Phags pa blo drö


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(1235–89) (Tib., ‘Phags pa blo gros).

Leading figure of the Sakya (Tib., Sa skya) school of Tibetan Buddhism and nephew of Sakya Paṇḍita, the founder of the order. In 1244 he accompanied his uncle to the Mongol court and was kept at court after his uncle was sent back to Tibet to rule as Mongol vassal. Phags pa impressed the court with his learning and tantric skills and was appointed imperial tutor. He is said to have converted the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan (r. 1260–94) and his consort Chamui to Buddhism. There thus began what became known as the ‘patron-priest’ (Tib., yon-mchod) relationship between China and Tibet, by which the emperor protected Tibet and the Sakyapas in return acted as spiritual preceptors and enactors of the sacred liturgies.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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