Sakya Paṇḍita


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The honorific title of Kön-ga gyel-tshan (Tib., Kun-dga' rgyal-mtshan). A member of the Khon family, he was the most outstanding scholar of the Sakya school who also achieved considerable political influence in his dealings with the Mongols. In 1244 he was invited to the Mongol court, where the ruler Godan Khan was so impressed by his learning that he converted to Buddhism. This event marked the origin of the ‘patron-priest’ (yon-mchod) relationship in which Sakyapa lamas served as religious preceptors to the Mongol court. Sakya Paṇḍita was able to read Sanskrit fluently, and is noted for his profound understanding of Buddhist logic (pramāṇa) through his short but influential set of essays, the Knowledge Treasure of Valid Cognition (Tib., tshad-ma rig-gter). These texts are commentaries on the treatises on logic by the great Indian philosophers Dignāga and Dharmakīrti.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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