His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche (the founder and Principal Guru of Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Seattle, WA) was born into the Phuntsok branch of the Khön lineage in 1929 in southwestern Tibet. As imminent successor to the throne of Sakya and future head of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism, under the guidance of his father, H.H. Ngawang Thutop Wangchuk, and other distinguished Lamas, Dagchen Rinpoche received instructions in the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana systems of Buddhism. Upon completion of this comprehensive training, Dagchen Rinpoche received the unbroken Sakya lineage transmission of the Sakya Vajrakilaya and Hevajra initiations and the complete Lamdre Tsogshe (Path and Fruit), which are the main teachings of the Sakya tradition. Following this period of intensive study and initiations, Dagchen Rinpoche went into a long series of study and meditation retreats. He then conferred the Lamdre Tsogshe to monks, nuns, and lay people of Sakya.
After the passing of his father, Dagchen Rinpoche took a leave of absence as ruler of Sakya in order to travel to East Tibet to increase his knowledge and experience of the Dharma, by studying with the renowned teachers of that area. Two of these lamas also became Dagchen Rinpoche’s root gurus, Dzongsar Khyentse Jamyang Chökyi Lodrö and Dilgo Khyentse Rabsal Dawa. These two highly realized masters helped to formulate Dagchen Rinpoche’s non-sectarian approach to Buddhism. After completing his major religious studies, Dagchen Rinpoche bestowed initiations and teachings throughout East Tibet and established 17 Sakya colleges and 10 retreat centers in that region. In 1955, he conferred the Lamdre Tsogshe, for a second time, to over 1200 practitioners in Minyag, East Tibet.