Sakya Monastery, Seattle

The Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism is a little-known treasure in Seattle, Washington, with a head lama third in rank below the Dalai Lama himself. The monastery is associated with the Sakya school, one of four traditional schools of Tibetan Buddhism.


History of Sakya Monastery

The building that houses Sakya Monastery started life in 1928 as a Presbyterian church. It became a Tibetan monastery in 1975. In 1993, the brightly-painted little monastery was featured in the film Little Buddha.

The Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism was home to the Tibetan lama Dezhung Rinpoche (1906-87), who arrived in Seattle in 1960 after being forced to flee his Communist-occupied homeland. A white stupa outside the monastery is built in his honor.

What to See at Sakya Monastery

The colorful exterior alone - brightly painted in red and yellow and complete with prayer wheels covered in Tibetan script - is worth a visit, but several times each week the public is welcomed in for meditation. The interior features beautiful statues, meditation rooms and a library.

Throughout the year, various memorial events and ritual celebrations take place, some of which are open to the public. Frequent classes and lectures occur in the evening, ranging from "Practical Tibetan" for travelers to bead-making. All events are free but donations are happily accepted.

The Sakya Monastery of Seattle also runs a Tara Meditation Center for retreats, located on Whidbey Island.

Getting There

From Interstate 5, take the 85th Street Exit and go west. Cross Aurora Avenue and Greenwood Avenue N. At the second light after Greenwood Avenue N., turn left onto 1st Avenue NW. Sakya Monastery is two blocks down on the right at the intersection of 1st Avenue NW and NW 83rd Street.

Quick Facts on Sakya Monastery

Site Information
Names:Sakya Monastery
Country:United States
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:47.689332° N, 122.358293° W
Address:Seattle, Washington
Lodging:View hotels near Sakya Monastery
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  2. Official Website of Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism
  3. A Saint in Seattle: The Life of the Tibetan Mystic Dezhung Rinpoche - Wisdom Publications

More Information

Map of Sakya Monastery, Seattle

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