The Tibetan Library of Sakya Monastery

The Sakya Monastery, located in the heart of Tibet, houses an invaluable treasure that goes beyond its imposing architecture: the Tibetan library. This sacred repository of knowledge is a unique source that has endured through the centuries, revealing the cultural and spiritual wealth of the region.

Tibetan library
Sakya Monastery Library – Wikimedia Commons
History and Meaning

The Sakya Monastery is a Buddhist historical treasure, which stands majestically in the Tibetan region. Its history dates back to the year 1073, when it was founded by Khön Könchok Gyelpo.

Over the years, Sakya Monastery has withstood historic challenges. Today, its architectural structure and rich iconography attract visitors and pilgrims from all over the world.

An incredible collection of manuscripts is discovered hidden behind a wall

In 2003, they made an astonishing discovery behind a 600 square meter wall in the same Sakya monastery, which left everyone speechless. No less than 84 thousand scrolls of Buddhist scriptures, literary works, philosophy, astronomy and various sciences came to light.

Scholars of the subject believe that the texts could have been composed in different places and stored in the monastery for safekeeping and custody. They estimate that they are around a thousand years old.

Without a doubt, this monastery stands as the golden library of Tibetan Buddhism, presenting a uniqueness that differs significantly from other monasteries.

Unique Collections

What makes the Sakya Library special is the diversity of its collections. From ancient Buddhist sutras to illustrated manuscripts, the library houses a wide spectrum of works that reflect the complexity and depth of Tibetan culture. Tantric texts, in particular, are notable for their esoteric nature and their crucial role in the spiritual practices of the region.

The highlight of the collection is a unique book that preserves the teachings and life of Buddha. This precious manuscript is 700 years old and has extraordinary dimensions: two meters long, one meter wide and eighty centimeters thick.

To leaf through its pages requires the collaboration of eight people, while the transfer of this monumental work also requires the participation of the same number of people. It is the largest book in the world, weighing an impressive 500 kg. All of its pages are meticulously handwritten, using elegant gold script.

Over the centuries, the library faced numerous challenges, from regional conflicts to natural deterioration of manuscripts due to extreme weather conditions.

However, the dedication of monks and spiritual leaders plus the region’s low temperatures allowed for the continued preservation of this cultural treasure. Today, the library faces new challenges, such as digitization and the pressure of modernity. It should be noted that, so far, only 5% of the total manuscripts have been translated.

Impact on the Community

The Sakya Library is not simply a repository of knowledge; is a teaching and learning center that has a significant impact on the local community and beyond.

The monks residing in the monastery act as keepers of knowledge, passing on the teachings to future generations and keeping the spiritual flame alive. Likewise, the Tibetan library attracts scholars and wisdom seekers from all over the world, becoming a meeting point for cultural exchange.

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