Sapan Fund Interview with David Jackson by Mike Roche – 2019

Sapan Fund: So what are you basically working on these days?

David Jackson: I am working on translating important works of the Sakyapa school. And studying its history.

That’s a vast area.

DJ: Yes, but I am also concentrating these days on translating works by recent outstanding Sakyapa masters. One project I recently started was to make a new translation of a concise history of the Sakyapa tradition by the late Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.

Wasn’t that already done?

DJ: Yes, there was an old version, The History of the Sakya Tradition, published from Bristol in the 1980s. It was fine in its day. But I recently discovered that it was just a fairly rough summary and not an accurate word-for-word translation.

So a new version was still needed today?

DJ: It’s an amazing little gem of a book. He starts off with several pages meticulously listing the main historical sources.

Which I don’t remember.

DJ: The old version jumped over that section or moved it to the bibliography. Another interesting section is where he briefly describes around 35 prominent Sakyapa monasteries. So I added an appendix listing “All Known Sakyapa Monasteries.” I thought they would be just 400. It looks now like I’ll be able to trace more than 600. This will be a resource of the whole Sakya School.

Mind boggling! Hope you listed Ewam Choden, too.

DJ: No Dharma centers are included yet. I have to admit that I was always a little jealous of the survey of Bonpo monasteries that Samten Karmay and Nagano compiled and published in Japan in 2003, who numbered 233 in all, but just those in Tibet and the Himalayas. I also remember now a recent history of the Drikung Kagyu by Rase Könchok Gyatsho who also included Dharma centers in the West.

But the main contents of the little Sakyapa history must be on other subjects.

DJ: Yes, its early chapters are mainly about the life of Sachen and retell the origin of the Lamdre teachings.


SF: Stories that don’t wear out very quickly.

DJ: Right. And in a few months I hope to send around my new version of the concise history to a few readers and then in the next year or so publish it with Shambhala or another suitable publisher. But to polish it at the end I will need to bug your Victoria a little!

Anything else on the way?

DJ: There are two other writings of Chogye Rinpoche that I think deserve to be brought out in corrected and revamped version. I am also thinking of trying to finish in the next two years a history of the great Sakyapa monastery named Phenpo Nalendra that I started years ago. It’s the monastery of, you guessed it, Kyabje Chogye Trichen Rinpoche.



Back to Projects