Sakya is one of the four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism. It also spells as “Sagya”
The Tibetan word “Sakya” means gray-white soil, because the soil where the main monastery of this sect “Sakya Monastery” was established is gray-white, which local people believes this is an auspicious land.
Because the walls of Sakya Monastery are painted with red, white and blue stripes that symbolize the wisdom, compassion and strength of the three Bodhisattvas of Tantric Buddhism, Manjushri, Avalokitesvara and Vajra Pradesh, therefore it is often called “Flower Religion” which however, is not inaccurate
Because Sakya Pa had received strong support from the central government of Yuan Dynasty in history, so that it had become a prominent sect of Tibetan Buddhism that holds both political and religious powers. Therefore, the name of this sect was once the name of the local regime of Tibet.
The religious leaders of the Sakya sect are called Sakya Dharma King, and there are two different systems of monks, one is Teacher and apprentice, the another one is hereditary(secular people)
The teachings of Sakya Pa advocate the cultivation of both exotoric and esoteric teachings, firstly to learn exotoric teachings and then esoteric teachings, and paying special attention to the teaching of the “Dharma of the fruition of following the Buddhist path” — laying the foundation of exotoric teachings and taking the esoteric teachings as the ultimate method.
In addition, the system inheritance of “Kalachakra Dharma” and “Vajradhara” occupies an important position in Sakya Pa, and Kalachakra Dharma is also one of the most important disciplines of Tibetan Buddhism
Sakya Pa is the earliest new translation of the esoteric mantra, and its founding time coincided with the prosperous period of Kadam Pa that of the Indian monk Atisha entering Tibet. And Sakya Pa was greatly influenced by Kadam Pa.
Sakya Pa was founded in the 11th century by Khon Goncho Gyalpo (1034-1102 AD), and developed by his son Khon Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158 AD)
Sakya Pa leader is hereditary by the “Khon” family
The name of the Sakya Pa is derived from the name of Sakya monastery.
The major monastery of Sakya Pa, the Sakya monastery, was founded in 1073 AD by Khon Goncho Gyalpo
According to the historical records of Sakya Pa: “Khon Goncho Gyalpo is a descendant of the noble family “Khon” in the Tubo period
Khon Luvi Wangpo, the son of Kun Banpoche who was the minister of the Tubo King Trisong Detsen, was the first monk of Khon family. He was one of the seven enlightened monks in the Tubo period, and also one of the first group of monks in the history of Tibetan Buddhism.
Khon Goncho Gyalpo had a brother named Khon Rabshe Tsichen who was a monk.
Khon Rabshe Tsichen believed in the Nyingma sect. He was knowledgeable, strict in keeping precepts, and proficient in esoteric methods. He was not only the leader of the Khon family at that time, but also the last master in Nyingma Pa since the Khon family believed in the Nyingma teaching.
The historical records of Tibetan Buddhism take Khon Rabshe Tsichen as the dividing point. Previously, the Khon family believed in the “Nyingma Pa“. The Khon family converted to believe in “Sakya Pa” ever since Khon Goncho Gyalpo
In 1073 AD, the Sakya Monastery was established
In 1244 AD, the 60-year-old eminent monk of the Sakya Pa, Sakya Pandita (referred to as Saban), was invited by the messenger of K?den (1206-1251 AD) to set off for Liangzhou.
In 1247 AD, Sakya Pandita met with Koden, and used scholars from the Western Regions (Uyghurs) as translators to preach the Dharma to Koden whom built the “Baita Monastery” for Pandita and granted Pandita the secular power to rule the Tubo region, while Pandita accepted the jurisdiction of the Yuan Dynasty. From then on, Tibet was officially incorporated into the Chinese territory, and it was historically known as the “Liangzhou Alliance“
In 1251 AD, Mengke (1209-1259 AD) led Sakya Pandita’s nephew Phagpa to Liupan Mountain to meet Kublai Khan（1215-1294 AD）. In the same year, Phagpa became the new leader of Sakya Pa, known in history as one of the five founders of Sakya Pa, he then followed Kublai Khan.
