His Holiness Kyabgon Gongma Trichen Rinpoche, the 41st Sakya Trizin, arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday evening to a rapturous and heartfelt welcome, from the crowds gathered to meet him at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport all the way to his official reception at the International Buddhist Academy in the Buddhist enclave of Boudha, under the protective gaze of the Boudhanath Stupa.
The International Buddhist Academy (IBA) was founded in 2001 by Khenchen Appey Rinpoche (1926–2010) as an educational institute established to uphold and disseminate the Buddhadharma and the teachings of the Sakyapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin is the spiritual head of the institute.
Throngs of well-wisher lined the road leading to the IBA in the hope of catching a glimpse of His Holiness, while guests and dignitaries assembled in the academy’s forecourt, waiting into the evening for His Holiness to arrive.
His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, is scheduled to spend a month in Nepal, where he will bestow a series of empowerments, refuge ceremonies, and consecration rituals at numerous monasteries and Buddhist institutes.
“Since His Holiness’ previous visit, we’ve had the earthquakes of 2015 and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a Nepalese attendee, speaking anonymously. “Last time he was here, he was in the birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini, where he gave the great instruction for the new Sakya lineage system. For Nepal, we have had the great merit to see many great Tibetan teachers here. These days, there are very few teachers of the 41st Sakya Trizin’s stature, and for him to come to Nepal and be here for almost a month to give so many empowerment at at his age, it’s a very special thing that shows the people of Nepal still have great merit.
“Some of my own friends and family will be receiving empowerments for the first time: they’ve never received a Buddhist empowerment before, and now they’re becoming Buddhists officially. It’s so beautiful for them to receive this from His Holiness.”
His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin is one of the most senior lamas in Tibetan Buddhism today, considered by many Tibetan Buddhists to be second only to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in terms of the world’s preeminent living masters.
Born in Tibet in 1945, His Holiness became the Sakya throne-holder at the age of seven, after he was recognized by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. As the 41st Sakya Trizin, the supreme head of the Khon Sakya lineage, founded at Sakya Monastery in Tibet in 1073, he was the longest reigning Sakya Trizin, holding the office for more than 50 years until 2017. His Holiness is widely regarded as an emanation of Manjushri, a yidam and bodhisattva of wisdom.
As a highly respected spiritual leader, His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin has founded several major centers of Buddhist learning and monastic practice in India and Nepal, where the scholarship, practices, and traditions of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism are sustained in exile.
A reformed system of throne-holder succession for the lineage was implemented during the 23rd Great Sakya Monlam prayer festival on 11 December 2014. Under the revised system, proposed by the 41st Sakya Trizin, members of both the Dolma Phodrang and Phuntsok Phodrang lineages will serve as Sakya Trizin for a three-year term, according to their seniority and qualifications, and with the possibility that an office-holder may take office more than once in his lifetime.
Ratna Vajra Rinpoche was enthroned as the 42nd Sakya Trizin on 9 March 2017—the first Sakya Trizin to be enthroned under the new system.* The current throne-holder is the 43rd Sakya Trizin Gyana Vajra Rinpoche.
On whichever path you follow—the Mahayana path, and especially the Vajrayana path, which includes visualizations, recitations, and foundation practices—all practices are of course very, very important. But the most important practice of all is the cultivation of compassion. Without compassion, no matter what you do, it will not be the direct cause of enlightenment. For a practice to be a direct cause of enlightenment, you must have enlightenment mind. And to have proper enlightenment mind, you need compassion. Without compassion you can’t have the other qualities. — His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin
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