11 Feb 2011 was the first time I met His Holiness Sakya Trizin, the Head of the Sakya tradition. His Holiness is in town. I went, following the instruction of my guru. That night His Holiness was giving the empowerment of Buddha Amitabha and I was fortunate to receive the blessing, even though I am not familiar with the Sakya tradition.
His Holiness Sakya Trizin Ngawang Kunga was born in Tsedong near Shigatse (South Tibet) on the first of the 8th Tibetan month (September 7, 1945). "Sakya Trizin" means "The Throneholder of Sakya". His Holiness is the 41st Patriarch of the Sakya tradition, one of the four main traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, and is a direct descendant in the Khon Lineage, a very ancient Tibetan religious family which according to legend had celestial origins.
In the course of intensive studies at Sakya, Ngor, Lhasa, and later in India, he received all the major transmissions of the Sakya Lineage such as the exoteric and esoteric Lamdre (Path containing its Result) Teachings, the Drubthab Kundu (a collection of Tantric empowerments and practices), the Vajra-yogini Instructions, the Zhenpa Zhidral, etc. From a tender age he memorised many texts, like the Hevajra-tantra, performed many retreats and gave numerous empowerments. He also received many teachings from the other traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
He formally acceded to the Throne of Sakya in early 1959. Almost immediately after the coronation ceremony, he had to leave for India because of the Chinese Communist takeover of Tibet. He stayed first in Sikkim, where he started to learn English, then moved to Darjeeling where he spent three years mastering philosophical studies under Khenpo Rinchen. Finally he went to Mussoorie and in March 1964, founded the Sakya Centre in Rajpur, between the Mussoorie and Dehra Dun towns. At that time he studied the Tantras intensively and received many prodound explanations from Khenpo Appey until 1967. He also continued his studies of English. From 1971 to 1972 he received the Gyude Kundu, a major collection of consecrations, from the His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.
His Holiness has been ceaselessly serving the Dharma. He has countless disciples in India and other countries, and has made several journeys to the West where he has taught extensively. There are now several Sakya Centres in India, Nepal and Singapore, and more than 15 in Western countries.