What is nyingma

Nyingma monasteries: Dorje Drag

The largest monastery to practice the Northern Nyingma Treasure Text Tradition (Tib. byang-gter) continues, the Tubten Dorje-Drag Ewam-Chögar monastery (Tib. Thub-bstan rDo-rje brag E-wam chos-sgar dGon-pa), also known simply as Dorje-Drag Monastery (Tib. rDo-rje brag dgon-pa) is known. It is in the Lhoka (Tib. Lho-ka) - Region, in southern central Tibet. It is one of the six main monasteries in the Nyingma tradition. Mindrol-Ling and Dorje-Drag are in the center and south of central Tibet, Katog (Tib. Ka: -thog) and palyül (Tib. dPal-yul) are in the Kham region (southeastern Tibet) and in between are Zhechen (Tib. Zhe-chen) and dzogchen (Tib. rDzogs-chen).

In the early sixteenth century, Ngari Panchen Pema-Wanggyal (Tib. mNga’-ris Pan-chen Pad-ma dbang-rgyal) (1487-1542) Ewam-Chögar Monastery (tib. E-wam chos-sgar dGon-pa). His tulku reincarnation Jangdag Tashi-Tobgyal Wangpode (Tib. Byang-bdag Bkra-shis stobs-rgyal dBang-po sde) (1550-1602) expanded it. Numerous famous masters lived there and it became a center for the study and practice of sutra, tantra and the traditional Buddhist fields of knowledge such as medicine and astrology. The main system taught was Mayaguhyagarbha Tantra (Tib. sGyu-‘phrul gsang-ba snying-po, sGyu-‘phrul dra-ba, Tantra of the Essence of Hidden Illusion).

Soon the site of the monastery was recognized as unsuitable. Dorje-Drag received in 1630 under Rigdzin Ngaggi-Wangpo (Tib. Rig-‘dzin sNgags-gi dbang-po) (1580-1639), the son of Jangdag Wangpode, his current location. Since the rock mountain behind the monastery has a footprint of Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava (Tib. Gur-ru Rin-po-che Pad-ma ‘byung-gnas) and has a naturally shaped, crossed vajra, people see the place as something very special. In honor of this auspicious symbol, the monastery was named "Dorje-Drag", which literally means "Vajra rock". The more detailed name of the monastery, "Thubten Dorje-Drag Ewam-Chögar", is a mixture of this name and the original name of the monastery.

The fourth lineage holder of Dorje-Drag, Rigdzin Künzang-Pema-Trinle (Tib. Rigs-‘dzin Kun-bzang pad-ma ‘phrin-las) (1641-1718), was founded by the Fifth Dalai Lama Ngawang-Losang-Gyatso (Tib. rGyal-dbang lnga-pa chen-po Ngag-dbang blo-bzang rgya-mtsho) (1617-1682) enthroned and ordained. The monastery was expanded under the auspices of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Like Mindrol-Ling Monastery, Dorje-Drag was commissioned to perform certain rituals for the Tibetan government. The Dorje-Drag Monastery, which was re-established in exile, continues this task to this day.

In 1717 the Dorje-Drag monastery was destroyed by an army of the Dzungar Mongols. From 1720 it became under the protection of the Seventh Dalai Lama, Kelsang-Gyatso (Tib. rGyal-ba bdun-pa sKal-bzang rgya-mtsho, rGyal-dbang sKal-bzang) (1708-1757) rebuilt. In 1959 it had around 170 monks. It was destroyed one more time by the Chinese and reconstruction work began in 1985.

The reincarnation line of Rigdzin Gödem Je (tib. Rig-‘dzin rGod-ldem rJe) (1337-1408) holding the title Rigdzin-Chenpo (tib. Rig-‘dzin chen-po), “Big Lineage Holders”, traditionally represents the heads of the Dorje-Drag monastery. Rigdzin Gödem Je was one of the most important discoverers of the northern treasure texts. Beneath the Rigdzin-Chenpos are the lines of the Gyalse Tulku Rinpoches (Tib. rGyal-sras sPrul-sku Rin-po-che) and the Chusang Tulku Rinpoches (Tib. Chu-bzang sPrul-sku Rin-po-che) who serve as rulers of the throne when the Rigdzin-Chenpo is a minor or still between his incarnations. Dorje-Drag's current lineage holder is the tenth of his lineage, Rigdzin Tubten-Jigme-Namgyal-Gyatso (Tib. Rig-‘dzin Thub-bstan ‘jigs-med rnam-rgyal rgya-mtsho). He was born in 1936 and stayed in Tibet.

The Fifth Dalai Lama was a great discoverer of Nyingma treasure texts. The set of 25 deity practices of the Sangwa Gyachen (Tib. gSang-ba rgya-can, "Under the Seal of Secrecy"), goes back to his pure visions. The fifth Dalai Lama gave it to the fourth lineage holder of Dorje-Drag, Rigdzin Künzang-Pema-trinle. In turn, the fifth lineage holder of Dorje-Drag, Rigdzin Kelsang-Pema-Wangchug (Tib. Rig-‘dzin sKal-bzang pad-ma dbang-phyug) refer these practices to Nechung Monastery (Tib. gNas-chung Grva-tshang) of the Nechung State Oracle. The Fifth Dalai Lama also transferred them to his Namgyal monastery (Tib. rNam-rgyal Grva-tshang). Since then, all three monasteries have continued these practices.

The Fifth Dalai Lama, for his part, adopted the Northern Treasure Text tradition from Dorje-Drag, as its lineage holders were blood descendants of the great religious Tibetan kings. Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava had warned that it would have been harmful to Tibet if this line were not supported and maintained. This is why the Namgyal Monastery of the Dalai Lamas and the monasteries of the state oracles Nechung and Gadong (Tib. dGa’-gdong Grva-tshang) of the Northern Treasure Text Tradition by Dorje-Drag.

The monks in Dorje-Drag study and practice Sutra, Tantra and the traditional Buddhist fields of knowledge. The focus is particularly on the practice of the various systems of tantric deities and a meditation retreat of one to three years is a must for the monks. The monastery maintains a very strict discipline. Alcohol and meat are forbidden. If meat has to be sacrificed in rituals, it must only come from an animal that died a natural death and not from slaughtered animals.

Dorje-Drag Monastery was founded in Shimla, India, in Himachal Pradesh, under the supervision of Taglung Tsetrul Rinpoche (Tib. sTag-lung Tshe-sprul Rin-po-che) rebuilt. It continues to maintain its close ties to the Namgyal, Nechung and Gadong monasteries in Dharamsala.