Sakya-pa sect

Is a small sect, Gray Earth, which has its principal headquarters in the Sakya monastery southeast of Lhatse in Central Tibet. Sakya arose in 1073 and quickly allied itself with the Mongol court and the spiritual head, Sakya-Pandita became the teachings of the Mongol emperor. Sakya had its heyday in the 13th and until the middle of the 14th Century, when the Mongol Empire collapsed.
Sakya, can be described as a branch of Buddhism, where through Tantra and Sudra, it should be possible to achieve the Boddhisatthva stage in a single life. Sakya is known for her wizards and their magic.

At all in Sakya-pa, Sakya Trisin (“the heir to the throne”), is inherited by one family – the Khon family. The current Sakya Trizin lives in Dehra Dun in India and has founded several monasteries around the world. The very special thing about Sakya is that the high lama is “forced” to get married. There is no requirement for abstinence.

Sakya monasteries can always be recognized by their horizontal lines on the outer walls in gray, white and yellow.

Kagyu-pa and its subgroups

Is one of the largest in the field of Tibetan Buddhism. Kaguypa was founded by Tilopa in the 11th Century. Tilopa passed the teaching on to Naropa, who in turn passed it on to Marpa. Marpa’s most famous disciple was Milarepa, Tibet’s greatest and most respected poet, who meditated in a cave for over six years, wearing only a cotton cloth, hence the name Mila-repa, Cotton-clad Mila.

The teachings of Kagyu-pa go pretty directly from the spiritual master, or guru to the student. There is also talk of “the school of oral tradition”. Kagyu concentrates on practical mysticism and on shortening the long journey of soul migration towards Nirvana, through physical and psychological activities such as Hatha yoga, breathing exercises and the attainment of ecstatic states. In addition, it goes up a lot in Bardö – a kind of death technique, about how to behave in the very moment of death.

One of Marpa and Milarepa’s disciples, Gampopa, founded in it. 12th century a sub-sect to Kagyu, the so-called Karma-Kagyu-pa with Gyalwa Karmapa as spiritual head. The first Gyalwa Karmapa was named Dusum Khenpo and was one of Gampopa’s best disciples. He founded the main monastery located in Tsurphu north of Lhasa. It was primarily the Karmapa sect that in the 16th & 17th centuries took the lead in the struggle against the reformed sect, Gelug-pa, for state and religious power over Tibet.

The 16th Gyalwa Karmapa fled in 1959 to Rumtek in Sikkim, where there is now a “second” headquarters for the sect. He died in 1981. The current Gyalwa Karmapa is named Yurgen Thinley Dorje, was born in the mid-1980s and lives in Tsurphu, Tibet.

Kagyu and Karma-Kagyu, like the other “red hats”, do not demand celibacy. The Karmapa branch is also called the black hats. Karmapa is the most widespread sect among Western Buddhists.
Of other Kagyu-pa branches should be mentioned:
Drikung Kagyu, was founded by Drikung To the monastery in the upper Kyichu valley in 1179 by Kyopa ​​Gout Gonpo Rinchenpel. The current head of Drikung Kagyupa is HH 37. Drikung Kyabgon, who is staying in India.

Drukpa Kagyu, was founded by Lingje Repa and Tsangpa Gyare. Drukpa Kagyupa is divided into 3 “levels” an upper, middle and lower, which correspond to the spread of the branch over the geographical divisions of Tibet. The current head is HH 12. Gyalwang Drukchen Rinpoche Shangpa Kagyu, is descended from the Tibetan Tantric master Khyungpo Naljor, who visited Nepal and India 3 times and received instruction and lessons in tantra. The name Shangpa originates from the Shang Valley in Tsang province in Central Tibet.

At all, Kalu Rinpoche, whose current incarnation was born in 1990 and found by Tai Situpa in 1992. The main monastery is Samdrub Dhargye Ling, Sonada near Darjeeling, India.
In addition, there are: Dagpo and Taglung.

Gelug-pa sect

Is the so-called yellow-hat sect that has had the political and religious power for the last 400 years. The forerunner of the Reformed sect is Kadam-pa, whose founder, Atisha around the year 1010, among other things introduced monastic order and demanded strict monastic discipline and celibacy from his followers, which led to the great reformer, Tsong Khapa, founding the Gelugpa sect in the 14th century.

It is said that Tsong Khapa lifted Tibet from humiliation and moral depravity and that he gathered the holy scriptures in Tibet into one (two) great work (s), the 108 volume Kanjur, which is the “bible” itself, and the comments to it in it. 225 volume store Tanjur. At the same time, a strict monastic order was introduced, without alcohol, meat and a requirement for total celibacy.

According to, Tsong Khapa’s teaching was based on a relative preaching, which means that the students’ abilities should determine how far they should be able to move up in the “hierarchy”, so that lay people only got the most elementary and basic knowledge of Buddhism.

Monastic life was built around the student / learning relationship. The teachings that came first were philosophy, logic, dogmatics and metaphysics, as well as the doctrine of the purity of the mind, rather than the more experience-oriented tantric teachings.

The system was based on the so-called Geshe grading, which meant that monks who wanted to continue on the road of wisdom first had to make monk vows, as well as know a lot of rules / rules, principles and regulations by heart.

Tsong Khapa quickly gained many supporters and built the Ganden monastery in 1409, where he himself was the first high lama, Khenpo or “abbot”. Ganden became the headquarters of the Reformed sect, Gelugpa. In 1416 the construction of the Drepung monastery followed and in 1419 Sera was built. These three monastic societies and universities have since become known as the State’s three pillars, as this was where power was concentrated and all new thinking (and bureaucracy) came from.

Mountaineering in Tibet