In 1254 AD, Phagpa was bestowed the “Edicton preferential treatment of monks” which was stipulated that Mongolian officials were not allowed to stay in monasteries, and they were not allowed to assign Ural servants to monks. The many preferential treatment for monks stipulated in this edict can also be regarded as offerings made by Kublai Khan to Phagpa
In 1260 AD, Kublai Khan ascended the throne, and named Phagpa the “National Teacher”, and to be awarded the jade seal, served as the Dharma King of the Central Plains, and led all sects of Buddhism of Yuan Dynasty
In AD 1260, 1268, 1287 and 1334, the Yuan Dynasty dispatched officials to Tibet to conduct a large-scale census check and identified Tibet as 130,000 households.
In 1263 AD, Phagpa returned to Tibet and was named the head of politics and religion in the Tibetan area before leaving, and was bestowed jewels and seals.
In 1268 AD, with the support of the government of Yuan Dynasty, Sakya Pa ruled the whole Tibet, and presided over the division of 130,000 households in U-tsang, and established a local government of the unity of politics and religion – the Sakya Regime
In 1280 AD, after the death of Phagspa, his half-brother Rinchen Gyaltsen succeeded the National Teacher of Yuan Dynasty.
Later, it was passed down from generation to generation, forming the lineage of National Teacher of Yuan Dynasty.
During this period, the monasteries and teachings of Sakya Pa spread to the eastern Tibet of Kham and Amdo; it also spread to Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and even now Republic of Kalmykia, Russia.
In 1324 AD, when Phagpa was the National Teacher of Yuan Dynasty, 4 Ladrang were formed, which are Zhi thog Ladrang, Lhakhang Ladrang, Rinchengang Ladrang, and Ducho Ladrang
In 1351 AD, Sakya Pa’s power in Tibet was replaced by the Ta’i Situ Jangchub Gyaltsen (1302-1364 AD）of Phagdru Kagyu, and Sakya Pa gradually declined.
In 1413 AD, Cheng-tsu of Ming Dynasty conferred the eminent monk Khonga Drashi (1349-1425 AD) as the Mahayana Dharma king (Thegchen Chorje), commonly known as Sakya Gongma Rinpoche, or Sakya Dharma King (Sakya Trizin), Sakya Pa only kept a small land near Sakya Monastery
According to the latest statistics, there are 141 Sakya monasteries in the entire Tibetan area, of which 94 are located in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The Four Ladrangs of Sakya
Phagpa divided his half-brothers into four ladrang, and let them to be the head lama of each ladrang.
The four ladrang are Zhi thog ladrang, Lhakhang Ladrang, Rinchengang Ladrang, and Ducho Ladrang
Zhi thog ladrang, it was established during the period when Namk Rab Gyaltsen was the abbot of Sakya Monastery. When the son of Namk Rab Gyaltsen, Kunga Gyaltsen (1331-1399 AD), was the abbot of Zhi thog ladrang, he moved the Ladrang from Sakya to Chomi, and his descendants successively served as abbot of Zhi thog ladrang
Lhakhang Ladrang, The first abbot of “Lakang Ladrang” was Kunga Gyaltsen Palzangpo (1310-1358 AD), and his son Chokyi Gyaltsen (1332-1359 AD) ) was the second abbot. Lakang Ladrang had been presided over by members of this family successively. By 16th century, Lhakhang Ladrang declined.
Rinchengang Ladrang, it began with Jamyang Dunyue Gyaltsen (1310-1344 AD), and the other abbots were followed by Dawa Gyaltsen, Jamyang Chinpo, Sherab Gyaltsen. The lineage of Rinchengang Ladrang was stopped around the 15th century after it was passed down to the fourth generation
Ducho Ladrang, it is the direct line of descent of Ladrang among the four major Ladrang of Sakya Pa, and it is also the only one that has not been interrupted. Ducho Ladrang begins with Kunga Lepa Beyungna Gyaltsen Palzangpo (1308-1336 AD), who was appointed as to be a magistrate in Tibetan areas during Yuan Dynasty . The Abbot of Ducho Ladrang is also hereditary from father to son.
