you can stop reading this entry because you know what I am about to say. Anyway, for the rest of you this search engine uses a very nice front end presentation that serves up the pages of each site and allows you to scroll through them horizontally (in an Apple style). My only disappointment was that I was not able to find the SRG in the search results, but it is not always about the SRG. Look at the Sakya Search Results on It might be fun for some of you. I enjoyed it.