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Dzogchen Monastery (Tib. rdzogs chen dgon pa) is one of the six great monasteries of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located in Eastern Tibet in the Chinese province of Sichuan. It was founded by Dzogchen Pema Rigdzin (1625-1697) in 1675,[1] 1684 [2] or 1685.[3] It became especially renowned for its Shri Singha Shedra established by Gyalsé Shenpen Thayé during the time of the Fourth Dzogchen Rinpoche Mingyur Namkhé Dorje, shortly after the monastery was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1842. Among the great masters to have lived and taught at Dzogchen are Khenpo Pema Vajra, Patrul Rinpoche, Mipham Rinpoche and Khenpo Shenga.[4] It eventually grew into the largest Nyingma monastery of all time.[5]

During the time of the Fifth Dzogchen Rinpoche (1872-1935), Dzogchen Monastery was at the peak of its activity, with up to five hundred monks residing, 13 retreat centres, and an estimated two hundred and eighty branches - a gathering of which would have seen tens of thousands of lamas, tulkus, khenpos, monks and nuns. Throughout the year, an extensive array of complex ritual ceremonies were accomplished. Dzogchen was also one of the most famous centres of sacred ritual dance, now commonly known as lama dancing.[3]

Dzogchen monastery is also known as the principle repository of the Konchok Chidu cycle of the Jangter (Wylie: Byang gTer, Northern Treatures), a prominent terma cycle revealed by the terton Jatson Nyingpo.

Its main temple was destroyed by fire in the second month of the Fire Mouse year (1936). It was rebuilt and then the whole monastery was destroyed by the Chinese in the late 1950s.


Dzogchen Monastery in India

Following the destruction of the monastery in the late 1950s, during which the complex was burnt to the ground for a second time in its history, it was re-established in South India according to the directions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The site was chosen personally by His Holiness, on land close to his own Dhondenling residence. Work began in 1985, three hundred years after the completion of the original Dzogchen Monastery in eastern Tibet.

In January 1992, the Dalai Lama formally inaugurated the new Dzogchen Monastery and gave teachings and empowerments over 11 days. Several thousand attended from the local community and from other monasteries and settlements in South India. His Holiness gave much advice for the monastery and the community, and pointed out that the work of the outer monastery was complete - meaning the buildings and a gathering of monks - and that now the work of the inner monastery could begin.

Now firmly re-established at the Dhondenling Tibetan settlement in Kollegal, South India, Dzogchen Monastery is the official seat of the seventh mindstream 'emanation' (Sanskrit: nirmanakaya) of the Dzogchen Rinpoche. In December 2000, His Holiness visited the monastery and settlement bestowing teachings and blessings for the lamas, monks, nuns, people of Dhondenling and others who had travelled from throughout all parts of India, Nepal, Australia, Europe, Singapore, the USA and Canada. At the busiest times during the visit up to 10,000 people gathered.

Dzogchen Monastery in Tibet

Since the early 1980s the monastery has been undergoing reconstruction and it is currently home to around two hundred and fifty monks. At Pema Tang, is a newly built retreat centre and temple complex situated deep in the Dzogchen valley. The centre is dedicated to the teaching and practice of the Dzogchen tradition and is a natural haven for peaceful reflection and meditation.


  1. ^ (according to the Great Tibetan Dictionary)
  2. ^ (according to Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo),[1],
  3. ^ (according to Guru Bkra-shis Ngag-dbang-blo-gros in the Gu bkra'i chos-'byung pp 750-759, 765-817, as cited in Cuervas, Brian J. The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Oxford. pg 139
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Cuervas, Brian J. The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Oxford. pg 139

External links

Coordinates: 32°05′39″N 98°51′46″E / 32.0941°N 98.8629°E / 32.0941; 98.8629



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