Sakya Pa adopts two inheritance methods of “Lineage legitimacy” and “Sakya Dharma legitimacy”
Sakya Dharma legitimacy
After Yuan Dynasty, Sakya Pa produced three branches: Ngoba (also known as Ngor), Zongba (also known as “Kungar”), and Chaba (also known as Tsagor)
It adopts the inheritance method passed down from generation to generation by Khon family.
For example: the five founders of Sakya Pa, namely the first founder Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158 AD), the second founder Sonam Tsemo (1142-1182 AD), the third founder Drakpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216 AD), the fourth founder Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (AD 1182-1251), the fifth founder Phagpa Lodroch Gyaltsen (also known as “Drogon Chogyal Phagpa”, 1235-1280 AD, nephew of Sakya Pandita).
Characteristics of Sakya Pa
First, Sakya Pa is always attached importance to and followed the “Dharma of the fruition of following the Buddhist path” in teaching
Second, the basic teachings are “Kalachakra Dharma” and “Vajradhara”. And advocated the dual cultivation of the exotoric and esoteric buddhism, and paid equal attention to it.
Third, the living Buddhas of the temples of this sect are inherited through reincarnation, while the Dharma King system adopts the method of marrying a wife and having children to inherit.
The Tibetan scripture library behind the Buddhist hall of Sakya Monastery can be called a repository of wisdom. There are more than 10,000 kinds of Buddhist scriptures in the collection, which were meticulously copied with ink mixed with gold, silver, cinnabar and precious stones by the scriptwriters from the three regions of U, Tsang and the eastern Tibet of Kham during the period of Phagpa. It is a treasure of Buddhism.
There is a “square sutra” in Sakya Monastery, which is one meter in length and one meter in width, its top and bottom are protected with splints, and the entire content was written in gold juice. It is regarded as a treasure among treasures.
The entire Buddhist Scriptures which Sakya Monastery has is about more than 40,000 volumes, among of which including a large number of “Palm-leaf Scriptures”.
This is a scripture written on the Palm-leaf. It is known as the “Buddhist Panda” and originates from ancient India. The Palm-leaf manuscripts are mostly Buddhist classics, and some of them are ancient Indian Sanskrit documents, which have high cultural relic value. Palm-leaf manuscripts has a history of more than 2500 years. Some of it were written in two languages, and some are acupunctured. It is an important source for studying ancient Tibetan culture, language, Buddhism, and religious art. Palm-leaf manuscripts was written mainly between the 8th and 14th centuries. Due to the dry climate in Tibet, and unique conservation methods, the Palm-leaf manuscripts found in Tibet are very well preserved.
In 1550 AD, the Sakya sect established the Dege Sutra Printing Institute (Dege Parkhang) at Gonchen Monastery in Dege County, which is one the most famous sutra printing institutes in the Tibetan area.It specially publishes and prints Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, important works of various sects, calendars, medical books, and others. It has played an important role in protecting and promoting Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Dharmapala Rakshita (1268-1287 AD), the National Teacher of the Yuan Dynasty, convened eminent monks of Tibetan, Chinese Han, and Indian to Beijing using the original Sanskrit text to collate the Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist “Tripitaka”, which took three years to compile the “Until Yuan Dynasty Dharma Reviewing and Approving General Record”, that of laid the foundation for the compilation and engraving of the Tibetan Tripitaka.
Sakya Monastery is now till the monastery with the richest collection of books in Tibetan Buddhism in the entire Tibetan Cultural Area
Important Sakya monasteries
The three great monasteries of Sakya Pa
Sakya Monastery (Northern Part) was founded in 1073 AD by Khon Goncho Gyalpo (1034-1102 AD). It is divided into northern part and southern part, of which the northern part of monastery is on the north bank of Chongchu River, built on the southern slope of Benbo Mountain, and the southern part of monastery is on the south bank of Chongchu River, built in the plain area.
