Golden Nuggets from His Holiness the Sakya Trizin

His Holiness the Sakya Trizin is the supreme head of the Sakya Order, one of the four lineages that comprise the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. A highly accomplished Buddhist master considered to be an emanation of Manjushri, he was formally installed as the Sakya throne holder in 1959 at the age of 14, the 41st in a lineage dating back to the year 1073.

Praised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as “the king of Vajrayana practitioners”, the Sakya Trizin has founded numerous Sakya institutions since fleeing Tibet in 1959. He is fluent in English, teaches extensively and has bestowed the complete Lam Dre teaching cycle over 18 times in various parts of the world.

His 2011 Western Hemisphere Teaching Tour brought him to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia in August, where he was welcomed by Sakya centers and members of the Tibetan community. Terri Luoto of Portland was among those who received teachings:

His Holiness the Sakya Trizin recently gave teachings and empowerments at the Portland Sakya Center. Our teacher Ani Gilda Paldron, as ordained sangha, made it possible for us to sit in the front row. It was impossible not to see and feel his great wisdom and compassion, which I still continue to see and feel.

I and others from my sangha family were granted an audience with His Holiness following his teachings on “Parting from the Four Attachments” and the Empowerments of Padmasambhava and Manjushri. His Holiness is said to be a reflecting emanation of both.

In his quarters, he talked gently with us and answered questions. He commented about how beautiful Portland is and how he has enjoyed this tour, which included Central and South America.

Rosetta Hurley, our Astoria, Oregon lama, asked what His Holiness would say about being both a Buddhist and a social activist. He replied, “Yes, in this time, it is especially important.”

One of her students asked him to advise what is the best form of meditation and practice for Westerners. His Holiness recommended reading Shantideva’s “The Way of the Bodhisattva” and practicing the Avalokiteshvara Sadhana.

When someone in the room referred to His Holiness as a Buddha he said, “Me? No, I am not a Buddha, I have Buddha Nature. We all are the same in that way, we all have the same potential.”

As I reflect on his teachings that statement is what fills me like a blaze of Buddha light, what cuts through my ordinary perceptions like the sword of Manjushri. I am humbled beyond words. Truly his gentle demeanor, quiet speaking tones and the teachings on Bodhicitta filled all of the spaces in my being at a cellular level. What I am left with is the realization that he and all of our teachers is here for us, all of us. That it is their purpose to demonstrate and impart these precious truths so that we may improve our view, take action, and ultimately care for ourselves and one another.

This is my golden nugget: Live these precious lives in a way that removes our obscurations (until Enlightenment is attained) so that we may be of benefit to others. In the meantime, don’t raise any more dust (smile). So far it has been my experience that all of these great lamas teach the same concept: Practice, Practice, Practice. It seems to work.

My heartfelt gratitude goes to all those who made this wonderful opportunity available.


For more information about Sakya centers in the Northwest, please visit:

Contributor: Terri Luoto.

Photos: © Lotus Johnson.