china edition


Shigatse - Sakya Monastery

Tibet - Lhasa - Shigatse

The monastery lies 130 kilometer southwest of Shigatse. Sakya, meaning "Grey Soil" in Tibetan since the soil surrounding it is gray; it is the central monastery of Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Its walls were painted in red, white and grey strips, which represent Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani respectively. Since the monastery has a colossal collection of highly valuable art pieces, it is deemed as the "Second Dunhuang". The Drum River divides it into the Northern Monastery and the Southern Monastery.

Sakya has countless murals, mostly of the Yuan dynasty. Among them, murals of mandalas and former Sakya Throne Holders are the most outstanding. The Sakyapa sect allows marriage and its religious power is descended from paternal uncle to nephew while its political authority from father to son.

Sakya's collection of treasures also contains 3,000 pieces of pattra sutras written in Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian and Sanskrit which cover a wide range of knowledge; other artifacts such as seals, crowns, robes, Buddhist vessels and statues bestowed by emperors of the Yuan dynasty are also on display there.