The Northern part of monastery was originally only the main part of Sakya Monastery. In 1265 AD, Phagpa returned to Sakya, and began to establish the local government in Tibet. As a result, the Northern part of Sakya Monastery became the seat of the local administratiion of Tibet. On the southern part of Sakya Monastery, there is a tall wall around the main hall, which is more than 2 meters thick and about 5 meters in height. There are corner towers in the four corners of the wall. Sakya monastery is very rich in eligious relics, ancient books, and sutras
Also known as “Ngor Wam Chosdan Monastery”, located in Samzhubze District, Shigatse City, it was founded in 1429 AD by the 21st abbot of Sakya Monastery, Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo(1382-1456 AD), who was also the founder of the Sakya Pa’s Ngoba branch; It is an important place for the late Sakya Pa to spread tantra in Tibet.
Since the establishment of Ngor Gonpa, Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo had received a wide range of disciples to spread the Sakya teachings, and gradually became one of the three major branches of the Sakya Pa’ esoteric teaching, known as the “Ngoba branch” which has far-reaching influence as far as Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan
Also known as “Gongkar Dorjedan Monastery”, Located in Gongga County, it was founded by Thuton Kunga Namgyal(1432-1496 AD) in 1464 AD. At that time, it was an important place for the dissemination of the tantra of Sakya Pa in the Shannan area, mainly teaching is tantra of the Kungar branch of Sakya Pa
The Five Founders of Sakya Pa
The first founder (White cloth) Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158 AD),
The second founder (White cloth) Sonam Tsemo (1142-1182 AD),
The third founder (White cloth) Drakpa Gyaltsen (1147-1216 AD),
The fourth founder (Red cloth) Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (AD 1182-1251),
The fifth founder (Red cloth) Phagpa Lodroch Gyaltsen (also known as “Drogon Chogyal Phagpa”, 1235-1280 AD, nephew of Sakya Pandita).
Relationship of the Five Sakya Founders
The 1st founder (White cloth) Kunga Nyingpo had four sons
The eldest son, Kungaba, went to India to study Buddhism, and died in Magadha Kingdom, at the age of 22;
The second Son Sonam Tsemo of Kunga Nyingpo was the 2nd founder (White cloth) of the Five Sakya Founders
The third son Drakpa Gyaltsen of Kunga Nyingpo was the 3rd founder (White cloth) of the Five Sakya Founders
The forth son Pakchen Vopo of Kunga Nyingpo did not become a monk, he was proficient in Sakya teachings, especially in medicine, and he had practiced medicine all his life, and he had two sons
The eldest son, Kunga Gyaltsen, was awarded the title of “Pandita” and was the 4th founder (Red cloth) of the Five Sakya Founders
The second son, Sangcha Sonam Gyaltsen, and his eldest son, Phagpa, was the 5th founder (Red cloth) of the Five Sakya Founders
Three Founders in White Clothes
The first three founders of the Five Founders of Sakya Pa are called “Three Founders in White Clothes”, because they did not officially ordained as monks, but dressed in common clothes in white color as laymen, so they were called “Three Founders in White Clothes”
Two Founders in Red Clothes
The last two founders of the Five Founders of Sakya Pa are called “Two Founders in Red Clothes”, because they were both received the ordination of monks, and wore red monk robes, so they were called “Two Founders in Red Clothes”
Brief Biography of the Five Founders of Sakya Pa
The 1st Founder of Sakya Pa (White cloth)– Kunga Nyingpo
Kunga Nyingpo was the only son of Khon Goncho Gyalpo (1034-1102 AD). Kunga Nyingpo studied buddhism from his father when he was a child. When Kunga Nyingpo was ten years old, his father died. After his father passed away, his mother handed over the presidency of Sakya Monastery to Rinchen Drakpa （1040 – 1111 AD), whom was also known as “Bari Lotsawa”, a great translator
And Kunga Nyingpo worshipped and studied from famous teachers from India and Tibet, such as Tsangde Dama Nyingpo, Chung Rinchen Drakpa, and Bari Lotsawa translators and other eminent monks .
He studied a lot of the teachings and rituals of exotoric and trantra, including the “Dharma of the fruition of following the Buddhist path （Ariya-phala）”.
