Statue of Lord Buddha in the Bhumisparsha - Earth Touching Mudra, Tsog
Kor evening, Tibetan Buddhism, Seattle, Washington, USA
A Brief History of Sakya Monastery
Alexander Berzin, 1991, expanded September 2003
Original version published in "Sakya Monasteries." Chö-Yang, Year of Tibet Edition (Dharamsala, India), (1991).
In the Manjushri Root Tantra (‘Jam-dpal rtsa-rgyud), Buddha had prophesied that a Sakya Monastery would cause his teachings to flourish in the Land of Snows. The site of this monastery was also prophesied by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava (Gur-ru Rin-po-che Pad-ma ‘byung-gnas). Several stupas had already been built at the monastery’s future location, when Atisha (Jo-bo-rje dPal-ldan A-ti-sha) (982-1053) stopped there in 1040. He saw on the mountainside a syllable "Hrih," seven "Dhih," and one "Hung," and prophesied that an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, seven of Manjushri, and one of Vajrapani would grace this site.
In 1073, Konchog-gyelpo (dKon-mchog rgyal-po) (1034-1102) of the Kon (‘Khon) family established the Pelden Sakya Monastery (dPal-ldan Sa-skya dGon-pa) in Tsang (gTsang) province of Central Tibet. The monastery, and subsequently the tradition he founded, derived its name from the color of the soil of its location. "Sakya" means literally "gray earth."