Projects of the Sapan Fund

Sakya Jetsunmas

The ebook and second printing of OUR RECENT BOOK RELEASE, Elisabeth Benard's The Sakya Jetsunmas: The Hidden World of Tibetan Female Lamas, will appear from Shambhala Publications in April 2022

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Distilling historical textual sources, oral tradition, and contemporary interviews, Elisabeth's book profiles Jetsunma Chime Tenpai Nyima (1756–ca. 1855), Jetsunma Tamdrin Wangmo (1836–96), Kyabgon Pema Trinlei (1874–ca. 1950), and Jetsun Kushok Chimey Luding (b. 1938), and introduces Jetsunma Kunga Trinley (b. 2007).

“This invaluable work on the Sakya Jetsunmas offers an intimate look into the lives of four exceptional yoginis who were outstanding by virtue of both their birth and their spiritual accomplishments. Biographies of realised female spiritual adepts are few and far between, and until now this has also been true of the Jetsunmas of the Khon family. And so, it is a huge boon that the pages of this wonderful book are so abundantly filled with rich details of the Jetsunmas’ extraordinary lives. The book is filled with wonder and is bound to inspire and instruct not only female practitioners but anyone who is walking the spiritual path in earnest. I pray that it may lead uncountable beings to enlightenment.” - HIS HOLINESS THE SAKYA TRICHEN


H.E. Jetsun Kushok a woman writing

H.E. Jetsun Kushok transmitting (Tib. lung) a religious text in the 1990s



The Sapan Fund has begun digitizing a cache of cassette audio tapes of teachings given by Sakya teachers to students in the US in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. These tapes include teachings by H.H. the 41st Sakya Trizin (now Trichen), Jetsun Kushok Chimey Luding, Dezhung Rinpoche III, and Luding Khen(chen) Rinpoche. The English-language interpeter for many of these teachings was Jared Rhoton (see the History page).

The life of a celluloid cassette tape is generally about 30 years. With support from Stanley Teo of the Khenpo Appey Foundation in Kathmandu, Nepal, the Sapan Fund has now completed the initial digitization of one hundred tapes. The tapes were carefully selected to include a variety of teachings—among them more than a dozen tapes of teachings that Dezhung Rinpoche gave as a course in the preliminary practices (ngon dro), and six tapes of Hevajra teachings by Khenchen Luding Khen Rinpoche.

The tapes needed to be preserved not only in their original form in a high-quality digital format, but also split into separate English and Tibetan files, to allow English and Tibetan speakers to access the teachings in their own language.

We have finished both the digitization and the language splitting of this first batch of tapes, thus completing phase one of the project. This ensures the preservation of the teachings.

The next phase is the distribution of these teachings. Our plan is to make most of the digitized teachings available to the general public in an online format. (The restricted teachings will be made available on flash drives to qualified students and lamas.) We hope to make the Tibetan-language digital files available to Tibetan speakers worldwide.

We would very much appreciate any (tax-free) donations to accomplish these goals.

Please click on the Donate button to support this project, and/or contact us at



The Sapan Fund is supporting two major translations by Sakya scholars Dr. Cyrus Stearns and Dr. David Jackson, who are among the leading translators of Tibetan Buddhist texts working today. Both projects are approved and supported by the great scholar-practitioner His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin (now Trichen). 


The first project is Cyrus’s translation of the two most extensive commentaries on the Sakya Lamdre teachings, the foundational meditation/practice tradition based on the realization of the early Indian adept Virupa. These commentaries by Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrup constitute the core of the Lamdre tradition both in Tibet and (now) in the West, and will remain so into the future.


The second project is David’s translation of a classic history of Tibetan Dharma by one of the five Sakya founders, Sonam Tsemo. Entitled The Entrance Gate to the Dharma, this work explains how to enter into the practice of authentic Tibetan Dharma by showing how it was transmitted from Sakyamuni Buddha himself to the Sakya tradition..


Read more about the Lamdre translation project

Read an interview with Cyrus Stearns

Read an interview with David Jackson by Mike Roche – 2019