In particular, when Kunga Nyingpo studied and practiced the “Manjushri Cycle of Teachings”, he claimed to have personally met the appearance of Manjushri Bodhisattva. As a result, the teacher gave him special wisdom teachings such as “Stay away from the four greed”.
In the end, Kunga Nyingpo succeeded in his studies and became a master of Tantric Buddhism with great power. He was considered the incarnation of Guanyin Bodhisattva
In 1054 AD, when Kunga Nyingpo was 20 years old, Rinchen Drakpa handed him back the post of Abbot of Sakya Monastery, and Kunga Nyingpo became the abbot of Sakya Monastery. Until the age of 67, Kunga Nyingpo continued to serve as the abbot of Sakya Monastery. During these 47 years, Sakya Pa had developed rapidly, the teaching system has tended to be perfected, the sectarian power has grown rapidly, and the social influence has also expanded rapidly. Therefore, later generations named Kunga Nyingpo “Sachen”, which means the first master of the Sakya Pa
Kunga Nyingpo never became a monk in his life, but a great virtue in the identity of a lay Buddhist. He had four sons, namely Kungaba, Sonam Tsemo, Drakpa Gyaltsen, and Pakchen Vopo.
Kungaba went to India to study Buddhism, and died in Magadha Kingdom, at the age of 22;
Sonam Tsemo succeeded his father’s post, and became the 2nd founder of Sakya Pa;
Drakpa Gyaltsen succeeded his elder brother Sonam Tsemo’s post, and became the 3rd founder of Sakya Pa;
Pakchen Vopo (1150-1203 AD) did not become a monk, married a wife and started a family, and reproduced his descendants. His descendants became the 4th and 5th founder of Sakya Pa respectively.
The 2nd Founder of Sakya Pa (White cloth)– Sonam Tsemo
He followed his father Kunga Nyingpo to learn the Sakya teachings when he was young.
When he grew older, he went to Sangpu Monastery to worship Chapa·Chokyi Sengge (1099-1169 AD), a high-ranking monk of Kadam School, and learned the teachings of the exotoric and tantra, such as “The Five Teaching of Maitreya” and Logic
After the death of Kunga Nyingpo, Sonam Tsemo succeeded the post of his father and became the 2nd founder of Sakya Pa. But soon after Sonam Tsemo handed over the post of Sakya Monastery’s Abbot to his younger brother Drakpa Gyaltsen, and concentrated his energy and practice on the Dharma.
Sonam Tsemo was erudite and generalist in exotoric and tantra, and was well-known in the Tibetan Buddhist community at that time for his emphasis on tantric practice and strict observance of precepts;
He was also proficient in the “Five Sciences” of Tibetan culture, including: “Science of word, language”,”Science of causes, dialectics, logic”, “Science of medicine”, “Science of fine arts and crafts”, “Science of the supreme spirit”, he has contributed to the development of Tibetan traditional culture.
The works of Sonam Tsemo are compiled into a complete collection of 3 volumes, and Dege Printing Institute has this edition.
Note: There are two theories as to whether he served as the abbot of Sakya Monastery, and it is more credible to think that he did not serve as the abbot of Sakya Monastery.
The 3rd Founder of Sakya Pa (White cloth)– Drakpa Gyaltsen
When Drakpa Gyaltsen was a child, he followed his father Kunga Nyingpo to study buddhism until he was twelve years old. When he was eleven years old, he was able to give speeches of the esoteric teachings such as “Hevajra”, which shocked the people who knew him
When he was 13 years old, his elder brother Sonam Tsemo made him the abbot of Sakya Monastery, and he remained to be the abbot of Sakya Monastery until his death at the age of 70.
He served as the abbot of Sakya Monastery for 47 years, during which time he presided over the construction of the large-roofed Buddhist hall of the old Sakya monastery and the re- writing of Ganggyur in gold juice
He used all the wealth donated by others to make Buddha statues, pagodas or donated to poor farmers and herdsmen.
When he passed away after fifty-seven years as the abbot of Sakya Monastery, he had nothing left except a cushion and a set of monk robes.
