Monday, November 30, 2009

New Narrative Content on HAR

Short biographies for the following Sakya Lamas, or Sakya related, have been added to the HAR website:
Sachen Kunga Nyingpo
Sonam Tsemo
Dragpa Gyaltsen
Drogmi Lotsawa
Dzongsar Khyentse Chokyi Lodro
Kedrub Kyungpo Naljor
Gyurme Dechen

Also see the Religious Traditions Section for:
Sakya Tradition
Jonang Tradition
Shangpa Tradition

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sakya Biographies

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation has started a new website called the Treasury of Lives with a mission to translate or paraphrase the biographies of the major Tibetan Buddhist Teachers. Some biographies are of Sakya Lamas. I have copied a few of these over to the Himalayan Art Resources website accompanied with links and illustrations. I will post to the SRG whenever I upload a new Sakya Biography to the HAR site.

Sakya Biographies:
Drogmi Lotsawa Shakya Yeshe
Dzongsar Khyentse Jamyang Chokyi Lodro (Also look to the biography of Chokyi Lodro, by Dhongtok Rinpoche, in the Bodhi Magazine of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Secrets of Shangri-La: Quest for Sacred Caves

This may seem at first to be unrelated or a departure from the study of the Sakya Tradition but it is not. In the summer of 2008 I spent a month in the Mustang Region of Nepal with a National Geographic sponsored film crew to investigate previously inaccessible caves filled with ancient artifacts, texts, and Buddhist and Bon cave murals. The cave murals were primarily Sakya in origin and span the 14th to 16th centuries.

In one cave complex called Mardzong, just south of the town of Lo Monthang, in the upper chambers a stash of 14th and 15th century manuscripts were discovered - after collating, amounting to thirty large Tibetan volumes. Predominantly belonging to the Bon religion, the remaining texts were Sakya and many of them relating to the Sakya system of Lamdre.

Furthermore, Mustang is the last remaining Sakya Kingdom in the world, although also containing a smattering of Nyingma and Bon communities. Two of the main temples in the capital walled town of Lo Monthang, in Upper Mustang, are a treasure of murals in the tradition of the great Tibetan murals of the Sakya Monasteries of Gyantse, Shalu and Sakya. For Sakya Art History Lo Monthang is equally important for the study of mandalas and the Tantric systems of Maha Vairochana and Sarvavid Vairochana, along with the visual culture of other Yoga Tantra systems.

If you have access to North American Television please tune in to PBS, November 18th, 8:00 p.m., to watch the National Geographic Special, Secrets of Shangri-La.

"Tune in to PBS November 18th, 8:00 p.m., to watch the National Geographic Special, Secrets of Shangri-La ( To see a trailer for the program, go to:"

Cast of Characters:
Liesl Clark: Director, Project Co-leader
Pete Athans: Chief Climber, Project Co-leader
Brot Coburn: Project Co-leader
Didi Thunder: Support Treks Mastermind
Renan Ozturk: Climber, Video, Draftsperson
Kris Erickson: Climber, Photographer
Sukrasagar Shrestha: Archaeologist
Mohan Singh Lama: Archaeologist
Prakash Darnal: Archaeologist
Dr. Mark Aldenderfer: Archaeologist
Dr. Charles Ramble: Anthropologist
Sirish Bhatt: Caves Draftsperson
Karl Swingle: HDV Camera
Edgar Boyles: HD Camera
Morgan Boyles: HDV Camera
Jean Dunoyer: Editor
Jaime Dunoyer: Assistant Editor
Luigi Fieni: Art Conservator, Photographer
Jeff Watt: Art Historian
Ian Alsop: Art History Advisor
Angela Simons: Archaeologist
Jiban Ghimire: Agent, Fixer
Ted Hesser: Climber
Jay Adams: Assistant Camera
Jyoti Rana: Sound
Korynn Rielly Kirchwey: Motion Graphics
Pixeldust Studios: Animation
Anne De Salles: Anthropologist
Olivia Ramble: Pecha Archivist
Charlotte Ramble: Pecha Archivist
Phoebe Coburn: Pecha Archivist
Tsewang Bista: Cultural Advisor
Indra Bista: Cultural Advisor
Ang Temba Sherpa: Sirdar
Tashi Wangyal: Horseman

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bodhi Magazine Fall Issue

The Bodhi Magazine put out by the organization of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche has published an issue dedicated to the Sakya Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It is full of interesting teachings and histories. The most important section is probably the new translation of a rare Virupa biography. It was recently translated by Cyrus Stearns of Seattle, Washington. Dhongtok Rinpoche has also provided a biography of his teacher Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro. The entire issue is well worth looking at. They plan on publishing an issue dedicated to each of the four major schools - Sakya is the second of these issues.