Sub-factions / Shadow factions
Gompas: Sakya, Shalu
The Sakya tradition is one of the oldest and most powerful political factions in Tibet. The school is intimately tied to the Khon clan who have held the position of Sakya Trizin (the holder of the lineage, and hereditary king) since the school's founding. The Sakya lands are in the southwest of Tibet around the “pale earth” of the Ponpori Hills, which give the school its name. The Sakya are known far and wide for the authoritative knowledge of their monks.
The current abbot, Drakpa Gyaltsen, is the courted by the cream of Tibetan nobility, and the Sakya lords command great influence over culture and religion. To unseat the Sakya means defeating their large armies, but doing so would enable the Drikung to assume the political leadership of the region. They present the greatest challenge to the player.
Gompas: Tsurphu, Karma Gon, Kampo Nenang
The Kagyu lineage is considered to be one of the Four Great Lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The Kagyu, however, is not truly a single school. Over the centuries, many lamas have empowered their “heart sons” or favored disciples by giving them special authority over the others. Many have taken their new fame out of their original schools and gone on to found traditions of their own. The Karma Kagyu is one of the four major lineages of the original school, founded by a disciple of Gampopa, the founder of the Kagyu school. Though the founding Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, is a contemporary of Jigten Sumgon, the former can claim significant seniority. While Dusum is perhaps not as inspiring a figure as Sumgon, he is nonetheless an ambitious lama who has established three monasteries in eastern and central Tibet. Their areas of influence surround Drikung Thil at present, and pose a very real obstacle to expansion.
The Kadam school is a relatively small one, their primary monastery being at Reting in central Tibet just north of Lhasa. This school nevertheless has much persuasive force as one of the four great lineages along with the Sakya and Kagyu. The school's founder, Dromtonpa, was a disciple of the Indian yogi Atisha. It is said that Dromtonpa is an incarnation of the primordial Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Chenresig in Tibetan), and that all of his succeeding abbots will henceforth be such. The Kadam hold in their possession a variety of doctrines and texts owed in part to the well-traveled Atisha, and can claim some of the most enthusiastic holders and promoters of their tradition.
The Drukpa lineage is quite close to the Drikung in terms of pedagogical genealogy. The school's founder, Lingchen Repa Pema, was remarkably infamous in his younger years. Legends tell of how he had mastered black magic in order to take revenge on a tribal chief who tried to banish him, and eventually killed off his entire family. Repa apparently felt the urge to reform himself in middle age, and was ordained a monk at Rinang Mila. He spent years wandering the land and meditating alone, but as he was planning to leave central Tibet for Bhutan, he had a miraculous vision. He was guided to Phagmo Drupa of the Kagyu school, and received teachings from him along with Jigten Sumgon. The Kagyu lineage made a great impression on him, and four years later he was off to Bhutan again with the plan of spreading it there. The relations between the Drukpa school and the Drikung have always been especially tense, as both claim the territory of Bhutan, and intend to build monasteries there. Such an immediate challenge must be dealt with accordingly.
Gompas: Densatil, Katok
The Phagmo Drupa Kagyu was founded by Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170) who was the elder brother of the famous Nyingma Lama Ka Dampa Deshek (1122-), founder of Katok Monastery. He received the Lamdré transmission from Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158) before studying with Gampopa himself. Inspired to found his own tradition in 1158, Dorje Gyalpo set out to Phagmo Drupa ("Sow's Ferry Crossing") and built a reed hut in a juniper forest near Nedong, overlooking the Tsangpo river. Out of this lowly beginning, the great monastery of Densatil rose to prominence during the 1160s.
Being connected through lineages, Phagmo Kagyu are the closest thing the Drikung have to allies. Indeed, Jigten Sumgon is proud to have been named one of Gyalpo’s ‘heart-sons’. After his death Sumgon wisely appointed Chenga Drakpa Jungne to revive Densatil and restore it to its former glory. The fragile political milieu and their intertwined history means it would be easy for the Drikung to assert authority over both Phagmo held Gompas, Densatil and Katok, ideally avoiding bloodshed.
Its status as the very first Buddhist monastery in Tibet and its reputation as a centre of learning for the original Nyingma tradition make Samye a prize for anyone with serious claims to Tibetan leadership. Founded in the 8th century, Samye is an advanced and developed Gompa with a large population; one that would grant its conquerors significant military and economic power, as well as moral authority.
Since the fall of the monarchy in the 9th century, the centre of political power in the Tibetan region has shifted around rival monasteries and is no longer situated in Lhasa. However, the importance of Lhasa as a religious site is increasingly significant in recent times. It is famous among Tibetans as the centre of Tibet where the Indian guru, Padmasambhava, the Lotus Born -- regarded by many as the second Buddha -- magically pinned down the earth demoness and laid the foundation for the Jokhang Temple over her heart. Whilst sectarian sift caused the temple to fall into disrepair for a large part of this century, the Jokhang was significantly restored during the 1160s and continues to attract pilgrims, along with Muslim traders and Nepalese artisans who now reside in its environs. As a significant Gompa, Lhasa remains a key cultural and strategic base for a Tibetan leader.
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