The works of Drakpa Gyaltsen are compiled into a complete collection of 4 volumes, and Dege Printing Institute has this edition.
The 4th Founder of Sakya Pa (Red cloth)– Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen
Kunga Gyaltsen was the eldest son of Pakchen Vopo who was the youngest son of Kunga Nyingpo. He studied Buddhism with his uncle Drakpa Gyaltsen since he was a child, laying a good foundation for Buddhist knowledge.
In 1204 AD, Kunga Gyaltsen received the ordination of a monk from the Kashmiri master Shakya Shri Bhadra (1127-1225 AD) and learned “Pramanavarttika” from Dharmakirtti (about 634-673 AD) and other theories on Logic, as well as the classics and theories such as “Ornament of Clear Realization”, and also studied technology, astrology, phonology, medicine, rhetoric, poetry, singing and dancing and other Indian and Tibetan cultures .
Therefore, in the “Phyi dar” (AD 978 – till now) period of Tibetan Buddhism, Kunga Gyaltsen became a master of karma, medicine, technology, rhythm and Buddhism (including Prajna, Madhyamika, precepts, and Abhidharmakosa Sastra). As well as the four tantras of action, deeds, yoga and the Supreme Yoga Tantra), he is also proficient in rhetoric, rhythm, drama and astrology.
At that time, scholars in the Tibetan area who had mastered these ten disciplines (generally called “Ten Ming Studies”) were called Pandita. Kunga Gyaltsen received this title, namely Sakya Pandita, thus becoming the first great scholar to be known throughout the Tibetan region. As a great scholar, Sakya Pandita left a wealth of Buddhist works and cultural treatises to future generations.
Sakya Pandita was not only an eminent monk of Broad-minded Buddhism, but also an important political figure who contributed to the official incorporation of Tibet into the Chinese territory.
In AD 1247, Sakya Pandita arrived in Liangzhou at the invitation of Yuan Dynasty, and negotiated with the Great Khan of Kuodan the conditions for Tibet to submit to the central government of Yuan Dynasty. Thus laying the foundation for the Yuan Dynasty to exercise sovereignty over Tibet.
Sakya Pandita made contacts with various local forces of Tibet from Liangzhou, persuading them to accept the terms and submiting to Yuan Dynasty. In the end, Sakya Pandita successfully completed the important task that of submiting Tibet to the central government of Yuan Dynasty, but he failed to return to the Sakya Monastery and died in Liangzhou in 1251 at the age of seventy-two.
The 5th Founder of Sakya Pa (Red cloth)– Phagpa Lodroch Gyaltsen
(He is also known as “Drogon Chogyal Phagpa”, 1235-1280 AD, nephew of Sakya Pandita.
Phagpa’s real name was Lodroch Gyaltsen. He was the son of Sonam Gyaltsen, the younger brother of Sakya Pandita, who was his uncle.
Phagpa was intelligent and eager to learn since he was a child. He was able to lecture people at the age of eight. Coupled with the good education of his uncle Sakya Pandita, in addition to becoming a prominent figure in politics, he was also an eminent monk who was proficient in various religious knowledge.
At the age of ten, Phagpa went to Liangzhou with his uncle Sakya Pandita to negotiate with the Mongolian Khan. He began to get involved in politics at an early age, laying the foundation for his later political career.
At the age of seventeen, Phagpa was appointed as his successor by the dying Sakya Pandita, namely the Abbot of Sakya Monastery and the head of Sakya Pa. After the death of Sakya Pandita, Phagpa began to serve as the Sakya Monastery’s abbot and the leader of Sakya Pa, as well as to become the 5th Founder of Sakya Pa
Since then, Phagpa had gradually become a prominent figure who could represent the local forces of Tibet. He had played a major role in the local government in Tibet and even the central government of Yuan Dynasty.
In AD 1253, Phagpa was called to visit Kublai Khan. At that time, Kublai Khan, his wife and their children met Phagpa in the manner of a layman visiting a buddhism master. A total of twenty-five of them received tantra empowerment in front of Phagpa.
