HIS HOLINESS JIGDAL DAGCHEN SAKYA
Published by the official website for Sakya Monastery, Seattle.
His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche (the founder and Principal Guru of Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Seattle, WA) was born into the Phuntsok branch of the Khön lineage in 1929 in southwestern Tibet. As imminent successor to the throne of Sakya and future head of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism, under the guidance of his father and other distinguished Lamas, Dagchen Rinpoche received instructions in the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana systems of Buddhism. Upon completion of this comprehensive training, Dagchen Rinpoche received the unbroken Khön lineage transmission of the Sakya Vajrakilaya and Hevajra initiations and the complete Lamdre Tsogshe (Path and Fruit), which are the main teachings of the Sakya tradition. Following this period of intensive study and initiations, Dagchen Rinpoche went into a long series of study and meditation retreats. He then conferred the Lamdre Tsogshe to monks, nuns, and lay people of Sakya.
After the passing of his father, Dagchen Rinpoche took a leave of absence as ruler of Sakya in order to travel to East Tibet to increase his knowledge and experience of the Dharma, by studying with the renowned teachers of that area. Two of these lamas also became Dagchen Rinpoche's root gurus, Dzongsar Khyentse Jamyang Chökyi Lodrö and Dilgo Khyentse Rabsal Dawa. These two highly realized masters helped to formulate Dagchen Rinpoche's non-sectarian approach to Buddhism. After completing his major religious studies, Dagchen Rinpoche bestowed initiations and teachings throughout East Tibet and established 17 Sakya colleges and 10 retreat centers in that region. In 1955, he conferred the Lamdre Tsogshe, for a second time, to over 1200 practitioners in Minyag, East Tibet.
In 1959 Dagchen Rinpoche, his wife H.E. Dagmo Kusho Sakya, and their family were forced to flee to India, where Dagchen Rinpoche became the Sakya representative to the Tibetan Religious Office in Exile, which was instrumental in arranging for the resettlement of Tibetan refugees. The following year he was invited to participate in a research project on Tibetan civilization at the University of Washington sponsored by a Rockefeller Foundation grant.
Dagchen Rinpoche has resided in Seattle since 1960 along with his wife, five sons and other family members. Appreciating the benefits of American freedom and prosperity, he works actively to help preserve and share the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. To this end he has given extensive empowerments and teachings throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. In 1974 Dagchen Rinpoche co-founded with Dezung Rinpoche the original Dharma Center called Sakya Tegchen Choling. In 1984, the group reorganized and the name Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism was adopted. H.H. Jigdal Dachen Sakya established Sakya Monastery as a seat of cultural and religious learning in the West.