According to a circular received from Sakya MP Geshe Gatsi Tseringpo, which enclosed a letter from Sakya Dolma Phodrang dated 19 January 2015, wherein, His Eminence the Sakya Trizin, the current head of the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, has made a historic announcement regarding a discussion between the DOLMA PHODRANG and PHUNTSOK PHODRANG about a Resolution and New Directive Concerning the FUTURE ROLE of the Sakya Trizin, the Head of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism.

The announcement states that both generations of Dolma and Phuntsok Phodrangs of Sakya tradition, will take turns in assuming the responsibility of the role of Sakya Trizin by seniority of age and with the required qualifications of the designate for a three-year term, beginning from 2017. The new directive has been announced with the due blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Read below the full text of the announcement or click here to read the original announcement in PDF format.

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A Private Discussion Between the Dolma Phodrang and Phuntsok Phodrang about a Resolution and New Directive Concerning the Future Role of the Sakya Trizin, the Head of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism

Based on the disposition, aptitude, and inclinations of individuals, the precious teachings of the Victorious One, the Incomparable Buddha, flourished in the Land of Snows as the source of the merit field for all. With this background, in the beginning, the Khon Konchog Gyalpo founded Palden Sakya and the Great Compassionate One, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo, established it us an Order later to be known atone of the four major Buddhist Orders of Tibet.

Then Sakya Pandita, the uncle, and Chogyal Phagpa, the nephew, Dharma Masters, caused it to flourish extensively throughout Tibet, Mongolia, and China, and for the next 11 generations, the Khdn masters presided over the great Dharma seat of the Sakya.

Later, the tradition continued to flourish under the spiritual leadership of four separate Labrangs. Finally, from that time right up to the present day, the successive descendants of Ducho Labrangh hereditary lineage have assumed the role of both administrator and spiritual head of the Order.

Among these Ducho masters, Jamgon Wangda Nyingpo had four sons. Two were renunciate monks, whose Lubrangs existed only during their lifetime, while the other two each held separate hereditary and spiritual lineages, which have come to be well known from that time until now as the Dolmu Phodrang and the Phuntsok Phodrang, and the role of Sakya Trizin has alternately been assumed by one of these Phodrungs, based on the seniority of the age of the designates.

At this moment, as if at a time of a new “age of perfection:’ when both Khon Families enjoy unprec­ edented harmony, pure in our samoyas, while we have similar aspirations, and when both KhSn dungseys have carried and are carrying on their extensive Dharma studies, I wish and thus suggest a change and an improvement in the designation of the position of the head of the Sakya Order based on mutual discussion and a resolution reached thereof This assaredly will cause increased stability in the continuation of the teachings and administtation of the Sakya.

Bearing in mind that while we the elder genetutions are still thriving and are thus able to take the opportunity to provide guidance, I suggest that both generations of Phodrangs take turns in assum­ ing the responsibility of the role of Sakya Trizin by seniority of age and with the requited qualifi­ cations of the designate for a three-year term. This arrangement has great significance in that all members will have the opportunity to serve as Sakya Trizin.

The qualifications shall consist of the complete fulfillment of the studies of all the basic courses of Rites and Rituals of the Sakya; studies in all the major philosophies; having received empower­ ments,  reading transmissions,  and pith  instructions; having studied the teachings of the ance­stral Dharma teachings of both Lamdre Ts’ogshey and Lamdre Lobshey, along with other important teachings and Empowerments; and having accomplished the basic recitation retreat on Hevajra and other important tutelary deities.

This recommended duration of the term of the Sakya Trizin is based on an opinion of Vajradhara Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, who, as we have heard, suggested that “the post of Sakya Trizin be made like the four Labrangs of the Ngor Monastery, which take turns every three years:’ At the end of the three-year term, the post must be turned over to the next designate without fail.

During the term of each Sakya Trizin, his responsibilities shall include conducting any one of these major teachings of Lamdre Ts’ogshey, Lamdre Lobshey, the Collection of Sadhanas, and the Co­ llection of Tantras; presiding over the important traditional annual dücho, the Commemorative Offering Ceremonies of the seat of the Sakya; overseeing the training and studies of the Sakya monasteries; seeking to find ways to promote and grow the Dharma teachings through study and practices; fulfilling the wishes of Sakya followers; and, last, it is extremely important he carry on exceptional work that includes the improvement of all the areas of Dharma, the monasteries, and the Sakya followers.

Ever since I assumed the responsibility of the leadership, just before the “change of time:’ 1959— and a long time has passed since then—it may be possible that at times I, as Sakya Trizin, have been seen to have benefited from privileges. In reality, as soon as I assumed the responsibility, the “change of time” took place. When I arrived as a refugee, there was nothing in terms of monasteries and community in India that we could depend upon. For everything we needed or had depended upon, we had to ask of acquaintances and had to face many hundreds of difficulties for a long pe­ riod of time. This is neither a “boast” nor have I anything to show of accomplishment, and yet, as all can see for themselves, I have at least maintained the presence and the name of the Sakya Order.

Seeing, at the moment, the importance of the need for directives for the future of the Order, I offer the gift of this suggestion for a new mode of selecting future Sakya Trizins. With the mutual agree­ ment and decision reached by both the Phodrangs to this suggestion and with the blessed confir­ mation received from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this new mode of selecting the Sakya Trizin will then be put into practice.

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