Kublai Khan offered treasures to Phagpa as an offering for empowerment.
In AD 1255, Phagpa returned to Tibet and received monk ordination from Kanchen Drakpa Sengge, completing the most solemn ceremony in the life of Buddhist monks. Not long after, Phagpa returned to Shangdu. At that time, the Mongolian Khan was able to treat different religions such as Buddhism and Taoism fairly. Therefore, there are often debates between Buddhism and Taoism. In order to resolve this matter, Kublai Khan presided over a debate to determine the merits of Buddhism and Daoism.
In AD 1258, a grand debate between Buddhism and Daoism was held in the palace of Shangdu. Seventeen people from each of the two parties participated. The thirteen-year-old Phasiba led the formation. The debate ended when the Taoist side admitted that it had failed in the debate. Seventeen Taoists cut their hair to become monks, and a few Taoist temples were also transformed into Buddhist monasteries.
In 1258, a grand debate on Buddhism and Taoism was held in the palace of Shangdu. Seventeen people from the two factions participated. The 23-year-old Phagpa led the group. The debate ended when the Taoist side admitted that it had failed in the debate. Seventeen Taoists cut their hair to become monks, and a few Taoist temples were also transformed into Buddhist monasteries.
In 1260 AD, Kublai Khan succeeded to the throne of Mongolian Khan, and immediately named Phagpa as the national teacher and awarded him a jade seal.
In 1264 AD, Kublai Khan moved the capital of Yuan Dynasty to Dadu (now Beijing), and set up a general institution within the central government to take charge of the affairs of Buddhism and Tibetan areas.
He also ordered Phagpa to take charge of the general institution as a national teacher.
In 1265 AD, Phagpa returned to Tibet, to raised funds for repairing Sakya Monastery, and also studied and practised Buddhist teachings and rituals, as well as knowledge of traditional Tibetan culture. In the same time, he also created the “Mongolian New Character” on the order of Kublai Khan. The Mongolian new character is a new script composed of 41 letters created by Phagpa according to the 30 letters of the Tibetan language. Later, the Mongolian new character was also called “Phagpa Mongolian script”
In 1270 AD, Phagpa conferred the Tantric empowerment to Kublai Khan for the second time. Because Ba Siba created a new script for the Yuan Dynasty, and awarded the sacred empowerment to the emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, it was highly valued by the emperor of the Yuan Dynasty. Kublai Khan promoted Phagpa to be the emperor’s teacher and gave him a jade seal.
In 1270 AD, Phagpa gave Kublai Khan Tantric empowerment for the second time. Because Phagpa created new characters for Yuan Dynasty and performed sacred empowerment for the emperor of Yuan Dynasty, so that he was highly regarded by the emperor of Yuan Dynasty. Kublai Khan promoted Phagpa to be the emperor’s teacher and bestowed him a jade seal.
In 1277 AD, Phagpa held a grand puja at Qumi Rinmo in Shigatse (near Natang Monastery), about 70,000 monks attended, which was historically known as “Qumi Puja”.
In 1280 AD, Phagpa died young at the age of 46 at Lhakhang Ladrang in Sakya Monastery.
In 1320 AD, Emperor Renzong (Ayu Parpata, 1285-1320 AD) of Yuan Dynasty issued an decree to build the temples of Phagpa in all parts of the country to commemorate this hero forever.
During his tenure as a national or imperial teacher, in addition to promoting the comprehensive development of politics, economy and culture in Tibetan areas, Phagpa made great contributions to the stability and development of the Yuan Dynasty, as well as the unity and cultural exchanges among all ethnic groups in the country. “
After the death of Phagpa, the emperor’s teacher system of Yuan Dynasty was not changed. For example, after Phagpa, his younger brother Rinchen Gyaltsen served as the emperor’s teacher, after that, Phagpa’s nephew Damapala Regasta served as the emperor’s teacher, and then Yeshe Rinchen served as the emperor’s teacher, resulting in a total of more than 10 emperor’s teacher, however, with the demise of the Yuan Dynasty, the emperor’s teacher system was terminated