Sakya Institute for Buddhist Studies

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 9 November 2018.

Phone: 617-256-3904
[flickr_set id="72157621939102594"] History The Sayka Institute for Buddhist Studies was founded in 1990 by Lama Migmar at the request of his local students. The community initially gathered at the 75 Sparks Street location of the Cambridge Buddhist Association (CBA) in Cambridge, a space Buddhist groups of all traditions are welcome to use. In 2005, the Sakya Institute moved to its present location on Church Street in Harvard Square, although it continues to use the 75 Sparks Street venue for certain events. Description Nestled in a second-floor apartment on Church Street in Harvard Square, the Sakya Institute for Buddhist Studies is unmarked, save a handwritten label above a weathered doorbell. The Institute neighbors a sandwich shop and craft store on the busy street, next to the Harvard Computer Center. The entrance opens to a brightly carpeted room, with zafu cushions around the perimeter. Thangkas (sacred Tibetan paintings) up to 5 feet in length cover the walls, depicting various Bodhisattvas and Buddhas of the Sakya tradition. Set back from the main room, on top of an intricately painted Tibetan chest, sits a gold painted statue of Tara (the feminine wisdom Buddha). The statue is surrounded by photographs of the leaders of the Sakya lineage, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and smaller thangkas. In front of the statue, there is a raised platform and cushion for Lama Migmar to sit and lead teachings. Leadership Venerable Acharya Lama Migmar Tseten was born in 1956 at Chimdok, Gyaltse in Central Tibet. He escaped Tibet with his family in 1959 and resettled in South India. In 1970, he became a monk and joined the Tibetan Institute at Sarnath, Varanasi, where he studied Sutrayana (Hinayana and Mahayana) Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan literature, as well as Sanskrit, English and history. In 1980, Lama Migmar received the Acharya degree and His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized his achievements. In 1981, at the request of H.H. Sakya Trizin, Lama Migmar became the head of the Sakya Main Monastery at Puruwala, India and the Sakya Center at Rajpur, India. In 1989, Lama Migmar became the head of the Sakya Retreat Center in Barre, Massachusetts, adjacent to the Insight Meditation Society. The following year, Lama Migmar settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts to establish the Sakya Institute for Buddhist Studies. In 1996, Lama Migmar founded the Manjushri Temple in Shrewsbury. In addition to the regular programs in Cambridge and Shrewsbury, Lama Migmar teaches and leads retreats at various Buddhist centers throughout the United States, including the Chakrasamvara Center in Miami Beach, Florida. He currently serves as the Buddhist chaplain at Harvard University, and on the United Ministry at Harvard, the University’s interfaith consortium of chaplains. Demographics The community at the Sakya Institute includes members of Euro-American, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Tibetan descent. Around 10-40 professionals and students attend weekly sutra study and meditation sessions. When a visiting lama offers teachings at the Institute, between 100-200 sangha members attend. Many sangha members live within walking distance of the Institute, while others travel from as far as New Hampshire. Activities and Schedule Lama Migmar leads meditation and study sessions weekly, offering both beginning and advanced courses. Lama Migmar teaches Abhidharma, Madhyamika, Prajnaparamita, Tantra, and Mind-Training. These include practices such as Parting from the Four Attachments, Wheel of Sharp Weapons, Seven Points of Mind-Training, Bodhicaryavatara, Triple Vision, as well as classic sutras such as the Dhammapada. The practice taught at Sakya Institute is based on a classic gradual approach, beginning with Mind-Training and concluding with advanced Vajrayana deity practice. All of these teachings are given in English. For the current schedule please visit the Institute's website. Students of the Sakya Institute may also attend the Sakya Retreat Center in Barre, Massachusetts, which offers solitary retreats for up to three and a half years in length. The Sakya Manjushri Temple in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts offers an ongoing program of monthly ritual services, taught by Lama Migmar or visiting Tibetan scholars. Lama Migmar and his students have also enjoyed participating in the Buddha’s birthday celebration organized by Venerable Hue at the Samantabhadra/Pho Hien Buddhist Center, in Braintree, as well as the festivities at Boston Common, organized by the Greater Boston Buddhist Cultural Center in Cambridge. Furthermore, the Sakya Institute is also affiliated with Manjushri Press, through which Lama Migmar publishes books featuring selected teachings and texts from the Sakya Tradition.